Cardiff City travel to Molineux on Saturday afternoon to take on Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League.
The home side will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing defeat to bottom of the league Huddersfield on Tuesday. Wolves are unbeaten in their past three games at Molineux and home advantage could be in their favour on Saturday.
Cardiff have lost their past two games and conceded eight goals ahead of Saturday’s clash. Neil Warnock’s side are in desperate need of wins heading into the tail end of the season in order to avoid the dreaded drop into the Championship.
The gap between the sides reflects how well Wolves have adapted to the Premier League. Cardiff were the closest challengers as Wolves won the Championship last season but the Bluebirds are 15 points behind them in the top flight and are in danger of going straight back down.
Here is 90min's breakdown of Saturday's clash.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Saturday 2 March|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||15:00 (BST)|
|Where Is it Played?||Molineux Stadium|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Sky Sports News/BT Score|
Wolves have a clean injury list at the moment with no players set to miss out on Saturday. The healthy squad has given Nuno Espírito Santo the chance to the experiment with different players recently and more changes may be expected after Wolves suffered their first defeat in five games on Tuesday as they lost to the Terriers.
Neil Warnock will be happy to have the same issue with a fully fit squad. Loanee Oumar Niasse could return to the squad on Saturday after he missed out on the 0-3 defeat against his parent club Everton.
|Wolves||Patricio; Coady, Bennett, Boly; Neves, Docherty, Jonny, Dendoncker, Moutinho; Jota, Jimenez.|
|Cardiff City||Etheridge; Peltier, Morrison, Bamba, Bennett; Mendez-Laing, Arter, Gunnarsson, Hoilett, Reid; Niasse.|
Of the 62 previous meetings between the sides Wolves come out on top with 28 wins and 14 games ending a draw. Cardiff have had the better of Wolves in recent history though. The Bluebirds have picked up three of their 20 wins against Wolves in their past five meetings.
The reverse fixture this season saw Cardiff gain a surprise 2-1 victory back in November. Aron Gunnarsson and Junior Holiett completed a second half comeback after Matt Dochery had put Wolves in front early on.
Wolves were unbeaten in five before their second defeat of the season against Huddersfield. It could easily be three defeats in a row for Santo’s side after scoring late in draws against Bournemouth and Newcastle to steal a point. Before that the Wanderers earned three massive wins against Leicester, West Ham and Everton, which has put last season's Championship winners in a race for a European spot.
“They have nothing to lose so they fight for each ball, I think in some moments we’ve not matched the intensity.”— Wolves (@Wolves) February 27, 2019
An honest assessment of last night’s performance from Nuno, who wants to see significant improvements as the squad prepare for the Cardiff game.
Cardiff have only managed seven points in eight games since the turn of the year. Big defeats against Watford (1-5) and Everton (0-3) has kept Warnock’s side fighting to stay in the Premier League for another season.
Cardiff are struggling for goals and have only scored six in their last six Premier League games combined, whilst conceding 10.
Here’s how both teams have fared in their past five fixtures.
|Huddersfield 1-0 Wolves (26/2)||Cardiff 0-3 Everton (26/2)|
|Bournemouth 1-1 Wolves (23/2)||Cardiff 1-5 Watford (22/2)|
|Bristol City 0-1 Wolves (17/2)||Southampton 1-2 Cardiff (9/2)|
|Wolves 1-1 Newcastle (11/2)||Cardiff 2-0 Bournemouth (2/2)|
|Wolves 3-2 Shrewsbury (5/2)||Arsenal 2-1 Cardiff (29/1)|
It may be obvious to predict Wolves to bounce back from their defeat to Huddersfield with a win over Cardiff but their results against the bottom half of the table have been poor. Southampton are the only side occupying the bottom five places to pick up a win against Wolves so far.
Cardiff look like they could be heading into the bottom three soon though with Southampton currently a point behind them, and this should create a sense of urgency for Neil Warnock's men. Expect a tight battle between the Premier League newcomers this season.
Prediction: Wolves 1-1 Cardiff