Cardiff City are one of two clubs with a Double Gameweek 34 but, like those backing Brighton and Hove Albion assets, any Fantasy managers investing in the Bluebirds’ players would have been left disappointed by their initial returns on Saturday.
Burnley all but ensured their Premier League safety with a 2-0 win over Neil Warnock’s side, who now face the Seagulls at the Amex on Tuesday night.
We run the rule over the Welsh side’s performance and look ahead to their trip to Sussex in the Scout Notes article below.
Burnley 2-0 Cardiff City
- Goals: Chris Wood (£6.3m) x2
- Assist: Dwight McNeil (£4.4m)
While owners of Glenn Murray (£6.3m) et al would have been left crushed by Brighton’s abysmal display against Bournemouth on Saturday, there were encouraging signs in Lancashire that the second game in the Seagulls’ Gameweek 34 double-header could prove more fruitful by way of FPL returns.
Cardiff visit the south coast on Tuesday night having conceded six big chances to Burnley at the weekend, with only Watford allowing more gilt-edged opportunities when Premier League sides are filtered by their last six matches.
More pertinently for those Fantasy managers who own the likes of Murray and Shane Duffy (£4.8m), the Bluebirds are looking particularly suspect in the air.
Eight of Burnley’s 14 chances were headers on Saturday, meaning Cardiff have now conceded more headed opportunities than any other top-flight club when filtered by their last half-dozen games.
No Premier League team has allowed more attempts from set plays in that time, either.
Both of Chris Wood‘s (£6.3m) goals were headers, the first coming from a Dwight McNeil (£4.4m) corner after half an hour.
Wood then doubled Burnley’s lead in stoppage time when another McNeil cross bobbled up into his path via touches from Bruno Ecuele Manga (£4.4m) and Neil Etheridge (£4.7m).
There were other chances from dead-ball situations, too, with Wood hitting the post in the first half before Ben Mee (£4.6m) tested Etheridge with a 76th-minute header.
The below graphic shows where Burnley’s chances came from; all eight around the six-yard box were headed opportunities.
Even from open play the chances came, with Ashley Westwood (£4.6m) spurning two excellent one-on-one opportunities and Ashley Barnes (£5.7m) unable to convert when attempting to round Etheridge.
The fact that Cardiff pretty much have to beat Brighton on Tuesday in order to keep their survival hopes realistically alive would certainly seem to bode well for an open game and Warnock’s side were not without their chances either.
Harry Arter‘s (£4.9m) curling effort clipped the top of Tom Heaton‘s (£4.8m) crossbar and Junior Hoilett (£5.0m) ballooned a presentable chance over in the second half, while Cardiff had three penalty shouts after the interval – one of which was actually awarded as a spot-kick before Mike Dean overturned the decision.
We can perhaps expect to see Oumar Niasse (£5.0m) back up front in midweek after Kenneth Zohore (£4.6m) flopped on a rare start, while Victor Camarasa (£4.5m) was the not as effective as part of a midfield three rather than a “number ten” and didn’t register a single shot or indeed touch in the Burnley box.
As Cardiff’s penalty-taker, of course, Camarasa would have had the chance to register his third goal in five matches had Dean not made a U-turn on the aforementioned spot-kick award.
Warnock was understandably incensed by the decision:
My lads should surround the referee really, they should get round him; [Burnley] had three lads in his ear straight away.
Can I say I’m lost for words? The linesman gave it, the fourth official told me Mike [Dean] didn’t see it and yet Mike must have seen something because he’s gone over and told the linesman that it’s hit a part of his body so it can’t be handball.
It’s baffling really. I’m so gutted for my players. I thought Darren [Cann] made the right decision but I think Mike has talked him out of it.
Warnock paid tribute to his players though for their second-half effort, saying:
I thought the lads were super, especially in the second half and our fans were also fantastic. They’re a great bunch and I can’t fault any of them, but we were punished and it’s hard playing Burnley when they’re 1-0 up because it’s difficult to get into the flow.
At half-time, I told the lads that we can play better than we had and if we moved the ball quicker and got into their box – we could win the match, but it’s frustrating when one thing after another goes against you.
Dyche, meanwhile, lauded his own team:
I think in the first half we were really good, the game should have been done. We had a brilliant chance from Woody when he hits the post, a good goal from Woody and Westy has two one v ones.
And then in the second half, credit to Cardiff they threw caution to the wind and almost went 2-4-4 and got the ball forward earlier.
The ball was coming in from everywhere and I thought the resilience of the team was important because they had the upper hand without a doubt.
Then we just started to slow it down and turn the tide slightly in our favour and then saw the game out as we have done many, many times.
Despite the excellent FPL form of McNeil and Wood, Burnley’s assets will likely be in short demand given that they face Chelsea, Man City, Everton and Arsenal in their remaining four fixtures.
The Burnley boss hailed McNeil’s latest contribution, adding:
Fantastic, he’s a real talent. His calmness at the end [for Wood’s second goal] to cross it into a dangerous area, his calmness before that to dribble out of trouble. He’s a really good player and he can only mature. I’m pleased for him, for the work he puts in.
On Wood, Dyche said:
There’s other parts of his game today weren’t as good as he can be but two goals, you want strikers scoring, him and Barnesy have been scoring. Really pleased with them.
Dyche also confirmed that he thinks Phil Bardsley (£4.2m) “will be right this week” after missing his second successive game with a gashed leg.
Burnley XI (4-4-2): Heaton; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Hendrick, Westwood, Cork, McNeil; Barnes, Wood.
Cardiff City XI (4-3-3): Etheridge; Peltier, Morrison, Manga, Bennett; Gunnarsson, Arter (Reid 80′), Camarasa; Hoilett (Mendez-Laing 73′), Murphy, Zohore (Niasse 78′).