(Well, not quite. But either way, Cardiff City FT is going into meltdown on Friday night. Win or lose.)
Cardiff City vs. Fulham
Cardiff City Stadium
Friday 30th August, 2019. 7:45pm
Referee: DON’T KNOW
How Cardiff may lineup…
And three things to watch out for…
Paterson, Tomlin, or Vaulks? Paterson started in the cup against Luton and with Ralls and Bacuna surefire options to start in the deeper two slots in midfield, it’ll be interesting to see who starts ahead of him. Vaulks will be desperate to get a game and show what he can do while Paterson was successful against Fulham at home last year and everyone knows what he’s about. Tomlin has been favoured in our last two league games and could well get the nod here – heaven knows he’s the fan favourite currently. Two games in four days might be a bit much for Pato and Vaulks is probably a better option off the bench so I’m edging towards Lee Tomlin’s third league start in a row.
Murphy and…? Murphy needs to start and that’s becoming plainly obvious. People get frustrated with him but aside from Tomlin, and at times Ralls, Murphy is our most attacking midfielder and at least he tries to make something happen. He needs more of the ball to show what he can do and he needs to get at defenders. Who plays on the opposite wing is anyone’s guess. Hoilett didn’t set the world on fire on Tuesday but did score the winner against Huddersfield – and Warnock likes his defensive work. NML could be fit so it’s probably a straight shoot out between those two.
A Coxed back four? Cameron Coxe was one of the only players who emerged with credit from Armageddon Tuesday. He’s got a lot of attention this summer because there were rumours that Pep was interested in taking him to Man City. But he backed up some of the promise this week and with Peltier our only true option at right back, Coxe presents some real competition there. Peltier is likely to start but with him prone to injury, Coxe’s chance may not be too far away.
Players to watch out for
Well, the good news? Bobby Reid is ineligible. The bad news? He hasn’t really played because Mitrovic, Cavaleiro, and Knockaert have kept him out of the team. Just pick any of them, really. Mitro will likely have a good ol’ tussle with Moz and Flint and I fancy Mitro to give away a penalty at some point. The other two are silky players at this level with Cavaleiro backing it up with some power! All three present a significant danger to our back four.
In the middle of the park, they have Harry Arter who Cardiff fans know very well. Who knows what type of Arter turns up on Friday but I’m sure he will revel in the fact he will likely get some boos (probably not justified) and some applause. Him and Ralls could be an intriguing battle.
Best case result
Fulham are probably the best team in this league. If not the best, certainly in the top three. But they are fallible. Forest took them apart last week and Barnsley shocked them on the opening day. These are the kinds of games Warnock lives for. Cardiff fans are a bit unsure how to approach it, Fulham like to pass the ball around but if we let them do it in their own half and try and catch them from set-pieces, we could sneak this. And it would be typically Cardiff to do so after the nadir on Tuesday. 1-0.
Worst case result
Fulham are probably the best team in the league. If not the best, certainly in the top three. They’ve spent this summer perfecting their passing game and though a lot of their passes go backward and sideways, they keep the ball moving and if we get sucked into chasing it down, we could be caught out. They’ve got a decent core supplemented by their newest signings and they’ve got goals in them. This could be a drubbing. 3-0.