Match Preview: Crystal Palace vs Cardiff City

By - Friday 6th December, 2013

With results gradually improving for Palace, Matt Woosnam previews another big game, against fellow promoted side Cardiff City

Championship champions: Palace face a stern test. Photo by Simon Williams, used under Creative Commons.

It’s the hope that kills you.

Palace produced a sterling defensive performance on Tuesday night after Marouane Chamakh headed them in front against West Ham, to earn a desperately needed victory. In truth, it was a poor match but the commitment and dedication shown by the players in the second half was tremendous and resulted in a victory which lifted the Eagles off the bottom of the Premier League once again. With two clean sheets from three matches, Palace have begun to find their rigidity that was so lacking under Ian Holloway.

Now to Saturday’s game against Cardiff City and the battle of the birds. The Eagles face the Bluebirds, or is it the Red Dragons? Regardless of Cardiff’s identity crisis, on the pitch they are a difficult team to beat, taking a point from Manchester United at the Cardiff City Stadium last month, and all three points from United’s fierce rivals Manchester City back in August. However, the Bluebirds have stumbled recently with only one victory since September. Nonetheless, with the multi-million pound talents of Gary Medel and Steven Caulker, alongside stalwart Craig Bellamy, Cardiff will be no easy proposition.

The last time the two sides met was almost a year ago in South Wales, as on Boxing Day 2012 Palace fell to a narrow 2-1 defeat despite dominating the first half of the match, but goals from the two Craigs – Bellamy and Noone – condemned the Eagles to a defeat against the league leaders. Earlier in the season, under the management of Dougie Freedman, Palace performed an outstanding comeback to win 3-2 having suffered a sucker punch of two early goals.

You just never know what to expect from Palace

Tony Pulis is unlikely to make any changes from the side which beat West Ham on Tuesday, with Marouane Chamakh and Cameron Jerome almost certainly continuing their partnership up front. There are no new injury concerns for Palace, and they will be looking to Barry Bannan to produce another man of the match performance as they entertain Cardiff. Danny Gabbidon and Damien Delaney will have to be on the top of their game to deal with Cardiff’s attacking threat, with Frazier Campbell in particular one to watch out for.

Declan John looks set to continue at right-back for Cardiff, whilst Kevin Théophile-Catherine has impressed on the other side of defence since joining in the summer. Ben Turner and Steven Caulker have been Malky Mackay’s preferred pairing in the centre of defence, with club captain Mark Hudson relegated to the bench for much of Cardiff’s maiden Premier League campaign.

Cardiff have a plethora of attacking options, with £8m striker Andreas Cornelius finally able to show what he is capable of following injury, whilst Palace summer transfer target Peter Odemwingie has put in a number of excellent cameos . Peter Whittingham has been a tremendous player for Cardiff over the years, and his set piece deliveries will no doubt be cause for concern for Tony Pulis as Palace have been poor at defending from dead ball situations this season.

You just never know what to expect from Palace, they’ll give you the most tremendous highs, only to bring you straight back down again with a crushing blow and a poor performance to boot. This time, maybe, just maybe, things might be a bit different and the Eagles can continue their fine form with another victory. Where the goals will come from, I have no idea, but this will be an open game with two teams cautious not to lose but desperate to earn a victory and pull clear of the teams below them.

Crystal Palace 2-1 Cardiff City

Matt Woosnam

Matt Woosnam

Matt Woosnam is a Kingston University student in his final year as a Politics & International Relations undergraduate. A campaigner on mental health he is the founder of @Talk_Out, as well as part of the TalkEasyTrust, and seeks to break down stigma by encouraging talking out. Matt is also an avid Crystal Palace fan and the online editor of Five Year Plan Fanzine, as well as a regular contributor to the Croydon Guardian.

More Posts