On December seventh, Cardiff will travel to Selhurst Park to face fellow newly promoted side Crystal Palace. This is a clash between two teams near the bottom of the table who need these points. Palace will be coming off a much needed win against West Ham at Selhurst Park and have confidence going into this game. Cardiff are coming off a 0-0 draw vs Stoke that moved them up to 15th. This is a huge six pointer for two sides that will be fighting off relegation.
Malky Mackay will have a full squad available to him as Cardiff are both injury and suspension free for this game. Palace, on the other hand, are dealing with multiple injuries. Glenn Murray and Adlene Guedioura are both missing due to long term injuries. Jack Hunt has been ruled out for this weekends game but is penned in to make his return to the side next weekend. Both Paddy McCarthy and Jerome Thomas will be facing late fitness tests to see if they are fit enough to play.
This will be the first time the two teams have ever faced each other in the Premier League. Last year, they faced each other twice and the home team won both games. The last seven times these two have met in all competitions the game has ended with a winner. The last three times the teams have met there have been at least three goals every time. In the two match-ups last season, injured striker Glenn Murray scored three of Palace’s four goals.
For Crystal Palace to succeed, Marouane Chamakh will need to play well. When Tony Pulis was appointed manager, he knew he didn’t have the most talented squad but, Pulis did have a focal point for his direct long ball system in Chamakh.
Chamakh has attempted 169 aerial duels, second most in the Premier League. Chamakh will need to win headers and flick the ball on to other players for Pulis’s system to work. Chamakh has also been Palace’s most creative player, creating 14 chances.
The fact that his 14 chances leads the team may show the real problem for Palace this season. Chamakh is one of only two Palace players to score multiple goals. And, he only bagged his second goal this season in Palace’s 1-0 win over West Ham in midweek. Chamakh’s goal will hopefully give him a bit of confidence and help jump start his season.
Frazier Campbell will need to lead the Cardiff City attack well for them to get a vital three points. Campbell has been a thorn in the side of opponents as well as a decent goal scorer this season. He uses his speed to quickly close down defenders and force them to make a mistake, with the purpose being that Cardiff win the ball back high up the pitch and attack. Campbell has won the ball six times in the attacking third of the pitch, more than anyone else on the team. He’s also Cardiff’s leading goalscorer, bagging three goals. Campbell has proved to be a big game player for Cardiff with all three of his goals coming against the Manchester clubs. While this isn’t a game for the headlines going in, this is a huge game for both clubs and Cardiff will hope that he can bag a goal and help them to victory.
This is going to be a tight game between two teams that have struggled for goals this season. Cardiff have done well this season to only lose three away games but have been unable to turn the tight draws into wins with only one away win. Palace have struggled everywhere, already losing at Selhurst Park four times. It’s likely to be a cagey affair with neither team wanting to lose. I’m going to go with a draw.