It’s a relegation six-pointer in Wales today, as 19th-placed Cardiff welcome last-placed Fulham to the Cardiff City Stadium (Watch live online at 10 a.m. ET via Live Extra).
Cardiff – or, more accurately, Vincent Tan – had hoped that replacing Malky Mackay with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would produce a string of results, causing the Bluebirds to fly up the table. Instead they’re so deep in the relegation zone that even a win won’t pull them out. Solskjaer, and his revamped squad, has produced just one win from nine matches.
Fulham, too, put their faith in a new boss, appointing Felix Magath a few weeks ago. The German promptly saw his side lose out on a win when West Brom equalized at the last minute, then watched as Fulham fell to pieces in the second half against Chelsea last time out. Bearing in mind their -34 goal difference, and the fact that Sunderland have two games (by the end of the weekend, three games) in hand, the Cottagers need at least five points to pull them out of the drop zone. If they can’t get anything against Cardiff, it’s likely time to start making plans for life in the Championship.
After the loss to Chelsea, Magath is shaking things up a bit. John Arne Riise comes on at left back, while Kieran Richardson moves up the pitch. Lewis Holtby is back in midfield, but the biggest surprises are up top. Kostas Mitroglou, thought to be lacking match fitness, gets the start, alongside 19-year-old Cauley Woodrow, making his first appearance for Fulham.
Cardiff City: Marshall; John, Caulker, Turner, John; Medel, Kim, Mutch; Noone, Jones, Campbell
Substitutes: Lewis; Eikrem, Cala, Theophile-Catherine, Daehli, Zaha, Bellamy
Fulham: Stekelenburg; Riether, Heitinga, Hangeland, Riise; Dejagah, Sidwell, Holtby, Richardson; Mitroglou, Woodrow
Substitutes: Kvist, Kaçaniklic, Stockdale, Karagounis, Zverotić, Burn, Bent