Two sides that have had a rough start to the season face off here at the Cardiff City Stadium, with the winless hosts facing a Burnley side who finally found a bit of form last time out against Bournemouth. Neil Warnock’s hosts have managed two draws in their first six games – the bad news is that both of those have come against fellow bottom-three sides Newcastle and Huddersfield.
Sean Dyche’s Burnley side were the good news story of 2017/18, with a stunning season ending in Europa League qualification. Their start to the present campaign was an unmitigated catastrophe however, with just a single point from their first five games. The visit of Bournemouth, which could have been another banana skin, finally saw them cut loose with a 4-0 win – just in time to face arguably the favourites for the wooden spoon.
Cardiff City vs Burnley Prediction: Cardiff City 1-2 Burnley
There has been a strong feeling for some time that Burnley are neither as good a side as last season’s seventh place suggested, nor as bad as was implied by the bottom spot they held going into last weekend. One swallow does not a summer make, of course, but the win over Bournemouth showed what they are still capable of. Cardiff have punched above their weight on occasion this season – a home game against Arsenal being one example – but the fact remains that they’ve only picked up points against equally limited sides. Burnley should have enough to win here, but may have to work for it.
Our recommended tip: Wood 1st Goal
Both these sides have a reputation for relishing a battle, and we’d expect a physical confrontation that lives up to that. There’s probably little likelihood of any Goal of the Season contenders being scored here, but it’s a game that suits the kind of striker Chris Wood is. The New Zealand international is liable to get a goal here, although what part of his body it goes in off is a bigger question. You can get 5/1 (6.00) from BetBright that it will be the game’s first goal, and those seem like generous odds.
Burnley have been in and out of the top flight over the years, Cardiff mostly out of it. The last time these sides met, then, was in 2015/16 when both were in the Championship. With the Clarets top of the division, a visiting Bluebirds side held them to a creditable 0-0 draw. Indeed, the last three games between these sides have ended all-square, and the last time there was a definitive result was almost six years ago, the Welsh side winning 4-0 at this ground in October 2012. With so much water having passed under the bridge since these sides last met, though, past head-to-head records are of limited use.
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Players to watch: Bobby Reid & Chris Wood
With Cardiff having paid £10million to secure his services from Bristol City, Reid is under some pressure to produce the goals that could keep them in the Premier League. He’ll need more support than he has been getting to this point, but a player with Reid’s gifts will not stay scoreless in this division for long. Given his performance in long Cup runs with his previous side last season, he’s shown he can be a handful for Premier League defences. Burnley will be aware of that.
Wood, for his part, cost Burnley £15million, a fee that drew surprised murmurs for a player deemed surplus to requirements by Leicester City a few years back. However, his partnership with Ashley Barnes last season saw both players enjoy career-high seasons, the two physical strikers not allowing a moment’s comfort to any defender they faced. Wood has yet to break his duck this season, but he won’t stay out of the goals for long.