90+7min: FULL TIME, at last.
90+6min: Barkley fouls Manga 25 yards out, central. Bennett beats the wall, but Kepa’s there to save and hold on.
90+4min: Ross Barkley misses an easy chance in rather stunning fashion, as he blasts over with his weaker foot after Hazard leads the counter.
90+1min: GOAL, RLC!!! It’s all Chelsea now as Willian has all the time in the world to pick out Loftus-Cheek on the far post and he heads home easily. 2-1, CHELSEA!
87min: Neil Warnock is absolutely livid on the touchline as a last-man foul by Rüdiger is only punished with a yellow card.
84min: GOAL, AZPI!! Chelsea’s best chance yet, as Hazard combines with Alonso, but his cross is cleared from underneath the Cardiff crossbar. But from the resulting corner, Azpilicueta’s there to head home after Alonso’s flick. Replays show he was waaaaay offside. 1-1!
83min: Willian cuts inside a few, but a great block from Morrison denies him.
78min: Great work down the left from Chelsea, but Alonso’s cutback to RLC is a bit strong and a bit behind him, so his shot is blocked. The away support launches into a couple hearty “We want Sarri outs”.
76min: Giroud for Higuaín is Chelsea’s final change.
75min: Barkley drives forward and finds Higuaín, who fashions a chance for himself. His left-footed shot is blocked for a corner, which is cleared.
74min: Hazard creates room for Willian, who’s found by Alonso. Willian turns and has a go with his left, which flashes just wide of the far post.
73min: Azpilicueta’s drifting cross is caught by Etheridge before Alonso could get there.
71min: After some over-refereeing and couple scrambles, Cardiff goalkeeper Etheridge claims the ball from the latest Chelsea corner.
68min: Morrison stumbles and falls in the penalty area, but the ball hits his back instead of falling to RLC. Hazard and RLC then manage to stray offside on the short corner.
67min: Great ball from Rüdiger finds Alonso, but his lazy ball is cut out by Murphy who turns upfield. David Luiz covers and clears for a throw.
65min: Last-ditch defending from Cardiff as they overcomplicate a clearance, but neither Loftus-Cheek, nor Hazard get a lucky enough bounce to have a shot at goal.
64min: Loftus-Cheek on for Jorginho, as Kovačić drops to regista.
63min: A throw-in is followed by a corner, which Chelsea almost turn into a counter after Kepa punches air. Barkley’s return ball to Hazard is cut out however. Chelsea reclaim possession and a Kovacic long-range effort goes just over.
61min: Azpilicueta goes into the book for a dragging back Niasse, who had turned him really well. Chelsea still not looking very dangerous, especially when it’s not Hazard on the ball.
56min: Chelsea make a hash of the free kick by overcomplicating the situation, and David Luiz’s shot is blocked and turned into a counter. Niasse’s long-range shot is well over however.
54min: Hazard wins a free kick just outside the area after a Rudiger tug on the arm goes uncalled in the other box.
53min: Hazard is on, the anonymous Pedro makes way.
52min: Willian finds Higuaín inside the area, but his left-footed shot is blocked. The next foray forward ends in an Alonso foul. The away crowd launches into “Sarri out”.
49min: Another Cardiff long-throw is causing consternation, and Chelsea turn the ball over, which Cardiff turn into a great cross from the right. Kepa’s down quickly to grab it before the tap-in.
48min: Willian’s long distance daisy-cutter is an easy save.
46min: GOAL.Cardiff get the second-half underway as neither side make any changes. Alonso blocks a cross, David Luiz clears the subsequent long-throw, but Chelsea are slow to get out and Camarasa makes us pay with a first-time finish from the top of the box as the ball’s recycled. 1-0, Cardiff.
HALF-TIME: Improved badly required.
45+2min: Barkley gets his Achilles studded on to win a free kick, which Willian swings in but Cardiff clear and it’s half-time.
