If Cardiff City are to stay up this season they need to win games such as this Saturday’s, where the Bluebirds welcome Newcastle United to the Welsh capital.
Malky Mackay’s men have already impressed football betting fans, beating Manchester City and Fulham while being just seconds away from a credible draw with Spurs, and have a comfortable early cushion on the relegation zone.
However, as we saw with Blackpool in 2010/11, a good start does not guarantee survival and teams in fear of relegation must maintain form throughout the campaign.
Of course, beating your near rivals – Hull, Palace and Fulham in this case – is a must but Cardiff also need to make their home a fortress to mid-ranked opposition. Against out-of-favour Newcastle, the betting odds on Betfair.com suggest they will claim three points.
This is the sort of fixture you need to win to survive and Mackay knows it. Having eased past Fulham in injury time last weekend, the boss may change things around and expect Craig Bellamy to return to the staring XI.
Bellamy’s role against Newcastle’s robust centre-halves will prove the deciding point of this game. Should the Welshman get in behind then both Peter Wittingham and Aron Gunnarsson will find him, which is why he’s such a good price on Betfair to score against his former club.
There are more strings to this Cardiff bow, however, and Mackay may well reward Jordan Mutch for his winner last weekend with a deserved first league start of the campaign.
Of course, Newcastle are a threat – proven in their second-half performance at Goodison Park on Monday – but Alan Pardew’s defence switches off far too often and that will give Cardiff plenty of opportunity to find the net.