Goals on the menu as Cardiff look to carve Crystal Palace open
Palace mind games may backfire as badly as an Arsene Wenger sub
Domestic cup football is often viewed as the Steve Cotterill to the Champions League’s Brian Clough, but Whiteboard is genuinely as excited as Harry Redknapp on transfer deadline day about what this midweek has to offer.
There are Carling Cup semi-finals in England, the prospect of a Pepe-free Clasico in Spain and a quite majestic Juventus v Roma, Napoli v Inter and AC Milan v Lazio triple-header spread over the week in Italy.
Cardiff v Crystal Palace won’t prompt quite as severe salivation, but it’s a perfectly pleasant starter to stir appetites in preparation for the meaty main dishes to be wafted in front of our noses later this week, and more importantly another chance to make some money.
The best bet is perhaps the Cardiff win at 8/11, given that the last six Carling Cup semi-final second legs have been won by the hosts, while the Welsh club have claimed eight victories in nine at home.
However, sensing a hunger for slightly juicier odds, why not feast on the 16/5 ready to be devoured on Betfair on over 3.5 goals, a feature of Cardiff’s last three home games, during which they have scored eight.
The Bluebirds are going to want to punish Dougie Freedman for his misguided tongue-poke at all the times that they have screwed up in big-match situations, and what better way to make him look like an idiot than by blasting his team out of the competition.
And Freedman’s “one of the hardest things to do in football is to come from behind in a semi-final” claim hints that someone taped over his recording of last season’s two-leggers.
Sadly for this contributor, the memories of one of those are as planted as firmly into in his mind as Aston Villa are in mid-table mediocrity.
Freedman could endure as miserable an evening as poor Avram Grant did then, and his side too have every chance of scoring to sharpen the pain, having done so in 10 of their last 12 games.