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FPL First Look: Cardiff City

Monday, July 9, 2018


With the demise of one Welsh side, another rises to replace them as the Bluebirds secured automatic promotion from the Championship to return to the Premier League for the first time since the 2013/14 season. But while Cardiff flew high in the Championship due to having the best defensive record in the division (along with Wolverhampton), a shoestring budget and a reliance on loanees could leave them behind their promoted peers.

 

Cardiff City secured promotion behind their stout defense and tactical wizardry from Neil Warnock but a lot of their Premier League fate is up to the will of other clubs. Cardiff won't have as much to spend as Wolverhampton or Fulham but priority number one will be finding out what Liverpool is doing with Marco Grujic. Outside of Junior Hoilett who’s listed at 5.5m, Grujic was the best player on the Bluebirds. While he only scored one goal during his loan spell, his presence in the midfield helped orchestrate the attack for Cardiff. Neil Warnock will hope that recent midfield transfers to Liverpool will make him obtainable but only time will tell on that.

 

Josh Murphy is one of the bigger additions to the team as the winger had a hand in 10 goals in the Championship for Norwich but where he fits into the Premier League plans for the team remains to be seen. Murphy won’t overtake Hoilett but

 

The only real transfer link to Cardiff has been Salomon Rondon of relegated West Bromwich Albion but he looks likely to join Newcastle United. With the Bluebirds struggling for production at the forward position it’s a move that would make sense for both sides but it will come down to price tag as Cardiff will not win a transfer war against most teams.

 

Looking at their fantasy prospects is an interesting conundrum considering that one, this team had issues scoring:

 

 

And that their opening schedule is brutal as Cardiff will face Bournemouth, Newcastle, Huddersfield, Arsenal, and Chelsea in their first five games. In draft leagues, this doesn’t matter as much as you’d want to get defenders and assets like Hoilett in the later rounds but in OFPL,

 

Keepers corner:

 

New signing Alex Smithies will have every shot to win the job from incumbent Neil Etheridge which is a situation that bears watching during the early going of the Premier League season. With both at 4.5m in FPL, it’s not like you’ll be saving any money by going with one over the other but when you eventually play you bench boost, it’s always good to have two playing keepers. Also, with the clean sheet potential in this squad, there are weeks when Cardiff’s starting keeper is a good stand-in for when your first choice keeper may have a tough matchup.

 

Draft Outlook:

 

Greg Cunningham, Left Back

 

As a late-round flier, Cunningham could have value to draft sides as the defense is expected to be stout. While he only had two assists in 20 appearances for Preston, assists don't translate well from the Championship to the Premier League. Playing on the counter, if he wins the starting job, he'll be able to pinch a few assists on long balls while also locking down clean sheets verus bottom half sides.

 

Bobby Reid, Forward

 

After scoring 19 times for Bristol City before being purchased by Cardiff, the Bluebirds will hope that some of that goalscoring translates to the top flight. A threat on the counter, Reid will fit into the Cardiff style to bunker and attempt to hit teams on the break. Considering that FPL relevant forwards only go about 10 deep before experiencing a major drop off, Reid could be very useful in deeper draft leagues.

 

FPL Outlook:

 

Sean Morrison, Center Back, 5.0m

 

At 5 million, Morrison is a budget option who’s a threat to score on every set piece for Cardiff. After scoring seven goals and grabbing another assist in the Championship, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him punch another three into the back of the net. Cardiff was also the joint best defense in the Championship and while the Premier League is a different beast, Neil Warnock sides thrive on set pieces and that translates no matter what league you're in.

 

Junior Hoilett, Midfielder 5.5m

 

Considering Hoiett’s time with QPR, I’d like to see him play a few games before considering putting him into my FPL side but at 5.5m and after he had a hand in 20 goals or 29% of all of the goals that Cardiff scored, Hoilett will have a hand in any goals that Cardiff scores in the upcoming year. He has speed, Premier League experience and a dangerous final ball so the only question will be if he can keep up his Championship finishing rates and if any forwards will be able to connect to his passes.

 

Calum Paterson, Midfielder  5.5m

 

Paterson was the only member of Cardiff City to net double-digit goals in the Championship but he may lose out on playing time to Murphy moving forward. This is just a squad that’s so thin on FPL options that anyone with an eye for goal should be considered.

 

At the moment, Cardiff City is one of the favorites to be relegated from the Premier League in this upcoming season but through a stout defense and by taking advantage of set pieces, they may be able to avoid the drop. Neil Warnock will need to channel his inner Sean Dyche but clubs on shoestring budgets are staying up more often than ever now. The margin for error is thin in Wales, but there is a chance that the Bluebirds end the season above the line and even if they don’t, they could have useful defenders like Middlesborough when they were relegated.




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