City kick off Premier League season: Bournemouth v Cardiff preview

Bournemouth away match preview Dean Close image by Dom Fellowes (Flickr).

Cardiff City’s first match of the Premier League season is an attractive away trip to Bournemouth. The Cherries will be feeling better about the new season after splashing some serious cash on Jefferson Lerma and will be feeling optimistic as they welcome us to the Vitality Stadium.

AFC Bournemouth v Cardiff City
Premier League
The Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth
11th August 2018, 3pm (BST)
Referee: Kevin Friend

Cardiff City’s expected starting XI

Etheridge

Peltier
Morrison
Bamba
Manga
Bennett

Ralls
Reid
Hoilett
Murphy

Zohore

Three things to watch out for

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  1. The first competitive match of the season should see debuts for Murphy, Reid and Victor Carmarasa – Arter will probably be unavailable to play against his parent club. There will be questions around all three. Can Murphy carry his blistering pre-season form into the new season? Is Reid ready to step up from the Championship? How will Carmarasa do in a new league after just a couple days with his new teammates.
  2. With Cardiff giving away only 39 goals in 46 games last season, how will they cope in the Premier League? Bournemouth have some dangerous attacking options and it’ll be interesting to see who starts for Cardiff at the back – and how they shape up. With Cunningham coming in from Preston, Richards back from injury, Cardiff has options across the back line. How Warnock deploys them will be key.
  3. What happens up top? You’d expect Big Ken to start but what then of Bobby Reid? Madine and Ward have been knocking on the door in pre-season. Pre-season showed that Murphy is raring to go and Paterson has added a new dimension to his game going forward. There’s a dynamism across the front three that could provide some interesting combinations.

Bournemouth players to watch

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Callum Wilson and Josh King both scored 8 last year – but both are certainly capable of more. Both are strong finishers in the 18 yard box and will be looking to improve on last seasons tallies. King in particular could be the thorn in Cardiff’s side. Strong, wily, and he certainly won’t give Morrison and Bamba a minute to rest.

One player we’re particularly interested in is David Brooks. Warnock hinted that he had been looking at him earlier in the summer but the price was just a bit too high. He was brilliant for Sheffield United last year and there will be a bit of pressure on him to succeed at Bournemouth.

Best case result?

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We aren’t in the business of ideal predictions. Arbitrarily guessing a 1-1 result seems churlish at best. So let’s look at what would be the ideal start for Cardiff. Bournemouth seem forever in a state of flux. Last season, they didn’t get off to the best start and sat in the relegation zone up until game 10 and were still in danger halfway through the season.

Warnock will be looking to exploit this. A cagey start to the game will open-up and we can be hopeful of a win. Keep the defence tight and look to gain the advantage at set-pieces, and we could come away as the odd goal in three winners.

Worst case result?

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Bournemouth are a good side. They play football in the right way and have quality peppered through the squad. If Howe gets them firing early doors, they could overpower us. An early goal for them could see our heads drop and Warnock will need to be ready to fire them back up. A slow start in the first half, that was so often the case last season, will not go unpunished in the Prem and they could be way too strong for us. A 3-0 loss isn’t out of the question.

What do you think?

Let us know in the comments below or tweet us at @VFTNinian. http://gty.im/949689058