Cardiff versus Swansea is constantly an enormous game but today’s fixture comes with added significance.
Boasting rights are on the line as typical and after Swansea’s emphatic success over their bitterest competitors back in December, the Bluebirds will surely want to apologize for their no-show at Cardiff City Stadium.
There is an additional spice to this weekend’s fixture because Swansea have the chance to finish a league double over their old enemy. Amazingly, neither side has handled this feat in the derby’s 109- year history.
History is waiting to be made and in this sense there is definitely more pressure on Cardiff than Swansea.
However there is far more to this game than the normal fight for Welsh supremacy.
Both clubs have actually seen their form drop over recent weeks.
The thrashing away at Bournemouth in midweek was Swansea’s first defeat in five but it came on the back of a poor run of efficiencies in which Swansea rode their luck to pick up points versus the similarity Stoke, Middlesbrough, Blackburn and Luton.
The loss to Bournemouth likewise saw the Swans fall 3 points behind second-placed Watford. It’s a reasonably small space, particularly considering the Swans have a game in hand over the Hornets, however with the males from Vicarage Road striking their strides there are fears the gap might become a gorge unless performances enhance quickly.
A defeat this weekend would seriously dent their automated promotion hopes, nevertheless it would not be a fatal blow.
Cardiff on the other hand most likely can not manage to lose if they are to keep their play-off hopes alive.
It’s impressive that Cardiff are even in the running for a top-six area thinking about the mess acquired by Mick McCarthy in January. Back then they were just seven points above the bottom 3 after a run of five consecutive beats.
They went on a superb run under their brand-new supervisor and simply three weeks ago they remained in the top six. Even then there were obvious signs of tiredness and possibly that tiredness has actually overtaken them in current video games.
2 points from their last three matches, integrated with good outcomes for the groups above them mean that by the time they start at 5.30 pm today, Cardiff could be 9 points adrift of the leading 6. With the season entering its final stages, defeat in those situations would leave them wishing a miracle to make the play-offs.
Both teams severely need the win and can’t truly manage to lose so that should make this an actually interesting video game, right?
In theory it should. The league table doesn’t permit either of these sides to play it safe, as held true in last season’s unbearably dull 0-0 at the Cardiff City Arena, however this is a clash in between two sides who have actually struggled to get going lately.
Cardiff have actually scored just one goal from 6 shots on target in their last 3 video games while the Swans handled simply two objectives from five shots on target, including a charge, from their last three fixtures.
This is a big test. Which of these groups can overcome fatigue, aggravation and a loss of kind to raise their game for the big celebration?
If Swansea are to pull off a historical league double and offer their promo hopes a shot in the arm at the same time, we require to see boldness from both the supervisor and his players.
The Swans have actually been underperforming in a number of areas recently and lots of fans are eager to see modifications. There are huge calls to be made in defence, midfield and up front.
Cooper will need to hope that Marc Guehi’s fitness allows him to begin and assist a defence which has looked extended recently. Cardiff have failed to score in any of their last 4 South Wales derbies and if that record is to continue, Swansea will have to nullify their direct aerial play. This might be a job for the no-nonsense Ben Cabango, who has seen the last two video games from the bench.
In midfield, questions have been raised about Conor Hourihane despite the Irishman pitching in with five objectives and an assist because his January arrival. He offers Swansea a higher goal threat from midfield but his basic play has actually been disappointing. There are calls for Steve Cooper to go back to the tried and checked midfield trio of Matt Grimes, Jay Fulton and Korey Smith however doing so might deny the midfield of an important attacking force.
Young Morgan Whitaker has actually likewise put pressure on Swansea’s underperforming strikers with an energetic cameo versus Bournemouth on Tuesday.
Andre Ayew has simply one goal from open play in his last nine video games and Jamal Lowe’s goal-less run stretches back to mid-January.
Lowe was the headline-maker in the last derby and that match was a significant turning point for him as it kick-started an individual scoring spree. Fans will hope the same can happen this time around however Lowe has actually looked really exhausted lately and his most significant impact has typically been off the bench.
The derby could be a chance for him to gain some confidence again but with Whitaker looking intense in midweek, his beginning spot is now under threat.
Cooper has some huge calls to make but the manager has actually displayed in the past that he can motivate his team for these clashes.
The Swans are used to entering these video games on the back of disappointing results. This will be the sixth successive derby to be played having not won the previous match but they usually click when their blue-shirted foes show up at the Liberty.
There are other little aspects which may offer extra hope of a Swansea win, including Mick McCarthy’s terrible record in derbies throughout his supervisory career.
The new Cardiff boss has actually been on the touchline for 52 derby matches throughout his three decades as a manger but has actually won less than a fifth of them, the last of which came 10 years ago when his Wolves group beat West Bromwich Albion.
There are a lot of stats, records and prophecies we could talk about but at the end of the day the derby always boils down to which group can show up for the big occasion.
It’s a test of character as much as a test of footballing ability and that’s especially true today with so much riding on this game.
We will simply have to wait and see which side holds its nerve and which one cracks under pressure.
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