The last time Cardiff City got themselves promoted to the Premier League, in 2013, they lasted but a single season before going down again. They’re most people’s favorite for another short stay and their harvest from their first four matches — a miserly two points (despite two matches against teams down to ten men) — isn’t making much of a counter-argument.
Neil Warnock, who’s a bit of a promotion specialist, has built a rugged side that handled the rigors of The Championship but might be short on Premier League quality. His back four, for example, favor size over speed, which might be a problem against Maurizio Sarri’s quick, agile tactics. Warnock claims he won’t mimic Newcastle and Bournemouth’s pragmatic defensive approach — we’ll see if he’s true to his word.
For Chelsea, this is a chance to put together five wins on the trot and bank some points before the schedule starts taxing the squad. From now until the foreseeable future, we’re playing twice a week, starting with the Europa league trip to Greece on Thursday.
All five of this Saturday’s 3pm kick-offs are involved in the Premier League’s test of VAR. It won’t actually affect the game as they’re just working out the logistics of using just one central office for reviews in multiple matches at the same time.
Date / Time: Saturday, September 15th, 2018, 15:00 BST; 10:00am EDT; 7:30pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Jonathan Moss — set aside the Charity Shield mess against Manchester City. In the Premier League, Chelsea have won nine straight with Moss on the whistle. Cesc Fabregas isn’t a fan — two years ago he took exception to Moss’ positioning in a League Cup match against Derby County and, uh, moved him out of the way.
I wonder if they will ask Cesc Fabregas his thoughts on Jonathan Moss tonight..— Oddschecker (@Oddschecker) April 18, 2016
He has never liked him.https://t.co/Hh5ZQw3OME
Forecast: A warm, sunny day. Temperature should be around 20°C (68°F), winds 9 km/h (5 mph). The chance of rain is minuscule, just 2%.
On TV: none (UK); CNBC, Telemundo (USA); Star Sports Select HD2 (India); elsewhere
Streaming online: none (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India)
Chelsea team news: Cesc Fabregas began individual training during the break and resumed team practice on Wednesday. He might be back to some sort of match fitness in a week. Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be out for two weeks thanks to an injury he picked up during the international break, while both Davide Zappacosta and Emerson returned from international break with “fever”. Fortunately, Jorginho appears unaffected.
Sarri says Fabregas is training with the team again. Only issues from international break are Emerson & Zappacosta (fever/sore throat) & Loftus-Cheek (tibial). He's uncertain to be fit for the Cardiff game #cfc— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) September 14, 2018
Cardiff City team news: Aron Gunnarsson (knee) is doubtful. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing is out until the New Year. Josh Murphy could be back after sitting out Arsenal on the last matchday.
Last time: We haven’t played Cardiff since the 2013-14 season, when we beat them twice and saw them relegated. The win at Stamford Bridge was particularly comfortable, a 4-1 affair. We came from a goal down (ahem, David Luiz) with Eden Hazard scoring twice, and since-departed Oscar and Samuel Eto’o also tallying.