Rhodes To Start From Where He Left Off
Blackburn v Cardiff
The opening game of the new English Championship season, Blackburn v Cardiff, gets underway at Ewood Park at 7:45 on Friday evening.
Blackburn finished the 2013/14 Championship season just two points off a play-off spot following a run of 12 matches unbeaten. Rovers have also remained unbeaten in pre-season this campaign having most recently drawn 1-1 at home to Stoke.
Jordan Rhodes concluded the 2013/14 campaign with a goal in the 4-3 win over Wigan, and has scored in each of the two most recent friendly fixtures.
Cardiff’s relegation to the Championship was confirmed by three straight defeats and a run of just one win in nine at the end of the 2013/14 Premier League campaign. This pre-season has produced a mixed bag with an encouraging 3-3 draw against Wolfsburg preceded by wins over Yeovil and 1860 Munich but also a defeat to Austrian side Amkar Perm.
Last season’s poor form can be attributed in large part to a leaky defence that kept just one clean sheet in the final 13 games and conceded 22 goals in the last eight.
Luke Varney and Chris Brown have joined Rovers on free transfers this summer, while Leon Best has recently moved to Derby on a season-long loan deal. Ruben Rochina has also recently completed a move away from the club and Rudy Gestede is a doubt after missing the final three pre-season games through illness.
Adam Le Fondre has been Cardiff’s biggest outlay this summer, joining the club for a fee in the region of £2million from Reading. Steven Caulker (QPR), Jordan Mutch (QPR) and Fraizer Campbell (Crystal Palace) have all left the club.
Cardiff were dominant in both home and away games when the two sides last met in the 2012/13 Championship season. The Bluebirds won 3-0 at the Cardiff City Stadium and 4-1 at Ewood Park. Blackburn haven’t beaten Cardiff in a league fixture since 1985, but did get the better of the Welsh side in an FA Cup replay back in 2005.
Blackburn are made favourites to kick off the season with a win and can be backed at odds of 7/5 in the Match Odds market. Cardiff are priced at 19/10 and the draw is a 23/10 chance. Taking home advantage and the way that both sides finished last season into consideration, the value looks to lie with backing a home win. A more conservative Draw No Bet punt on Blackburn returns at odds of 8/11.
Jordan Rhodes is Rovers’ danger man and can be backed at odds of 4/1 to score first or 11/10 to net anytime. Goals in general should be expected and Over 2.5 is priced at an appealing Evens.