Albion travel to south Wales on Tuesday evening looking for their first win in Cardiff for almost 47 years. Having got back to winning ways against QPR on Friday evening, victory at the City of Cardiff Stadium would put the Baggies back on top of the table, at least until Bournemouth play at Peterborough United on Wednesday. Furthermore, should Ismaël’s team avoid defeat, it will set a new club record of ten games unbeaten from the start of a league campaign.
Given the Bluebirds’ recent results, there may not be a better time to play them. They have registered just one league win at home this season, over Millwall five weeks ago, and since then they have lost four out of their next five league games with their only victory in that run being away to struggling Nottingham Forest. Bristol City and Bournemouth have left Cardiff with all three points while City’s last game saw them thumped 5-1 away to Blackburn Rovers.
Albion should approach the game with confidence given their opponent’s recent form and their own return to winning ways. The performance against QPR was very encouraging even though it took two late goals to secure the three points. Mick McCarthy has admitted that he is struggling to understand why his team are playing so poorly given that he has the nucleus of the side that finished in 5th place last season.
We could see Kean Bryan get his first start – he looked comfortable when he came on against QPR and, with Keiffer Moore up front for the hosts, I’d prefer to see a natural centre back in the back three rather than a converted wing back. The selection up front is likely to be partly driven by how well each player has recovered from Friday’s match, but it would seem sure that Grant will start given that his tail will be up after his brace.
There should be no complacency from Ismaël’s side, but if they play as well as they did against QPR, three points should be well within their grasp.
Albion have won 21 of the 50 league meetings with Cardiff City but recent trips to the Welsh capital have not been too successful. The Baggies last win in Cardiff was almost 50 years ago in October 1974 although there have only been six meetings on Welsh soil since then, four of which have been drawn.
The Bluebirds have won the last two meetings at their new stadium with Albion’s first visit in Februay 2010 finishing 1-1 when Gianni Zuiverloon equalising Peter Whittingham’s opener from the spot.
The Baggies biggest ever win at Cardiff came in April 1948 when Jack Haines and Arthur Taylor both notched doubles while a fifth Albion goal was scored by Arthur Rowley, one of only four he scored for the Baggies in the league before moving to Fulham and ending up as the Football League’s all time record goalscorer – Albion won 5-0. City’s biggest home win over Albion is 3-0, a result they achieved twice in the 1920s.
All competitions; most recent game on the right
28 Jan 2020 – League Championship
Cardiff City 2 (Paterson, Tomlin)
West Brom 1 (Austin (pen))
5 Oct 2019 – League Championship
West Brom 4 (Pereira, Diangana, Austin, Sawyers)
Cardiff City 2 (Ward (2))
Last win at Cardiff City
12 Oct 1974 – League Division 2
Cardiff City 0
West Brom 2 (Mayo, Donaghy)
Albion’s Record against Cardiff City