Cardiff City welcome Chelsea to the Welsh capital on Sunday afternoon for the return of the Premier League.
The Bluebirds are faced with a relegation scrap going into the final eight games of the season, and with the teams around them all playing on Saturday, Neil Warnock may need a shock victory at the Cardiff City Stadium to keep pace.
Chelsea went into the international break on the back of a weak display against Everton as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at Goodison Park, and Maurizio Sarri cannot afford to drop more points in the race for the top four.
The Blues could be four points behind Manchester United at kick-off time in Wales, while Cardiff will be praying Wolverhampton Wanderers can pick up three points away to relegation rivals Burnley and give Sunday's hosts a chance of escaping the relegation zone.
Check out 90min's preview of Sunday's Premier League clash below.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Sunday 31 March|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||14:05 BST|
|Where Is it Played?||Cardiff City Stadium|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Sky Sports Premier League|
Cardiff suffered a blow during the international break when joint-top scorer Callum Paterson damaged his ankle in Scotland's win over San Marino and the versatile 24-year-old will miss the rest of the season, along with defender Sol Bamba.
In his pre-match press conference, Warnock expressed his disappointment at Iceland's 'selfish' use of Aron Gunnarsson against Andorra and France, casting doubt over his fitness with a trip to Manchester City on Wednesday.
Sarri has a near full squad to choose from, but for another back problem for Ruben Loftus-Cheek which forced him to withdraw from the England squad. All eyes will be on Callum Hudson-Odoi who earned his first cap for the Three Lions before even starting a Premier League match for Chelsea.
Sarri says Hudson-Odoi is "ready" to start a PL game but reiterates he can only play with two wingers #cfc— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) March 29, 2019
Several players including Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Willian were not called up by the national team and enjoyed a full two-week break from matches, which is likely to sway the Blues boss' team selection.
|Cardiff City||Etheridge; Peltier, Morrison, Manga, Bennett; Ralls, Camarasa, Arter; Mendez-Laing, Niasse, Murphy.|
|Chelsea||Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Emerson; Jorginho, Kante, Barkley; Pedro, Higuain, Hazard.|
Head to Head Record
The Bluebirds haven't beaten Chelsea since 1986 but have a surprisingly decent record against Sunday's opponents, winning 15 and losing 19.
Neil Warnock's side had an inconsistent patch prior to the international break, winning three and losing three of their previous six matches, but the 2-0 home win over West Ham United last time out will have boosted Bluebirds fans' hope of staying afloat in the top division.
The mood around Stamford Bridge was lifted after the Carabao Cup final and back-to-back victories over Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham, but a disappointing 1-1 draw with Wolves and the Everton defeat has once again cast doubt over Sarri's credentials.
Here's how each team has performed in their last five fixtures:
|Cardiff 2-0 West Ham (9/3)||Everton 2-0 Chelsea (17/3)|
|Wolves 2-0 Cardiff (2/3)||Dynamo Kiev 0-5 Chelsea (14/3)|
|Cardiff 0-3 Everton (26/2)||Chelsea 1-1 Wolves (10/3)|
|Cardiff 1-5 Watford (22/2)||Chelsea 3-0 Dynamo Kiev (7/3)|
|Southampton 1-2 Cardiff (9/2)||Fulham 1-2 Chelsea (3/3)|
On paper, it should be no contest for Chelsea, but it's difficult to know just what mood Sarri's men will be in on Sunday. Cardiff are fighting for their lives which can present a problem for any visitor to the Cardiff City Stadium, but if Chelsea are on song, the Bluebirds will surely remain in the relegation zone for another week.
Prediction: Cardiff City 1-3 Chelsea
Source : 90min