I’ve been mightily impressed with Chelsea so far this season; their Community Shield defeat to Manchester City cast an assumption in my mind that there was much work to be done at Stamford Bridge before they could be truly competitive this season. However, Maurizio Sarri’s players have bought into his possession-based 4-3-3 system impressively quickly, and with four wins out of four, they may fancy a sneaky title challenge if things continue to improve.
Chelsea have completed more passes than any other side in the Premier League, with new central-midfielder Jorginho completing more passes and having more touches than any other player in the league. The Italian is looking like an outstanding purchase.
Many were unsure about how quickly the players would adapt from Antonio Conte’s conservative five-at-the-back to Sarri’s swashbuckling 4-3-3; the answer is: very.
From the sexy Neapolitan football deriving from the Tuscan hills to Neil Warnock, Sheffield. This fixture will show off as stark a contrast in styles as you’re likely to see in the Premier League – but that’s the beauty of football.
Warnock sticks to what he knows, and it’s served him well throughout his career. Only Newcastle have made fewer passes than Cardiff in the Premier League this season, so it’s no surprise as to who will be enjoying more of the ball.
Warnock’s men scored their first goal of the season, and the second, at home to Arsenal last week, although it’s away from home where I cannot see them having much joy. They’ll need more than team spirit and togetherness – traits Warnock sides have in abundance – to earn points on the road, and against Chelsea the class difference will just be too big.
Cardiff City will not be a Derby County this season; they will pick up wins and they will be tough to beat. However, this trip to Chelsea will be no-such occasion. Chelsea to win to nil is looking a safe bet.
Warnock will want to see this match be as stop-start as possible. Little niggly fouls will be the name of the game here, so expect Cardiff’s tally of seven yellow cards this season to rise. The Bluebirds had three names taken down against Arsenal, and there will be plenty of the same against Chelsea.
Victor Camarasa scored Cardiff’s first Premier League goal of the season against Arsenal last week, but he’s also been booked twice this season. The pace and trickery of Chelsea’s attacking players – namely Pedro, Willian and Eden Hazard – often attracts fouls and bookings.
The Spaniard to be booked again my second tip.
Sarri has thus far rotated Pedro, Hazard and Willian – with Alvaro Morata being the ever-present centre-forward. While Pedro and Hazard have opened their goalscoring accounts for this season, Willian is yet to get off the mark, but I’m backing him to find the net on Saturday against Cardiff.
Whether it’s starting or off the bench, Willian will have his chances to score against this Cardiff side. We all know about his scoring capabilities, so the Brazilian to find the net is my final tip.