SCOUT REPORT: WOLVES
Club News22nd February
After two home games in quick succession, Cardiff City are back on the road as they take on Wolves in a Sunday afternoon kick-off (2.00pm).
Many would have predicted at the start of the season that Wolves would have been in and around the promotion mix, but this is far from the case. Due to last week's results, Dean Saunders’ men have dropped into the relegation places in the second tier for the first time since 1999.
Wolves currently lie in twenty-second position, two points from safety. They have won just four of their fourteen home games this season, and have not won at Mollineux since December 8th.
The Wanderers’ form has been poor to say the least, with no win in their last ten fixtures. They are joint bottom of the form tables with Millwall and Middlesbrough and Saunders is yet to win as Wolves manager.
Key Players: The standout player for Wolves this season has been Bakary Sako. He has managed seven league goals and is second in the championship assists table with ten. The twenty four year old has impressed since his summer move from St. Etienne and has been tipped to play at the highest level by his current manager.
The top scorer for the Midlands team is Sylvain Ebanks-Blake - a proven goal scorer at this level. He managed twenty-five goals last time Wolves played at this level back in 2008/09 and has got ten so far this campaign.
There have not been too many bright sparks for Wolverhampton Wanderers this season. But despite the results, Keeper Carl Ikeme has produced some great performances. He may need to produce another performance on Sunday as Cardiff are the league’s third top scoring team. He will have the help from former City favourite, Roger Johnson in the heart of the defence. Also leading appearance maker Stephen Ward could prove influential at left back.
Previous Meetings: Cardiff City and Wolverhampton Wanderers have met a total of fifty-one times since their first fixture back in 1920. Cardiff may have won that first match 2-1, but since then it is Wolves who have the superior head-to-head record. Wolves have totalled twenty-three victories compared to City’s fourteen. There have also been fourteen draws.
In recent years the record is a lot more even. The last ten encounters have seen four wins a piece and two ties. In that sequence of games falls the famous 2-0 home win for Cardiff on the way to the 2008 FA Cup final.
The games between the two sides have been relatively high scoring, with only three goalless draws in ninty-four years. This weekend's game is unlikely to match the fixture from 1955, where Wolves won 9-1 at Ninian Park.
Last Meeting: Cardiff City 3-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers (02/09/2012)
A Peter Whittingham hat-trick ensured City gained all three points after coming from behind to beat Wolves.
The visitors took the lead after ten minutes, when Bakary Sako opened the scoring with a superb low free kick. However, Cardiff were level within a minute after Whittingham scored from the penalty spot. Debutant Craig Noone had won the spot-kick after being brought down by Ronald Zubar.
Whittingham added a second only three minutes later when striking home from the edge of the area. He got his hat-trick twenty minutes into the second half after scoring from a beautifully struck and angled free kick.
Cardiff City Line-up: Marshall, McNaughton, Taylor, Hudson, Whittingham, Noone (Cowie), Mutch (Gunnarsson), Smith, Helguson, Maynard (Mason). Subs not used: Lewis, Nugent, Kim, Velikonja.
Wolverhampton Wanderers Line-up: Ikeme, Ward, Johnson, Berra, Zubar (Stearman), Edwards (Nouble), Peszko (Forde), Sako, Doumbia, Ebanks-Blake, Doyle. Subs not used: De Vries, Elokobi, Batth, Davis.