Match Previews

All you need to know ahead of City's trip to Villa Park

Aston Villa v Cardiff City
Venue: Villa Park
Date: Saturday, 9th November, KO 3pm
Nav it: B6 6HE
Match-tag:#AVLCAR (Live tweets on @CardiffCityFC)

The Bluebirds travel to Aston Villa and Villa Park on Saturday for a first league meeting between the two sides since 1975.


- This will be the first meeting between the two teams in the Barclays Premier League.
- Aston Villa have gone six hours and 15 minutes without scoring a goal in the Premier League.
- Cardiff have only conceded eight goals in five away league games this season, the same amount as Man Utd (8) and fewer than Man City (9).
- There have been only four goals in Aston Villa’s last four Premier League games.
- Villa have hit a higher proportion of long passes than any other side this season (16%).
- Cardiff have conceded fewer fouls than any other top-flight team this season (87).
- Villa have opened the scoring in a league-low one game this season.

KEY PLAYER: Christian Benteke

Villa’s Belgian striker has emerged as the key man upfront once again this season having picked up five goals, including an impressive brace that saw Villa to a promising opening day victory over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

A hip injury, picked up in Villa’s 1-0 win at Norwich in September, ruled the Belgian International out for most of October, returning as a substitute in their 2-0 defeat to Spurs later that month. Now stepping up his match fitness, Benteke will look to get back on the same tracks that saw him score 26 goals in all competitions for Villa in his debut campaign last year.

IN-FORM PLAYER: Fabian Delph

Said by many to be enjoying his best season at Villa Park since arriving from Leeds United in 2009, Delph has continued a good run of form that saw him shrug off his injury troubles to impress towards the end of last season.

Running and driving the Villa midfield this campaign, Delph has gained widespread praise for his performances with Paul Lambert’s side noticeably missing the former Leeds man last time out in a 0-0 draw at West Ham.


Cardiff City: LWLLDW
Last time out: Cardiff City 1-0 Swansea City – Sunday, 9th November, Barclays Premier League.

Steven Caulker’s second-half header sent Cardiff City Stadium into delirium last Sunday as the Bluebirds claimed a memorable South Wales Derby victory, the first to be played in the Barclays Premier League.

An even first-half made way for a more open second period in which Cardiff piled on the pressure. Caulker’s header just after the hour putting the Bluebirds in command before the Swans saw ‘keeper Michel Vorm dismissed and Angel Rangel taking on the goalkeepers’ gloves for the final moments.

Team – Cardiff City: Marshall, Théophile-Catherine, Taylor, Medel (Kim, 88), Caulker, Turner, Cowie, Mutch (Gunnarsson, 54), Odemwingie (Campbell, 75), Whittingham, Bellamy. Subs not used: Lewis, Hudson, Noone, Maynard, Lewis.

Aston Villa:  LWDLLD
Last time out: West Ham United 0-0 Aston Villa – Saturday, 2nd November, Barclays Premier League.

Villa continued their impressive away record this season with a 0-0 draw and valuable point at Upton Park. Benteke came the closest for the Villains as he headed a Matt Lowton cross onto the crossbar from close range.

Team – Aston Villa: Guzan, Vlaar, Baker, Clark, El Ahmadi, Westwood, Lowton, Bacuna, Sylla, Benteke, Weimann (Kozak, 57). Subs not used: Steer, Herd, Bowery, Tonev, Johnson, Helenius.


2009-10: Wednesday, 23rd September 2009, League Cup third round – Aston Villa 1-0 Cardiff City

Our last visit to Villa Park came just four years ago, on 23rd September 2009 in the third round of the Carling (League) Cup. Gaby Agbonlahor scored after just three minutes, but the Bluebirds were denied an equaliser when Jay Bothroyd's late effort was ruled out for offside.

Cardiff line-up: Enckelman, Gerrard, Gyepes, Burke, Scimeca (Chopra, 60), Whittingham, Ledley, Rae (Wildig 89), Matthews, Capaldi, Bothroyd. Subs not used: Magennis, Quinn, Marshall, Hudson, Comminges.

REFEREE: Martin Atkinson

Martin Atkinson began his professional refereeing career at just 16 years of age and has risen through the ranks to become one of the most well respected officials in the Premier League.

After starting in local leagues, he advanced to the Football League’s list of assistant referees in 1998. Promotions quickly followed and he was refereeing Conference matches by 2002.

Atkinson had been an assistant referee in the Premier League between 2000 and 2003, but his first taste of refereeing in the top flight came when he was in the middle for Manchester City’s clash with Birmingham City in 2005.

He has been a permanent fixture in the Premier League ever since and, after refereeing the 2006 FA Community Shield and 2008 FA Trophy Final, his most notable moment in English football came when he took charge of the 2011 FA Cup Final between Manchester City and Stoke City.