Cardiff City (9-4-23) vs. Crystal Palace (12-7-17)
Premier League: Saturday 04-05-2019 at 17:30 UST (Cardiff City Stadium)
Odds: Cardiff City: 2.60, Draw: 3.75, Crystal Palace: 2.70
Free Premier League picks Cardiff City vs. Crystal Palace
Cardiff City welcomes Crystal Palace on Saturday in a crucial survival match. Indeed, the Bluebirds could be relegated this weekend if they do not win. Cardiff City are four points behind Brighton with two games left to play so this game is a must-win. Their position in the league is mostly due to their poor defence throughout the season. For instance, Cardiff City have the third-worst record in terms of goals conceded. They concede on average 1.8 goals per game and are usually playing in a low block and relinquishing possession. This is one of the reason why the Bluebirds also have the second-worst record in terms of goals. They have scored only 30 goals this season and only three in their last six games. As a result, Cardiff City are expected to be relegated with 96% chance by FiveThirtyEight. However, Brighton, the only other team which could be relegated have a very difficult calendar. Indeed, the Seagulls play against Arsenal and Manchester City. All is not lost yet for the Bluebirds.
While this match is crucial to Cardiff, it means very little to Crystal Palace. The Eagles are at a comfortable 12th place and don’t have anything to play for. They have been in the average of the Premier League throughout the season. For instance, Crystal Palace have conceded 48 goals this season while the league average is 50.65. As a matter of fact, their xGAs are even closer to the league average, at 49.41. On offence, they are relatively lower than that 50.65 mark. However, Manchester City and Liverpool’s attacks skew this number greatly. The Eagles’ consistency can be seen in their last six games. Indeed, they have won three, lost two and drew one game in that period. This included an impressive away win at Arsenal and two losses to Manchester City in which they were tactically dominated. On paper, Palace should win this game but Cardiff could offer themselves a last chance and should be extra motivated.
Neil Warnock‘s Cardiff should play in a 4-2-3-1 with Etheridge in goals. Bennett, Ecuele-Manga, Morrison and Peltier should compose the defensive line. Bacuna should start in midfield with Gunnarson to his side. The Icelander should play his last home game for Cardiff this weekend. Junior Hoilett and Mendez-Laing could occupy the wings and bring pace on counter-attacks. Cardiff’s top goalscorer, Camarasa should start in the CAM position, probably behind Niasse.
Hodgson should start a team similar to the ones that collected four points against Arsenal and Everton. Indeed, Sakho, Tomkins, Sclupp and Souaré are still unavailable. His 4-4-2 should have Guaita in goals with Dann and Kelly as centre-backs. March PFA Player of the Month nominee Wan-Bissaka should start as right-back with Van Aanholt on the left. Top scorer Milivojevic and Kouyaté should begin in the midfield with Townsend and McArthur on the wings. Benteké is unavailable after his injury against Everton. Consequently, Zaha should play with either Ayew or Batshuayi in attack.
Free Premier League schedule Crystal Palace vs. Cardiff City
Cardiff City are in contention for relegation and are playing to survive this weekend. They will need to expose themselves to win which hasn’t worked well this season. Crystal Palace could roll over in this game and allow Cardiff to get a precious result. However, some of Hodgson’s men are looking to move to a bigger club in the summer. They could use this game to show off their potential and talent. Unfortunately, I think that Crystal Palace have too much talent and will relegate Cardiff from the Premier League.
PICK: Cardiff City 0-2 Crystal Palace