Bet on Swansea to give Cardiff a Premier League education
Cardiff have started their first ever Premier league season with two wins, three draws and four defeats
This is sort of form which new teams tend to view with cautious optimism, as it shows they can do just enough to stay out of the relegation zone.
However, keep up their rhythm of a point a game and they’ll end the season with 38 points, which in two of the last three seasons would have been insufficient to keep them up.
They are 21/10 to beat 12th placed Swansea at the Cardiff City Stadium. Odds on a Swansea win are 13/10 and the draw is 9/4.
So while the media are framing this first ever Premier League meeting between the two as the chance to be top dog in South Wales, Cardiff are going to have to think bigger than that.
This is a must-win game for them, but not for that reason. Regional pride alone is not going to keep them up. Home wins against mid-table sides – such as Swansea – are essential to their survival chances.
Under 2.5 goals at 8/11
Much depends on Cardiff’s approach to the game, and whether Malky Mackay gives the “must win” teamtalk, or the players go out with a “must not lose” helmet on.
If it’s the latter, and it’s understandable that Cardiff players will want to avoid being tormented in the supermarket and laughed at when picking the kids up from school, then the Bluebirds may end up parking the bus and settling for a low- or no-scoring draw.
Bet on Swansea win to nil
If Cardiff do approach this game with a view that a point will be a decent return, they may also be in for a nasty shock.
Their neighbours are not the team they last met in the Championship – Swansea now have the attacking verve and experience that comes from two strong Premier League campaigns and making waves in European competition too.
Swansea’s horizons now stretch far beyond the desire to be top dog in South Wales.
The Swans have already won away to teams beneath them twice this season, at West Brom and Crystal Palace, both times to nil. Not to mention their famous 3-0 trip to Valencia.
Cardiff may have caused back pages to be remade with their win over Man City in their first home game of the season, but they have twice failed find the net at home, against Tottenham and Everton, and lost their other home game 2-1 to Newcastle.
Bet on a low card count
The potential for this to be a rather scary match for the paying customer, given Cardiff and Swansea’s rather poisonous relationship, is being stoked with great glee by the press.
Newspaper journalists have felt obliged to wheel out the “powder keg” references, and the euphemism “intense” is much in evidence.
However, it is a common false assumption that crowd trouble somehow leads to an ill-disciplined game. In fact the reverse is usually true. When the atmosphere is “intense” referees will often remind players of their responsibilities, and players themselves will think twice about doing anything reckless, knowing that at some point they’ll probably be taking a corner or a throw-in in front of the opposition supporters. Expect impeccable behaviour.