By 90Min
August 17, 2018

Newly-promoted Cardiff City welcome Rafa Benitez's Newcastle United to the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday in the Premier League's early kick-off, with both sides hoping to secure their first points of the season.

After disappointment against Bournemouth in their opening match, Cardiff boss Neil Warnock will be keen for his players to prove on home soil that they intend to be a competitive force in the English top-flight this season.

Newcastle, meanwhile, will be wanting to brush off their opening day loss to Tottenham and give their fans something to cheer about after a tough and frustrating summer period.


Classic Encounter


Newcastle 5-1 Cardiff (Championship 2009/10)


Perhaps not a result Cardiff fans will want to remember, as Chris Hughton's Newcastle side thumped the Welsh club to open up a six-point lead at the top of the Championship - which they would win later that year.

Jamie McDonald/GettyImages

Within 15 minutes, the Bluebirds were three goals behind, with towering striker Andy Carroll running the show as he scored two goals and saw another hit the post only to be turned in by Gabor Gypes.

Second-half substitute Peter Lovenkrands bagged himself a brace of his own late in the game to  - much to the delight of the Toon faithful inside St. James' Park. Aaron Wildig got a first senior goal as a late consolation for Cardiff, but it didn't stop Hughton's men extending their unbeaten run to 15 games in impressive style.


Key Battle


Kenneth Zohore vs Jamaal Lascelles


Under Warnock, Cardiff appear to be looking to bring long-ball football back to the English top flight. Against Bournemouth, 27% of the Bluebirds' passes were considered long balls and that was without sizeable striker Kenneth Zohore.

LINDSEY PARNABY/GettyImages

The powerful Danish forward was a surprise omission against Bournemouth - reportedly due to a groin problem - but is expected to be back for the clash with Newcastle. As such, should he play, you can all but guarantee there will be even more long balls lumped forwards for him to contest.

That's where Newcastle will be hoping their captain and steadfast defender Jamaal Lascelles can step in. The 24-year-old has been a revelation under Benitez for several seasons now and continues to be a confident and assured defender. Given the uncertainty over his centre back partner for the match, the responsibility to defend against Zohore will fall heavily on Lascelles' shoulders.


Team News

The Cardiff squad sorely missed striker Zohore for the trip against Bournemouth, where he had been widely expected to start. Warnock is said to be confident the Danish striker will be back in contention to feature against Newcastle. Midfielder Aron Gunnarsson will not be available.

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For Benitez, Newcastle have some concerns at the back. French defender Florian Lejeune is out long-term after a cruciate knee injury during pre-season while the Tyneside club also lost pacy American full back DeAndre Yedlin to injury late on against Spurs. 


Predicted Lineups


Cardiff: Etheridge; Peltier, Morrison, Ecuele Manga, Bennett; Bamba; Mendez-Laing, Ralls, Arter, Hoilett; Zohore.

Newcastle: Dubravka; Manquillo, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett; Shelvey, Diame; Ritchie, Perez, Kenedy; Rondon


Prediction


It's a tough match to call, with Cardiff likely to be keen to put on a good display in their first home Premier League game of the season, while Newcastle looked confident and impressive even despite defeat to Spurs.

Jan Kruger/GettyImages

Ultimately, Benitez's Newcastle side should have the quality to pick up important points against the Bluebirds ahead of a tough run of games, however it depends entirely on whether they manage the same level of intensity they did against Tottenham.

Predicted Scoreline: Cardiff 0-2 Newcastle

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