45+1min: Morrison with a last-ditch tackle on Higuaín, who looked to be in and bursting through the lines.
44min: Chelsea give the ball away twice in quick succession in the defensive third, but Cardiff do not take advantage, creating a poor crossing chance in the first case, then giving the ball right back in the second.
41min: A clever flick from Higuaín is not read quickly enough by Pedro and he ends up fouling his man.
40min: Willian wins another corner, though that was after a bit miscontrol ruined a rare opportunity to attack space. A nice routine from the corner sees Alonso stab the ball just wide of the far post. Close!
38min: Rüdiger covers well as Hoilett knifes through Chelsea again. Kepa gets us going forward with a quick ball to Alonso who carries into the final third, and finds Willian, who’s taken out as he cuts inside. Free kick 25 yards out ... and Willian’s curling effort is just a bit wide.
35min: Chelsea keep up the pressure and an Alonso shot is blocked after Higuaín passes up a better chance.
33min: Chelsea turn with a corner as Jorginho almost finds Higuaín with a first-time ball. Willian with the outswinger, Higuaín gets to it but is called for a foul. Replays show a bit of a push-off from the striker and a blocking foul from Alonso, but nothing too outrageous. Higuaín’s header was off the mark anyway.
31min: Cardiff win a corner as Jorginho mops up Hoilett beating two players. Camarasa with the outswinger, which is half-cleared by David Luiz then side-footed back towards Kepa’s goal. He catches easily.
28min: Barkley and Higuaín drive Chelsea forward, but the 1-2 with Willian doesn’t quite come off. Cardiff staying disciplined and strong in their massed defending.
26min: Jorginho gets his yellow card for stopping the counter attack. He’s not happy with his teammates’ effort in that transition defense.
24min: Good run from Higuaín, but not quite fast enough to catch up with the ball from Kovačić and the goalkeeper steps up to gather.
20min: A lovely one-touch passing sequence up the right flank ends with Willian’s dink over the top getting cleared. A Barkley pass puts David Luiz in trouble, but Kepa gets to the reverse ball from the Cardiff midfield.
16min: A decent passing sequence ends with Higuaín, who looks well off the pace.
13min: Chelsea half-deal with a long-throw and Murphy goes close from a tight angle. The ball flashed by the far post, much to Chelsea’s relief.
11min: Pedro and Willian combine in the center and the former has a crack from 20 yards. It dips just a fraction too late as it flies over the bar.
9min: Decent opening from the Blues, with plenty of running, passing, and efforting, but not much incision in the final third.
5min: Rüdiger’s dragged down on a corner, no call. Jorginho fouls to stop the resulting counter. No card.
KICK-OFF: And we’re off! Plenty of consternation about the lineup, but Cardiff are the third worst team in the league...
Club football is back! Today, Chelsea take on Neil Warnock’s Cardiff City at the Cardiff City Stadium, hoping to stay in the race for top four.
Chelsea starting line-up (4-3-3): Arrizabalaga | Alonso, David Luiz, Rüdiger, Azpilicueta (c) | Barkley, Jorginho, Kovačić | Willian, Higuaín, Pedro
Substitutes from: Caballero, Christensen, Hudson-Odoi, Loftus-Cheek, Hazard, Kante, Giroud
Cardiff City starting line-up (4-2-1-3): Etheridge | Peltier, Morrison (c), Ecuele Manga, Bennett | Gunnarsson, Arter | Camarasa | Hoilett, Niasse, Murphy
Substitutes from: Murphy, Ralls, Decordova-Reid, Bacuna, Mendez-Laing, Kadeem Harris, Kenneth Zohore
Date / Time: Sunday, March 31, 2019, 14:05 BST; 9:05am EDT; 6:35pm IST
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff, Wales
Referee: Craig Pawson
On TV: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); NBCSN, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD2; elsewhere
Streaming online: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India); Fubo (affiliate link — USA only)
As always, be excellent to each other.