The early kick off in the Championship on Saturday sees Birmingham travel to South Wales to play Cardiff in an intriguing battle between two sides who will more likely than not be in the bottom half of the table come the end of the season. Having said that, Birmingham have opened with 4 points from their first two games against two teams that were in the playoffs last year. Cardiff also had an impressive win at home to Norwich in their first game but were underwhelming at Reading last time out.
Cardiff have been the busiest club in the Championship over the summer break, bringing in a total of 15 players in, and letting a similar number leave. Whilst having only spent money on two players, they have still managed to bring in some impressive names on free transfers and loans – such as Romaine Sawyers, Jamilu Collins, Andy Rinomhota and Jaden Philogene-Bidace. Optimism is high around the Bluebirds camp and this was backed up by an impressive win against the Canaries on the opening day. However, they were poor in defeat at Reading last week. One of the reasons for this is that central midfielder Ryan Wintle was ineffective and Birmingham will want to stop him from playing as much as they can. Manager Steve Morison was not happy with the performance and apologised to the fans, and they will be hoping for a bounce back on Saturday.
Birmingham have been much less active in the window. Limited by financial constraints, they have only managed to secure one permanent transfer – that of veteran goal keeper John Ruddy. However, they have managed to secure some good players on loan – including Auston Trusty, Przemyslaw Placheta from Norwich – who scored last week, and highly rated defensive midfielder Krystian Bielik – who has had a career plagued with injuries. Birmingham started the season with a point at play off hopefuls Luton and managed to shut them out in a 0-0 draw, and managed to back this up at home against the Terriers with a 2-1 victory in front of their home fans.
Cardiff City v Birmingham City Bet Builder Tips
Under 2.5 Goals
This is not a game that initially looks like it will produce a lot of goals. Whilst both teams were involved in games that finished 2-1 last week, I cannot see that happening again this week. The underlying stats of the two Cardiff games suggest that the games have been dire. Taking away the penalty they conceded at Reading, they have amassed a total of 0.36 expected goals scored and 1.01 expected goals conceded. This data would suggest that the goals should dry up and I think that will start here.
The main area of concern for Cardiff is their players going forward and they are seriously missing a striker. Currently they have Max Watters, Mark Harris and have recently brought in Kion Etete from Spurs for around £500k. Watters and Harris’ goal records are extremely poor in the Championship, and both are yet to score this season. Whilst Etete is highly rated, he is seen more as a target man to link players and has only scored five professional goals – all in league one and two. They might be more fluid going forward with him but wingers O’Dowda and Ojo also lack goals in their careers. It also remains to be seen whether Etete will start because he has only appeared off the bench so far. In defence, they have played with three new defenders (Romeo, Kipre and Collins) in their first two games as well as a new keeper (Allsop) – all of whom have impressed. They will be glad to have Perry Ng back from suspension after being sent off against Norwich.
Birmingham’s team lacks goals. Whilst Deeney has a good record in the Championship, he is on the decline as a 34 year old now. He scored 4 goals last season and has only hit double figures in a season once since 2016/17. Other striker Scott Hogan also has an average record, and although was unlucky with injuries last year, has not scored more than 10 goals in a season since 2016/17. Cardiff’s strength against Norwich was in the midfield with Wintle, Rinhomata and Sawyers, and I fancy them to dominate possession and stop the ball from reaching the front two of Birmingham. In front of keeper John Ruddy, the back three is fairly solid with two young centre backs of Sanderson and Trusty, with the more experienced Marc Roberts to support them.
Cardiff Double Chance
Cardiff will be looking for a reaction after a poor showing at Reading. Manager Steve Morison apologised for the performance and I’d be amazed if they followed it up with another poor showing. There has been an optimism around the club over the past few months (partially due to the rumours of Gareth Bale signing for the club) but it feels like a new team with 15 new signings after many fans had fallen out of love with the club in recent seasons. Reading managed to negate their midfield, but I think Birmingham will struggle to do this and if Wintle can get a hold of the game, then he should be able to dictate the play and control possession.
Birmingham have started the season very well. However, at the start of the season they were among the favourites to go down and I think that will catch up with them here. I struggle to see them scoring and they didn’t manage to make too many clear cut opportunities at home to a poor Huddersfield side. I think John Eustace’s first loss as manager could be on the horizon but have given the safety net of a double chance.
Przemyslow Placheta to have 2+ Shots
Whilst I do think Cardiff will dominate possession, I think Birmingham will still have opportunities – having had 30 shots across their first two games. One of their main men is Placheta who is on loan from Norwich and has had six shots across his first two games, and at least two in each of those games. In the Premier League last year he wasn’t given too many opportunities but still had an average of 1.43 shots per 90 in a dreadful Norwich side, and when last in the Championship, averaged 2.80 shots per 90.
Whilst Cardiff have only given up 14 shots across their first two games, I do think Placheta will be key. In their game against Norwich, midfielders Kenny McLean, Todd Cantwell and Sam McCallum all managed to shoot and Reading’s shots came from the midfield with Jeff Hendrick, Tyrese Fornah and Tom Ince. I think Placheta will have a similar role to Ince last weekend and I think he will manage to shoot twice as Birmingham’s main man in their hopes of survival.
Over 1.5 Cardiff Cards
Cardiff have started the season as the dirtiest team in the league. They have amassed a mighty 9 yellow cards, 1 red card and given away a penalty across the first two games and I see that trend continuing here. They have also managed to pick up two or more cards in 6 of the last 7 times they have played Birmingham and I think they may struggle to deal with the wing backs of Maxime Colin and Jordan James as well as loan signing Placheta.
Birmingham drew two yellow cards from Huddersfield last week and I think Cardiff are a team that will do the same – particularly as Morison will want a reaction. Referee Darren Bond has taken charge of two Championship games this season and has given out eight yellow cards already – six of which have been to the home team. This is slightly up on last years average – 38 yellows across 10 games – and only 1.30 for the home team per game but I think that given Cardiff’s disciplinary record so far, 8/11 is a very generous price.
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How to watch Cardiff City v Birmingham City in the Championship
📅 When is Cardiff City v Birmingham City? / Saturday, 13th August 2022, 12:30PM
🏟 Where is Cardiff City v Birmingham City? / Cardiff City Stadium (Cardiff)
📺 What TV channel is Cardiff City v Birmingham City on? / Sky Sports Main Event & Sky Sports Football
🟨 …And who is the referee for Cardiff City v Birmingham City? / D. Bond 🏴