Bluebirds And Tigers To Go Unders in Cardiff

Ole-Gunnar-Solskjaer-Cardiff-press-conference_3060500Backing under two and a half goals in the English Premier League game between last season’s English Championship top two, Cardiff and Hull, at odds of 1.67 with Sky Bet is the best bet on the weekend program in the English elite.

Cardiff has not kicked on following its appointment of Ole Gunnar Solksjaer and activity in the transfer market prior to the window slamming shut for the final time this term, with its recent performances including a 0-3 loss at Welsh rival Swansea and a 0-0 home draw versus Aston Villa in which the Bluebirds were indebted to their goalkeeper.

Saturday’s English Premier League match is close to one that Cardiff must win if it is going to retain its top-flight membership card but one can guarantee that Hull, one of the division’s grinders, will make life tough for the Bluebirds.

Hull is the king of English Premier League when it comes to under-two-and-a-half-goal games. Twenty of Hull’s 26 English Premier League matches have gone under two and a half goals, including 10 of its 13 away games. Hull’s three English Premier League road matches that have gone over two and a half goals have been against teams ranked sixth to ninth, which one thinks is significant. Those are the sides against which Hull probably plays with the most freedom because the Tigers are not expected to win them but they do have a real chance of getting something that would be a valuable bonus.

One can expect Hull to play conservatively versus Cardiff in the Welsh capital. If one likes tension then Cardiff City Stadium will be a good place to be on Saturday. If one likes free-flowing football then one should stay away from the joint. English Premier League bosses have appointed the competition’s highest ranked referee, Howard Webb, to officiate because everyone is tipping a feisty scrap.

Cardiff’s under-two-and-a-half-goal numbers are not in the same class as those of Hull but the Bluebirds have played 26 English Premier League games and 13 of them have gone under that mark. It does look likely to be a low-scoring clash.

Stoke is a very different animal under Mark Hughes than it was under Tony Pulis. Under Pulis one would have been very reluctant to bet on Stoke losing English Premier League matches to nil because its former no-nonsense style did unsettle many sides, especially those towards the top of the ladder. But under Hughes one is quite keen to bet on Stoke losing to nil, particularly away from home, because it has moved away from its rudimentary approach in recent times.

Manchester City welcomes Stoke to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday and, itching to get its UEFA Champions League loss to Barcelona out of its system, it could take Stoke to the cleaners. Stoke failed to score against Manchester City in the reverse English Premier League fixture so one is keen on backing the Citizens to enhance their title prospects with a home win and a clean sheet at odds of 1.98 with BetVictor.

Finally, as one covered in the Rags To Riches article, there are grounds for opposing West Bromwich when it entertains a Fulham team under new management at The Hawthorns. Fulham’s incoming boss, Felix Magath, has a long history of improving sides in the short term even if he does tend to wear thin on players, administrators and fans within only a few months.

West Bromwich is an appalling odds-on favourite having won just one of its last 17 games across all competitions. Pepe Mel does not seem to have improved West Bromwich, which may be regretting sacking Steve Clarke. Magath’s Fulham is over the odds at 5.00 with Coral, based on the manager’s first-up numbers.

Magath has had nine individual spells in charge of teams, with six of those employment terms seeing the 60-year-old thrust into a full-blown crisis. Only once in those half a dozen jobs – Hamburg from 1995 to 1997, Nurnberg from 1997 to 1998, Bremen from 1998 to 1999, Frankfurt from 1999 to 2001, Stuttgart from 2001 to 2004 and Wolfsburg from 2011 to 2012 – did Magath’s new side lose their first match under his stewardship and, by and large, they went on decent unbeaten runs after his arrival in tough circumstances.

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