Blackburn Rovers V Cardiff City
Friday 8th August. 7:45PM. Sky Sports 1
The 2014/15 English football season finally gets underway tonight as Championship side Blackburn Rovers welcome newly relegated Cardiff to Ewood Park.
Last season was a hugely entertaining Championship campaign and fans will be hoping for much of the same in the coming months, starting with Friday night’s curtain-raiser.
The added buzz of opening night, combined with the wealth of attacking talent on display, means we could be in for a classic.
Blackburn Looking To Build On Successful 2013/14
They may have endured some uncertain spells throughout the campaign but Gary Bowyer’s Rovers finished in a very respectable 8th place. With just two separating them from the play-offs, Blackburn will be looking to go one better in 2014/15 by securing a place in the top six.
The one thing Rovers can count on is goals from their star striker. Scotland international Jordan Rhodes hit 25 goals in 2013/14 and, fitness permitting, will be one of the division’s most prolific men once more this term.
With the likes of Rudy Gestede, Ruben Rochina and Luke Varney all in support, the Rovers should score plenty of goals this season. The Lancashire side hit 11 goals in their final three matches alone in 2013/14 and will be determined to pick up from where they left off against Cardiff.
Blackburn would have preferred easier opposition as they look to get their season off to a flyer. Nevertheless, they can be confident at Ewood Park and we could an attack-minded approach as they look to punish Cardiff on their return from the Premier League.
Bluebirds To Soar At Ewood Park?
After starting their maiden voyage in the Premier League in such impressive fashion under previous boss Malky MacKay, Cardiff became victims to the circus initiated by owner Vincent Tan. The madcap Malaysian must refrain from interfering in 2014/15 if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is to lead them back to the top flight.
Cardiff will be amongst the pre-season favourites and will be expected to enjoy a decent campaign. They already boasted a number of quality stars for this level and the added firepower of summer signing Adam Le Fondre should help the cause. With the likes of Nicky Maynard, Kiko Macheda and Kenwyne Jones still on their books, goals should not be a problem for the Bluebirds this term.
The first task for Solskjaer will be rebuilding morale and a successful pre-season will have gone some way to repairing the damage of last year. An opening night win at Ewood Park would go a long way in their quest for instant redemption.
Cardiff only need look back at their last Championship campaign for inspiration. In addition to lifting the 2012/13 title, the Bluebirds won both head-to-head meetings against Blackburn in style. The visitors won 4-1 in the corresponding fixture two years ago and followed that with an equally impressive 3-0 triumph back in Wales. The personnel may have changed, but the Welshman can definitely take heart from those past victories.
Blackburn Rovers V Cardiff City Betting
Both these teams have genuine hopes of enjoying big seasons in 2014/15 and attack will be the focus for each manager, starting with this opening clash.
The wealth of attacking talent on show should be a recipe for goals in this one and we’re backing both teams to score at some stage during proceedings.
With the huge potential of goals in mind, we’re also predicting that Jordan Rhodes will not only enjoy a fantastic opening fixture but will additionally go on to have another superb season at Ewood Park – that is assuming that no Premier League club comes knocking between now and September 1.
The 24-year-old is one of the most deadly finishers in the Championship and if Blackburn are to get anything from this game then there’s a strong possibility that he will be the man to fire them there.