One of the oldest rivalries in football will resume as Swansea City takes on Cardiff City in the South Wales derby.
These two clubs have battled in various divisions of English football and will now compete for the second time this season in the Premier League. While Cardiff won the first contest 1-0 at home, Swansea will try not to allow a double on their home turf.
Cardiff enter the match seven places behind Swansea in the league table, although only three points separate the two. This means that a victory in this battle could pull them even with their rival in the standings.
The fans are certainly ready for this competition and the players will be as well as both sides want to get the better of their opponent. With pride and standing in the league table on the line, this is certain to be an exciting battle.
Who will win?
When: Saturday, Feb. 8
Where: Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales
Time (U.S.): 12:30 p.m. ET
Time (U.K.): 5:30 p.m. GMT
Watch (U.S.): NBC
Watch (U.K.): Sky Sports 1, BBC One
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
Odds (via SkyBet): Swansea (8-11), Cardiff (15-4), Draw (13-5)
Top Storyline: Will Michael Laudrup Sacking Help or Hurt Swansea?
After earning just one win in the last 10 EPL matches, Michael Laudrup was dismissed as manager of Swansea City. According to Eurosport, things could get ugly with this situation:
LEGAL THREAT: An angry Michael Laudrup says he is planning to take legal action against Swansea following his sacking.— Eurosport.com EN (@EurosportCom_EN) February 6, 2014
However, Max Hicks of ESPN FC discusses why the switch to Garry Monk could end up helping:
The announcement of Laudrup's sacking last Tuesday seemed to come at the worst time, four days before the South Wales derby, as genuine a proverbial six-pointer as has ever been. In retrospect, with the initial trauma of the change-over, the timing actually couldn't have been much better.
As things stand, the Swans will be far too busy regrouping and rallying around Monk to spend any time over-thinking the derby. Club-issued video of Monk's first training session in charge showed a squad of interested, positive Swansea players; not a trace of dissent, factions or fractures.
It remains to be seen whether the change will help, but it was clear that things were not working under Laudrup. The club had dropped to 12th in the league table while sitting just a few points above the relegation zone.
If Swansea can get back on the right track and earn three points in this contest, it will give Monk and the rest of the squad an opportunity to gain momentum for the rest of the year.
Prediction: Swansea 2, Cardiff 1
The biggest story for both of these squads this season has been the lack of consistency on defense. Cardiff rank second to last in the league with 41 goals allowed while Swansea have allowed at least two scores in four of the last five league matches.
As a result, fans should not be surprised to see plenty of mistakes in this match and opposing players taking advantage of those mistakes.
Wilfried Zaha was solid in his debut off the bench for Cardiff and should get more playing time in this match. He has the ability to create a score with his passing ability and someone up front should be able to finish.
Meanwhile, Swansea have struggled without Michu, but Wilfried Bony has been a solid finisher when he gets an opportunity.
After this remains a close matchup throughout the 90 minutes, watch for Swansea to come through with a late score to leave with a win.
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