Bluebirds to clip Swans' wings as promotion bid takes flight
Points, promotion and pride are at stake at the Cardiff City Stadium this weekend as hosts Cardiff lock horns with their Welsh rivals Swansea City. With Cardiff fourth in the championship table, and Swansea occupying fifth place, both have promotion to the Premier League firmly in their sights.
Cardiff (6/5) come into this game as favourites after an unbeaten run stretching to five matches, picking up 13 points from a possible 15 in the process. They now look to have cemented their place in the play-offs with 7th placed Blackpool eight points worse off than the Bluebirds.
Swansea (15/8) will arrive at the Cardiff's new ground for the first time having gone five games without a win, their worst sequence of results this season. Their last away game was a 5-1 capitulation at the hands of Blackpool, a shocking result in an all round poor month for the Swans.
Paolo Sousa's Swansea, who won the reverse fixture at the Liberty Stadium in November 3-2 (Correct Score 3-2 again pays 40/1), will be looking to complete a league derby double over their arch rivals for the very first time. Neither side have managed to win both meetings in the same season, a statistic that Cardiff will hope to preserve as they come into what many fans' consider their biggest game of the season.
Cardiff will also be looking to make history by winning their first derby fixture against the Jacks at the Cardiff City Stadium. Recent results in this fixture have not been kind to the men from the Welsh capital. A 1-0 victory at the Vetch Field in 1997 was Cardiff's only triumph over Swansea in the previous 13 league and cup encounters.
From an outsider's perspective, this Saturday teatime clash promises to be an explosive affair.
Derby matches are always enthralling, fiery affairs but when these two deadly rivals are in close proximity then the heat really is turned up. The respective ground, whether it be situated in Cardiff or 38 miles away in Swansea, becomes a cauldron for fervent support and 90 minutes of engrossing battle.
Games between the Bluebirds and the Swans are often controversial, providing us with goals, fouls, crowd trouble and, last year, a coin-throwing incident which left a referee requiring stitches.
With tempers flaring off the pitch, on-field confrontation has also ensured that the enmity between the players is as fierce as ever. The Swans' Leon Britton was sent off when the teams met in Swansea last season, while Cardiff skipper Stephen McPhail has twice seen red in this fixture.
For a red card to appear in this match is priced at 9/4. Another market which could entice me is the Total Cards Market for both teams. Cardiff over 3 are 4/1 while the opposition are a shorter 21/10.With both teams likely to going in full blooded within the derby atmosphere I can see one if not both of the teams to receive over three cards.
When it comes to the goal markets it may be a little more difficult to predict. Dave Jones's Cardiff have scored 67 goals in the Championship this season but seem to leak them at an unimpressive rate also.
Swansea on the other hand are the league's lowest scorers finding in the net a measly 33 times but can boast the Championship's meanest defence. Only on 31 occasions has the opposition team managed to breach the Swans backline.
The last three encounters between these Welsh adversaries has produced 13 goals so a punt on the Total Match Goals Over/Under could bear fruit, over 3.5 goals pays out at 7/2.
The next question is who will be the men to score these goals? For the home side Michael Chopra (9/2 First Goal Scorer) is always a danger in the opposition box while Peter Whittingham (7/1) is the Championship's leading scorer on 19, made more impressive when you contemplate that the majority of these have come from a wide midfield role.
The visitors leading scorer is also a midfield player in the form of 6 goal Darren Pratley (10/1). Given Swansea's goal shy attack then this is completely understandable. A more speculative bet could be the Swans' folk hero Lee Trundle to finish the scoring at 15/2 and firmly cement his status as a Swansea City legend.
My personal recommendations for this game would be Cardiff to outscore their rivals 3-1 at odds of 18/1.
I also feel that one of those goals will come from the penalty spot, a rush of blood from a defender could easily see the opportunity to notch from 12 yards given. Penalty awarded and scored is 7/2.