Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign has not invigorated Cardiff City in the way that owner Vincent Tan would have hoped when he employed the ex-Manchester United striker at the beginning of 2014. Cardiff have taken only eight points from 12 matches under Solskjaer, and go into this fixture three points from safety, having played one game more than a number of different teams around them in the table, including Saturday’s opponents. In addition, only Fulham have a worse goal difference than Cardiff, though the Bluebirds can take confidence from Mats Moller Daehli's last-gasp equaliser against West Bromwich Albion last weekend.
Craig Noone has described Saturday’s match against Crystal Palace as “massive”. He is right - Cardiff have the worst away record in the Premier League, accumulating seven points on their travels. That in turn puts great pressure on securing results at home, and a win against Palace would reduce the gap between the sides to two points.
Tony Pulis’ men secured a valuable boost to their own survival hopes with a 1-0 win at home to Chelsea last week. Palace have struggled on the road - they haven’t won away since Boxing Day, but victory on Saturday could see them go eight points clear of the relegation zone.
Form has improved under Pulis - no side outside the top eight have conceded less goals than Palace, who have kept two clean sheets in their last three games. That defensive stability could be key at the weekend, especially taking into account that Cardiff have scored just 29 goals in 32 league games.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS:
Crystal Palace 2 (Jerome, Chamakh) Cardiff City 0, Premier League, December 2013
Cardiff 2 (Noone, Gunnarsson) Crystal Palace 1 (Jedinak), Championship, December 2012
Crystal Palace 3 (Murray 3) Cardiff 2 (Gunnarsson, Cowie), Championship, September 2012
Cardiff have lost eight of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first 12 games in charge - taking just eight points
Crystal Palace have not won away from home in the league since Boxing Day 2013
Palace’s last win at Cardiff came in April 2004. They haven’t won in nine attempts since
The last player to score a hat-trick in this fixture was Palace striker Glenn Murray, in September 2012
Cardiff City to win: 2.30
Crystal Palace to win: 3.10
Cardiff City 1-0 Crystal Palace (Cardiff win 3-1 on penalties), January 2012
Tom Heaton proved the hero as Cardiff progressed to the League Cup final after beating Crystal Palace on penalties at Cardiff City Stadium.
Anthony Gardner had given the visitors a one-goal advantage going into the return semi-final, but the defender put through his own net to level the tie early on in South Wales.
The teams couldn’t be separated after extra time and it was left to Heaton to secure Cardiff’s place at Wembley, saving Jermaine Easter and Sean Scannell’s spot kicks before Jonathan Parr missed the target.
Cardiff went on to lose the final against Liverpool after another penalty shoot-out.
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