Leicester City head to Cardiff for the second time this week following Wednesday’s 2-2 draw in the Carling Cup and although the Bluebirds eventually won the shoot-out 7-6, I fancy that once again neither side will be celebrating a win after 90 minutes.
Both teams will revert to their strongest line-ups after making a host of changes in midweek (what does it say about the Carling Cup when Championship sides are making ten changes?) but even if the personnel is different, these two evenly matched squads may have to settle for the same outcome, a 12/5 shot with bwin.
Cardiff (5/4 to win) and Leicester (39/20) both have new managers at the helm after a summer of hectic transfer activity, but despite Sven Goran-Eriksson’s lavish spending spree, it is Malkay Mackay’s Cardiff who sit one point and three places above the Foxes in sixth position.
You’ve got to hand it to Sven though – his ability to attract rich chairmen (and loose women) far outweighs his ability to manage a football team, yet here he is again with, at Championship level, untold riches at his disposal.
Yet even allowing for a settling in period, his buying policy has been uninspiring (look up Championship journeyman in the dictionary and you’ll see a picture of David Nugent) and at this moment in time there are a handful of teams who look far better equipped for automatic promotion than the pre-season Championship favourites.
That said, Sven knows how to organise a team to be hard to beat (as the snooze-fest of most of England’s away games during his tenure testifies) and will no doubt go to the Cardiff City Stadium with a must-not-lose attitude.
The Foxes are unbeaten away from home this term, winning at Coventry and drawing at Nottingham Forest and Barnsley, and the criticism for his defensive tactics in the latter is not going to change the Swede’s approach for this one.
A trip to Cardiff is Sven’s toughest assignment yet. Malkay Mackay has done a fine job so far, having taken over a squad decimated by the sale of top scorer Jay Bothroyd and the return to their parent clubs of loanees such as Craig Bellamy. In contrast to Sven, Mackay seems to have bought well for the money available and looks set for another play-off challenge.
Cardiff have lost just once, at home to high-flying Brighton, but they have drawn three out of seven and with little to choose between the teams and both sides happy enough to avoid defeat, a draw is the play at 12/5.
And with Cardiff v Leicester matches having seen over 2.5 goals in five of the last seven fixtures, this option is also worth a look at 17/20.
With all this in mind, a repeat of Wednesday’s 2-2 draw is 12/1 and could end up being the best bet of all.
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