Mark Lawrenson has been looking ahead to Saturday’s early Premier League kick-off in Wales.
A match which even this early in the season looks to be a huge game in terms of giving one of the clubs a massive lift and crucial momentum.
Both teams started with defeats and will be looking for a lift in their second match of the season.
Mark Lawrenson points to past friction between the managers, Rafa playing a weakened losing team against Fulham ahead of their Champions League final appearance in 2007, which helped send Warnock and Sheffield down into the Championship.
However, this ignores the fact that they (kind of) kissed and made up two seasons ago, when Newcastle beat Cardiff home and away on the way to promotion back to the top tier.
Personally, I think Newcastle have to go all out for the victory, as if they sit back and let Cardiff take the lead and then win, they could very well end up with no points after five games, with Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal following the Cardiff match.
Mark Lawrenson though thinks Newcastle will be ok this season whatever happens on Saturday, whilst with Cardiff he thinks it is a ‘different story.’
The BBC Sport pundit talks of the obvious gulf between ‘Championship and the Premier League’ but when you have an owner such as Mike Ashley who sits back and lets even Cardiff have a £50m higher net spend than Newcastle, it invites that gap to rapidly close.
Lawrenson predicts a 1-1 draw but I have a feeling that both managers will hope/expect nothing less than a win if it is going to give them some kind of platform for the coming weeks and months of hopeful survival.
Mark Lawrenson speaking to BBC Sport:
“I thought Cardiff would put up a little bit more resistance than they did in their defeat at Bournemouth on the opening weekend.
“But what happened there has probably given them an indication of the gulf between the Championship and the Premier League.
“I would expect Neil Warnock’s side to make things a lot more difficult for Newcastle in their first home game back in the top flight, though.
“And the Bluebirds fans will play a part too – they have to, because Cardiff’s home form is going to play a huge role in their survival fight.
“I cannot see many goals in this, but the dynamic between the two managers is going to be great to watch, because Warnock and Magpies boss Rafael Benitez have a bit of history.
“Newcastle also lost their first game of the season, at home to Tottenham, but they put in a decent performance and I don’t see them (Newcastle) struggling this season. Cardiff are a different story, though.
“Prediction is Cardiff 1 Newcastle 1.”
Cardiff v Newcastle Match Betting:
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