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31 March 2019 Venue Cardiff City Stadium Attendance

Kick off 14:05 (UK)

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Match Previews

Match Preview: Cardiff City vs. Chelsea

27 March 2019

The Bluebirds return to Premier League action after the international break on Sunday, March 31st, taking on Chelsea at Cardiff City Stadium with a 2:05pm kick-off…

The Opposition

Chelsea arrive in South Wales occupying sixth place, but are only three points outside of the Champions League places. Results for the Blues have not gone their way of late, drawing 1-1 with Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge before a 2-0 loss to Everton at Goodison Park in their previous two fixtures.

Maurizio Sarri’s team have performed well in the UEFA Europa League this season, and have a Quarter Final clash with Slavia Prague in mid-April. Chelsea also reached the Carabao Cup Final this season, but narrowly lost to Manchester City, 4-3 on penalties at Wembley.

As usual, Eden Hazard is one of the Blues’ star performers this season, with thirteen Premier League goals and eleven league assists to his name. Of the six players to have made the most passes in the Premier League this season, four play for Chelsea; Jorginho, Antonio Rüdiger, David Luiz and César Azpilicueta.

In the hot seat

Maurizio Sarri became Chelsea manager in July 2018, replacing fellow his countryman Antonio Conte. Sarri arrived at Chelsea following an impressive three-year spell with Napoli of Serie A, and signed a three-year contract at Stamford Bridge.

Sarri began his professional coaching career in 2005 with Pescara, having previously worked as a banker. He rose to prominence with Empoli in 2012, leading the club to the Serie B promotion play-offs. In his second season with the club, Sarri earned promotion to Serie A, and recorded a fifteenth placed finish with Empoli in 2014-15. The Italian replaced Rafael Benítez at Napoli in 2015, and finished as Serie A Runners-Up in his first season.

Despite the loss of Gonzalo Higuaín to Juventus, who has since re-joined Sarri on loan at Chelsea, Napoli continued to maintain Champions League football, finishing third and second in the following two seasons, which led to Sarri being named Serie A Coach of the Year in 2017. He left Naples last summer, with former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti replacing him.

Last time at CCS...

Cardiff City 1-2 Chelsea – 11th May 2014

Chelsea last visited CCS on the final day of the 2013-14 Premier League season, coming back from a goal down to earn a 2-1 victory against the Bluebirds.

City took the lead after fifteen minutes as a City effort deflected in off César Azpilicueta. The change of the ball's direction left goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer stranded, putting the Bluebirds ahead.

José Mourinho’s team hit back in the seventy-second minute, with Andre Schürrle scoring. Looking to make up for his earlier own goal, Azpilicueta saw a close-range header superbly saved by David Marshall, then nodded the rebound onto the crossbar. At the third attempt, current Fulham man Schürrle volleyed the ball into the ground, bouncing up into the net for an equaliser.

Chelsea completed their comeback three minutes later through Fernando Torres. Schürrle turned from scorer to provider, flicking the ball on towards Torres. The Spanish striker had cleverly stayed onside and proceeded to control the ball with his chest before calmly slotting home from close range, ending the contest with Chelsea taking the points.

Club Connections

Our #1, Neil Etheridge, began his career in the Chelsea Academy. Etheridge joined the Blues in 2003 and made the switch from striker to goalkeeper on the advice of a youth coach. The Philippines international moved across West London to Fulham in 2006 and joined the Bluebirds in 2017.

Chelsea legend Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink ended his playing career with City, spending the 2007-08 season at Ninian Park. A proven Premier League striker, Hasselbaink joined Chelsea in 2000 for a club-record £15million fee, winning the Golden Boot in his debut season at Stamford Bridge. The former Netherlands international became a Bluebird in 2007, and helped City reach the 2008 FA Cup Final, scoring a wonderful goal against Wolves in the Round of Sixteen.

Another man to have played for the Blues and the Bluebirds is Eddie Newton. Newton, who is currently Chelsea’s Loan Player Technical Coach, came through the club’s academy, and made his debut in 1992. Later that year, the midfielder joined the Bluebirds on loan, making eighteen appearances and scoring four goals for Eddie May’s side. Newton became a mainstay in the Chelsea side, making 214 appearances for the club. He was Assistant First Team Coach to Roberto di Matteo and helped the Blues to lift the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League in 2012.

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Match Reports

Match Report: Cardiff City 1-2 Chelsea

City fall to harsh late defeat against Chelsea at CCS...

31 March 2019

A late goal from Ruben Loftus-Cheek separated the Bluebirds and Chelsea at CCS on March 31st.

Neil Warnock’s starting lineup remained unchanged from the side that beat West Ham United earlier in the month.

Ross Barkley had Chelsea’s first chance of the match, running inside the box and having his shot blocked by City’s defence. Pedro’s shot from outside the area flew narrowly over the crossbar shortly afterwards.

Josh Murphy’s attempt on goal as the game approached the 15 minute mark nearly put the Bluebirds ahead. The winger linked up well with Aron Gunnarsson to take the ball into Chelsea’s box, and saw his curled effort go just wide of Kepa Arrizabalaga’s far post.

The hosts had pressed hard for the opening goal of the match, and almost found it following a period of play that resulted in Lee Peltier’s shot from range being stopped by Arrizabalaga. Minutes later, down the other end, Willian’s direct free kick curled wide after he was brought down outside the area.

A last-ditch tackle by Sean Morrison inside the area rounded off the first half, and the sides went into the interval goalless.

Víctor Camarasa broke the deadlock a minute after the break, with a wonderful effort. Harry Arter’s low cross into the box was met by the Spaniard, whose powerful volley towards goal caught Arrizabalaga off guard. The ball sailed gracefully past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

Defending the lead was the Bluebirds’ next challenge, as dangerous forward Eden Hazard was brought onto the pitch in the minutes following the opener. Though the Belgian international bolstered the visitors’ attack, City were not phased and continued their attacking play. Junior Hoilett made himself known as he took shots from distance; his confidence clearly showing.

The Bluebirds were strong throughout the match - but were pegged back with six minutes remaining. César Azpilicueta, clearly in an offside position, diverted the ball beyond Neil Etheridge. Despite the appeals of the home support, the goal was given.

A further moment of controversy came three minutes later as substitute Ken Zohore ran clear on goal. Antonio Rüdiger pulled the Danish striker to the floor as he looked to beat Kepa to the ball and net for the Bluebirds - with the referee awarding a free kick and yellow card, despite Rüdiger being the last man in defence.

Unfortunately for City, the bad luck didn't end there as Chelsea underservedly snatched all three points in added time. England international Ruben Loftus-Cheek headed the ball beyond Etheridge with 90+1 minutes on the clock. The stubborn Bluebirds fought hard to grab another chance in the seven minutes of added time, but were unable to find a second goal to secure a point.

FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 1-2 CHELSEA

Cardiff City: Etheridge, Peltier, Bennett, Morrison, Ecuele Manga, Arter (Ralls 79'), Murphy (Mendez-Laing 89'), Gunnarsson, Camarasa, Niasse (Zohore 84'), Hoilett. Subs not used: Murphy, Decordova-Reid, Bacuna, Harris.

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Rüdiger, Alonso, Jorginho (Loftus-Cheek 63'), Barkley, Higuaín (Giroud 76'), Pedro (Hazard 52'), Kovacic, Willian, Azpilicueta, Luiz. Subs not used: Caballero, Kanté, Hudson-Odoi, Christensen.

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