Leeds vs Cardiff predictions: Marsch’s men can see off struggling Bluebirds
- Leeds have been playing better than results suggest and are strong at Elland Road
- Cardiff are struggling and sacked manager Mark Hudson last weekend
- Recommended bet: Leeds to win to nil
Leeds had to come back from 2-0 down to rescue an FA Cup replay when these two sides met in south Wales and Jesse Marsch’s men will be desperate to make life easier for themselves back on home soil.
Cardiff were devastated to get pegged back to 2-2 three minutes into added time and understandably so, as for 93 minutes it looked like fate was on their side.
Cardiff started superbly, scoring two excellent first-half goals, and appeared to be standing up to late Leeds pressure despite being reduced to ten men — youngster Joel Bagan was sent off for punching the ball off the line but Rodrigo failed to convert the subsequent penalty.
But Sonny Perkins’ 93rd-minute equaliser seems to have swung the momentum decisively in Leeds’ favour and a demanding Elland Road fanbase will not allow their team to start so ponderously in the replay to give their Championship visitors another unexpected head-start.
Leeds manager Jesse Marsch made seven changes for the trip to Cardiff but is likely to add a few more first-team names to ensure safe passage into the fourth round.
However, winger Crysencio Summerville will miss out after picking up an ankle injury in Wales and is likely to be joined on the sidelines by midfieder Adam Forshaw, who has a hip problem.
Long-term injury absentees Stuart Dallas and Archie Gray remain unavailable and winger Luis Sinisterra is still a couple of weeks off returning from a foot injury.
New signing Georginio Rutter is ineligible as he was not registered in time for the initial FA Cup fixture.
Cardiff manager Mark Hudson was sacked at the weekend following a poor start to the season.
Hudson made eight changes against Leeds and interim replacement Dean Whitehead may rest a similar number of players for a match that may now be seen as a distraction from Cardiff’s Championship relegation scrap.
The Bluebirds will not be able to call upon left-back Niels Nkounkou, who returned to parent club Everton last week, while fellow left-back Jamilu Collins is out until April with an ACL tear and right-back Mahlon Romeo is unavailable with a hamstring strain.
Striker Kion Etete returned from injury last weekend to play 45 minutes against Wigan, while Cedric Kipre and Callum Robinson both came back into the fold following illness. Gavin Whyte remains a slight doubt but Joel Bagan returns from his one-match suspension.
Cardiff sit 21st in the Championship and will slip into the relegation places if 22nd-placed Huddersfield win their game in hand.
The Bluebirds have not won any of their last nine matches, drawing six but failing to score in four of their last six away games.
Indeed, over the course of the season only Rotherham have scored fewer away goals in the second tier than Cardiff’s total of 10, while nine of the Bluebirds’ 14 road trips have ended in defeat.
Leeds are winless in their last seven games but only two of those have been played at Elland Road and Marsch was right to praise his team’s performance in defeat at Aston Villa last weekend — the Whites were the better side but were unlucky, as was suggested by their expected goals rating of 2.4 to Villa’s 1.2.
At Elland Road, Leeds’ only defeats in 10 home games this season have come against visitors currently in the top six of the Premier League — they have beaten Chelsea and were hugely unlucky to lose to Arsenal.
Cardiff seem to have missed their chance of progressing and Whitehead may well decide that the FA Cup is a distraction that his relegation-battling team could do without.
Leeds remain winless since returning from the World Cup break but three of those five matches were draws and while Manchester City deservedly beat them, Marsch’s men were very unlucky not to get anything from their trip to Aston Villa last weekend.
Despite the run of disappointing results, Leeds’ performances have been good and Marsch will see this replay as a chance to get a few goals and build confidence against a struggling and likely weakened Cardiff side.
A stronger line-up can again net a few goals against a struggling Bluebirds team, so adding over two Leeds goals at odds-against to Bet Builders looks a decent approach.
However, Marsch will also be hoping for a solid defensive display to build confidence and against a shot-shy Cardiff side his team should claim a rare clean sheet — back Leeds to win to zero, available at 10/11 with LiveScore Bet.