Neither Cardiff City nor Newcastle United were able to get off to a good start in the first week of the Premier League. Both teams suffered losses in their openers, but while Cardiff City looked dead in a 2-0 loss on the road to Bournemouth, Newcastle had some very impressive displays during a 2-1 home loss to Tottenham Hotspur. That has the oddsmakers favoring Newcastle’s chances heading into each team’s second match of the season.
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Cardiff City vs Newcastle United
Date and Time: August 18, 2018, 7:30 a.m. ET
Location: Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff, Wales
US Television Coverage: NBCSN
Coming into the season, Newcastle United were a trendy pick to finish in the top half of the table, with some even calling for the team to make it into European play. They allowed the seventh-fewest goals in the Premier League last season, and the thought is if they can get some offense, they are a serious threat.
As for Cardiff, most were calling for this team to be relegated. The Bluebirds are back in the Premier League for the first time in four years, but their last venture up didn’t go so well. The club didn’t make many big signings in the offseason either.
In their first match of the season, the Bluebirds looked simply outclassed by Bournemouth. Cardiff City managed to put just one shot on net and only had 37 percent of the game’s possession. The marking was poor with Bournemouth players routinely running into space, and the center backs were dreadful. A better team could have put three or four past goalkeeper Neil Etheridge on the day, but Etheridge came up big in his own right with a penalty stop that was given up by one of his center backs.
Newcastle United may have lost to Tottenham, but the Magpies looked very impressive throughout the match. The club looked feisty on offense, with Joselu having a very nice game. He created some space for himself and easily headed home in the 11th minute, and a lovely pass left a teammate with just the goalkeeper to beat in a near-miss. The Magpies rung one off the left post and one off the crossbar in this match, so the offense seems to have improved. This defense looked a bit vulnerable on the back post though.
It may only be the second week of the season, but Newcastle United have already lost a player for the season. Center back Florian Lejeune tore his ACL a couple weeks ago, and he is unlikely to suit up for the club this campaign. Right back DeAndre Yedlin is probably going to miss this match too. He picked up a knee knock and only recently returned to training.
Cardiff City are going to be without one of their lynchpins in the midfield here. Aron Gunnarsson has been declared out with a knee injury, but he could return to duty next week for the club. The news is better with regards to forward Kenneth Zohore. Zohore say out against Bournemouth with a groin issue, but he is probable to play here.
English Premier League Free Picks
Newcastle United are a great pick to win on the road here. The Magpies will be stronger in the back in this one, as Federico Fernandez will be available as the team’s new center back. Fernandez and Benitez know each other well, with the former knowing what his manager expects in the club’s defensive system.
I don’t think Newcastle will do much on offense after the initial tally, so a 1-0 scoreline seems apt.
English Premier League Prediction: Newcastle United 1, Cardiff City 0
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