Spurs v Cardiff
Premier League: Kick-Off: Saturday 6th October, 3:00pm.
Cardiff City are in the same ‘bracket' as Barcelona this week. That bracket being of them both sharing fixtures with Tottenham Hotspur just 3 days apart.
Spurs will play host to the two sides at their present Wembley home this week. Firstly Barcelona in the Champions League, closely followed by their welcome of Cardiff in the Premier League. How will Spurs go about their business on Saturday afternoon after their ‘glamour tie' of mid-week?
Spurs coped relatively well with a similar turnaround two weeks ago. They followed up a decent account of themselves in the Champions League against an improving Inter side, with a victory against a Brighton side who are tough on their own patch. Spurs were unlucky to be narrowly beaten in the San Siro against Inter, although the following 2-1 result away from home to Brighton just 4 days afterwards is an indication of Spurs' ability to handle congested fixtures. Their recent 2-0 away win at Huddersfield is also an indication of where Spurs are at right now against bottom-table Premier League opposition.
In terms of Spurs' opposition this Saturday, this Cardiff side has recently been accused of ‘lacking ambition' in the Premier League with their low spending and going by both results and performances so far, it is hard to seriously argue against this. There have been flashes of quality, such as putting two past Arsenal or scoring an early away goal at Stamford Bridge although the overriding feeling is that the Welsh side just aren't cutting it right now. I also don't think that Neil Warnock knows what his best line-up is right now, and where certain players are fitting in. It is evidently clear that Cardiff are lacking a proven Premier League striker and this is backed up by the fact that only one of Cardiff's four league goals this season has come from a recognised striker (Danny Ward).
Cardiff put in a decent performance against a resilient and much improving Burnley side in their last Premier League outing. Cardiff had a far greater share of the chances, with 20 attempted shots, with 5 being on target throughout the match. Ultimately however, there was a difference in quality evident on the day, throughout almost every position on the pitch.
Cardiff are still without their talismanic midfielder Aaron Gunnarson and also Lee Peltier, who will be out for several months after the shoulder injury sustained against Manchester City. Spurs have a slightly concerning injury list developing also, with Christian Erikson, Deli Alli, Jan Vertongen, Moussa Dembele and Serge Aurier all out until after the October International break at the very least. Spurs do have the bonus of welcoming back Hugo Lloris in goal this week and at the time of writing may potentially be eyeing up his return in their preceding Champions League fixture. Spurs also have top class players that can fill in for these other absences in different areas of the pitch.
Spurs have notched 14 and conceded 7 in the league this season as compared to Cardiff's 4 and 16 respective record. Harry Kane also seems to be getting back amongst the goals again, netting both goals at Huddersfield last week.
As far as the match predictions go here today, I think that a Spurs win is highly likely and Spurs seem to have overcome their small blip in form from earlier on last month. Spurs scoring at least 2 or more goals past a very porous Cardiff defence also seems highly likely, with the North Londoners banging in at least 2 goals or more in 6 of their 9 competitive fixtures this season. There is no value in any of these outcomes however, from a betting perspective.
Where the value does lie, in my opinion, is for us seeing both teams score. I am convinced enough by the stats of Spurs conceding in 7 out of their 9 games in all competitions, at the time of writing, to think that Cardiff will grab a goal at Wembley. These stats also include sides such as Newcastle and Fulham scoring, who are in the vicinity of Cardiff near the bottom of the league table. The Spurs backline is seldom watertight and with the absence of Vertongen as well as Hugo Lloris settling back into his role between the sticks, then Spurs could easily concede one.
Cardiff took a well taken goal against an organised Burnley outfit just last week and it could potentially have been another if not for the heroics of Joe Hart in goal. Cardiff grabbed a goal away at Chelsea, as well as netting against Arsenal, which leads me to believe that Cardiff like to register in some of the bigger matches. The Bluebirds will relish their day out on the Wembley turf and with little or no expectation on them to get a result against the might of Spurs. I think that the Welsh club may enjoy themselves throughout parts of this game and get themselves on the score sheet. Ultimately however, I see Spurs having far too much quality in all areas of the pitch and I can see a similar result as to when Fulham came to Wembley earlier on in the season, where Spurs ran out 3-1 winners.
I think that the value on offer for a Spurs win and both teams to score at odds of 7/4 (Ladbrokes) is a decent return, along with taking a small-stakes punt on the aforementioned 3-1 correct score-line at 9/1 (Ladbrokes). Another interesting long-shot bet that also caught my eye, was for Cardiff to register a surprise early goal, which I have a possible hunch on. Cardiff surprised with an early one against Chelsea (on 16 mins) and I think that this happening here is not impossible. At odds of 14/1 for the ‘Result after 15 mins' market to be ‘Away', then I think putting 0.1 of a point on this may add some interest for those cheering on the Welsh side.