One thing that was evident in Cardiff’s display at West Ham was that, despite some bank-balance-busting additions to their squad, the team isn’t yet ready for Premier League action.
Conversely, the way that Manchester City ripped apart a Newcastle side outraged by the fact that a rival offered money for one of their underperforming players suggests that they’re warming to the attacking inclinations of new coach Manuel Pellegrini.
Working from this premise alone, their 9/20 to succeed in the Welsh capital looks worth a dabble, especially when you consider there’s little in the wake of statistics that might sway one to side with the hosts to get something from the game. Cardiff are a beefy 11/2, with the draw slap, bang in the middle of the pair at 7/2; both must be swerved.
Despite winning the Championship quite comfortably last season – though the reason behind this had much more to do with the inferiority of the competition as opposed to their own brilliance – the red-breasted Bluebirds closed the campaign with a meagre three victories from 10 outings, keeping just three clean sheets in their final nine.
These unflattering observations came in a league where the closest any of the players gets to replicate the talent of Sergio Aguero is via their games consoles.
The diminutive Argentine is sure to feast on the unsavoury defending of Malky Mackay’s men here. He shares first goalscorer favouritism with Alvaro Negredo, but the former is the more likely to start the match, meaning he is the one of City’s all-star line up who should be sided with here.
Furthermore, the 2011/12 Premier League champions have flourished when it comes to pulverising the newly-promoted. They’ve been beaten twice in 12 outings over the past two seasons against those deemed too good for the second tier, scoring three or more on six occasions.
With damage limitation the words on Cardiff’s lips, expect them to attempt to soak up the impending onslaught at the expense of a goal threat themselves, but their backline isn’t sturdy enough to stop City. Backing the visitors to claim a 3-0 win could be the safest correct score punt at 10/1.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date