14 September 2018

Chelsea v. Cardiff Preview  (Sky Sports)

Eden HazardChelsea will bid to their keep their 100 per cent Premier League record intact when Cardiff City visit Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Chelsea are one of three Premier League teams to have registered four wins from four matches, alongside Liverpool and Watford.

Asked which teams are in title contention, boss Maurizio Sarri said: "At the moment I can answer Man City or Liverpool, at the moment.

"We need another step, I think, to be the same level.

"It's very difficult. The gap was 30 points at the beginning of the season."

Cardiff have picked up just two points from their opening four Premier League games and are one of five teams still without a win.

Things don't get much easier with this trip. In fact, Cardiff's only league win in the last 55 years against the Blues was at Stamford Bridge in 1981.

Cardiff manager Neil Warnock wants to sign Chelsea and Wales teenager Ethan Ampadu on loan in January.

Warnock says he will speak to Chelsea officials about the prospect of signing Ampadu on loan in the next transfer window.

Midfielder Ampadu, who celebrated his 18th birthday o Friday, shone for Wales against the Republic of Ireland and Denmark during the international break.

"I will be speaking to somebody at Chelsea about one or two things," Warnock said. "I think they should loan him (Ampadu) to us and I could help him as well.

"He doesn't look out of place. What I like about him is that he is so confident."

Team news

Maurizio Sarri will make a late decision on the fitness of players who returned from international duty. Cesc Fabregas is returning to full fitness but won't be ready to play this weekend.

Emerson Palmieri, Davide Zappacosta and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have had knocks which could see them miss out.

Cardiff City's Josh Murphy (hamstring) and Aron Gunnarsson (knee) are back in the squad for the trip to Stamford Bridge. However, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing remains a few weeks away from returning with a knee injury.

Opta stats

Chelsea have won 10 of their last 12 league meetings with Cardiff (D1 L1), including both previous Premier League meetings in the 2013-14 campaign.

Chelsea have lost just one of their last 51 home Premier League games against newly-promoted opposition (W42 D8 L1), with that defeat coming against Bournemouth in December 2015.

Cardiff are winless in six matches in all competitions (W0 D3 L3), their worst run under Warnock; they last went on a longer run without victory between January and February 2015 (eight games).

Chelsea have won each of their opening four Premier League games to a season for the sixth time (also 2004-05, 2005-06, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2014-15), at least twice more than any other side in the competition's history.

Warnock is without a win in 10 Premier League games (W0 D5 L5) - he has never gone 11 consecutive Premier League matches without victory.

Maurizio Sarri could become the fourth manager in Premier League history to win his first five games in the competition after Carlo Ancelotti (6), Pep Guardiola (6) and Craig Shakespeare (5).

Chelsea attacker Pedro, who could make his 100th Premier League appearance in this match, has scored three goals his last four league games, as many as in his previous 26 combined.

Since the start of the 2016-17 season, Chelsea's Marcos Alonso has been directly involved in more league goals than any other defender in Europe's big five leagues (14 goals, 7 assists).

Merson's prediction

Cardiff will cause problems from set-pieces but will they get enough of the ball? Chelsea have been excellent going forward. Cardiff will not be able to live with Eden Hazard - he's just so good.


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