Who: Chelsea FC vs. Cardiff City FC
What: English Premier League Week 8
Where: Stamford Bridge, London
When: Saturday, October 19, 2013
Weather: The Weather Channel London forecast
Time: 15:00 BST/10 a.m. EDT/7 a.m. PDT
TV: NBC Sports Live Extra (US)
Worldwide Livestreams and TV Channels: LiveSoccerTV.com
Radio: SiriusXM - Sirius Channel 94 (Internet 94), TalkSport Radio
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Odds: Chelsea -418, Cardiff City +1,360, Draw +571
Total: Under 3: -106, Over 3: -102
Source: Pinnacle (Willemstad, Curaçao)
3-Way Odds: Chelsea -450, Cardiff City +1200, Draw +560
Total: Under 3: -120, Over 3: -110
Decimal Odds: Chelsea 1.22, Cardiff City 9.00, Draw 2.60
Decimal Total: Under 3: 1.83, Over 3: 1.91
Fractional Odds: Chelsea 2/9, Cardiff City 12/1, Draw 11/2
Fractional Total: Under 3 5/6, Over 3 10/11
Source: Bovada (Kahnawake, Canada)
It’s back to business for Chelsea and its players after an international break as the Blues welcome English Premier League newcomers Cardiff City to Stamford Bridge on Saturday in Week 8 action.
Manager Malky Mackay and the Bluebirds already have two wins—including an impressive 3-2 upset over Manchester City at Cardiff City Stadium—but Cardiff City (2-2-3, seven goals for, nine goals against) still sits in 14th place and after playing Norwich City in its next game, face a really tough patch of Premier League scheduling with matches against Swansea City, Aston Villa, Manchester United and Arsenal.
Striker Fraizer Campbell (two goals) is the only Bluebirds player with more than one goal but with guys like Craig Bellamy, Peter Odemwingie, Aron Gunnarsson, Peter Whittingham, Kim Bo-Kyung and Andrew Taylor, Cardiff certainly has enough talent to generate the points to try to stay out of the relegation zone and stay up in England’s top flight next season.
Goalkeeper David Marshall has also been more than decent for the Bluebirds and is a big part of the reason clubs in the league will not be able to take this scrappy Welsh side for granted.
Chelsea (4-2-1) heads in to this fixture in third place with a stellar 3-0-0 record at home in West London, outscoring opponents 6-1, with that lone goal coming from Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke. The Blues have outscored their opposition 10-4 this season and have looked much better on defense than they have on offense.
With Fernando Torres still nursing a knee strain, expect Samuel Eto’o or Demba Ba to start at striker but Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is a wild card and could possibly even stick Andre Schurrle up top.
In the attacking midfield, the “so 2012” line of Juan Mata-Eden Hazard-Oscar have had few starts together, but to see them out there together eventually wouldn’t surprise anyone. And in the central midfield, Frank Lampard, Ramires and John Obi Mikel have all been effective and prove they can aid the offense this season.
But what separates Chelsea from most teams and what helped get them Champions League and Europa League championships back to back over the last two years is defense, and again that defense has been outstanding.
John Terry has received a lot of playing time from Mourinho, and the captain has proved he still has it and should start here against Cardiff although fellow veteran defender Ashley Cole (ribs) may miss the game due to injuries according to the Evening Standard, meaning that Ryan Bertrand could see his first action in some time.
In goal, Petr Cech has been fantastic as always, only allowing two goals twice in all competitions—in a 2-1 loss against FC Basel in the Blues' UEFA Champions League opener and in a 2-2 eventual penalty-kick loss to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Super Cup.
And with Chelsea and the big Czech having allowed just one goal at home this season, securing all three points and a win here against the Bluebirds should be tough but expected. I see a goal in each half by a guy with an “a” in his last name and a third clean sheet at the Bridge in four games.
Next up on Chelsea’s schedule is date with FC Schalke 04 at the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, on Tuesday in Champions League group-stage play followed by a high-profile league game at Stamford Bridge against Manchester City on Oct. 27.
PREDICTION: Chelsea 2-Cardiff City 0
BET: Chelsea -1.5 -135 (Alternate line, Bovada)
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