Cardiff and Hull face off in the Welsh capital on Saturday and both teams will be viewing this match as a possible six-pointer to help ease the fear of relegation. With the bottom of the table being so close this season, it seems that any three teams can go down and having just been promoted, Cardiff and Hull will feel that a run of results from now until the end will give them a good chance of a second season in the Premier League.
The home side sit in 19th and have suffered a poor run of results of late. Nevertheless, they are only six points away from Swansea who sit in 10th and a victory this weekend can see them jump out of the relegation positions if West Brom and Sunderland fail to win. The Bluebirds did suffer a demoralising defeat in the Welsh derby a few weeks ago but are unbeaten in their last two home games, having won against Norwich and drawn against Aston Villa.
Hull City are in slightly better form but still face a fight to beat the drop. Sitting in 13th place, Hull are only three points off the relegation places but only one point away from being in the top half of the table, indicating how crazy this season has been. Hull did lose to Southampton in a close match in their last fixture but did win their last away game at Sunderland with Long and Jelavic now forming a formidable partnership.
These two teams jumped into the top tier of English football at the start of the season having both been promoted automatically. It is also the first season in which there has been two Welsh sides in the Premier League. In their previous meeting this season, the match finished 1-1 at the KC stadium, Curtis Davies and Peter Whittingham grabbing the goals.
Cardiff suffered a heavy blow this week with the news that Gary Medel is out of action for several weeks after suffering a thigh injury. The influential Chilean international has been crucial player for The Bluebirds this year and it will be a big blow to the side. Jordan Mutch is also sidelined with a hamstring problem. Captain Mark Hudson is set to make his comeback to the first team after a hamstring injury.
Liam Rosenior is likely to make his return but Joe Dudgeon is not yet ready to make his comeback following a knee injury. Robbie Brady will remain out of action after suffering a setback to his groin injury in training. Paul McShane is likely to miss the rest of the season after suffering a serious ankle injury last week.
• Cardiff City have failed to score in 14 Barclays Premier League games this season
• Cardiff City have scored the fewest (5) and have conceded the most goals (21) in the first half of Premier League matches this season.
• Hull have netted only three goals in the final 15 minutes of Premier League games this season
• David Marshall is the only player to have made over 100 saves in the Premier League this season (104) – 17 more than any other keeper.
• Steve Bruce is one win away from reaching 100 Premier League wins as a manager.
• Hull City have lost just one of their last five league meetings with Cardiff City (W2, D2).
Cardiff: Frazier Campbell
Frazier Campbell hasn’t been great in front of goal this season for Cardiff but has scored in some crucial games, including 2 goals in their historic win against Man City at the start of the season. Overall Campbell has managed 5 goals in the Premier League this season and has been quite clinical in front of goal, scoring 4 out of his 5 clear cut chances. His chance conversion rate is another good stat as 17% of his chances have been converted into goals. Campbell has also helped out the team creatively managing 15 chances for his team mates with one assist. Campbell will want to prove that he is the man to lead the line despite competition from Jones and Odemwengie
Hull: Shane Long
Winter signing Shane Long has settled into life at Hull very well so far and has made an immediate impact whilst developing a good partnership with other new signing Nikica Jelavic. At West Brom, Shane Long featured in 15 games and only managed 4 goals; but, so far at Hull, he has already notched three in four games. His chance conversion rate at Hull so far is 25% while at West Brom it was only 14%, which shows that he has improved since moving clubs. Long and Jelavic will again hope to work in tandem to cause Cardiff’s defence a few problems on Saturday.
This is a tight match to call in all fairness. Cardiff have been decent at home this season but with Hull’s firepower up front it does seem like a match which is likely to head for a draw if anything. However, having watched Hull perform recently, I feel that Long and Jelavic will be a handful for any defence around the bottom of the table so a Hull win is my prediction.
My Prediction; Cardiff City 1-2 Hull City