An emotional day is expected in South Wales as Cardiff City host Leicester City in the Premier League at the Welsh Capital following the tragic death of Foxes owner, Vichai Scrivaddhanaprabha.
The 60-year-old died in a helicopter crash in the aftermath of their 1-1 draw with West Ham United at the King Power Stadium last weekend.
Both sets of supporters are set to pay their own tributes, with the Bluebirds planning to wave a giant flag, starting in the Ninian Stand, before it is passed onto the Leicester City travelling supporters during the minute’s silence which has been planned.
The two sides will also wear black armbands in what is expected to be a heart-rending day in the Welsh Capital. Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, clearly distraught by the loss of Scrivaddhanaprabha, has already admitted that the result on Saturday afternoon “isn’t important.”
Vincent Tan has also spoke highly of the founder of King Power duty free. Speaking to the official Cardiff City website, he said: “Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was a man I knew personally: an honest and caring man of virtue and integrity. I considered him a friend and somebody for whom I had the utmost respect and admiration.”
“We will all stand in support alongside our brothers and sisters in Leicester.”
This will be the first game that Leicester have played following the tragedy after postponing their Carabao Cup fixture with Southampton at the King Power Stadium during the week, understandably.
The football world has emerged stronger and has united following the unfortunate death of an owner who had such a powerful impact on everyone – even people who don’t like football.
It is crazy to think there is a game of football to be played surrounding such traumatic events, but the Bluebirds will host Leicester on Saturday afternoon following on from their 4-1 defeat at Anfield last weekend.
Neil Warnock, however, said he was proud of his sides efforts as they became the first team to score at Anfield in 918 minutes as Callum Paterson netted for the second game in succession and they will be looking to build on that result come Saturday afternoon.
In their last home game, they won their first game of their Premier League campaign, following a sensational second-half display of attacking prowess against Fulham as they defeated the Cottagers 4-2 courtesy of goals from Josh Murphy, Bobby Decordova-Reid, Callum Paterson and substitute Kadeem Harris.
Despite their loss to Jurgen Klopp’s men at Anfield, the Bluebirds remained outside of the relegation zone on goal difference as 10-man Fulham were thumped 3-0 at home against AFC Bournemouth at Craven Cottage.
The Bluebirds have shown a lot of spirit and guts in recent weeks to show that they’re worthy of a Premier League place – and that the Cardiff City Stadium will be a daunting place to come, no matter who you’re.
The problem Cardiff have, of course, is squad depth and against the top sides, it is going to be very difficult to compete – and this was showcased at Anfield last Saturday as the Reds’ fitness and quality proved to be too good as late goals from Xhedran Shaqiri and Sadio Mane helped the Reds to all three points against Warnock’s men.
Leicester have players with quality which the Bluebirds will have to keep a close eye on, too. English centre-back Harry Maguire has shown his quality during his time at the club and is a huge threat from the air – the 25-year-old has scored twice for the Foxes already this season.
The players which the Bluebirds will have to be wary of the most is Jamie Vardy and James Maddison – especially the latter, who has flourished following his move from Norwich City on a five-year contract in the summer.
The attacking midfielder has netted three times in 10 games so far this season and is the Foxes joint top scorer alongside the tenacious Vardy and his creative spark will no doubt cause the Bluebirds problems at the back.
The Bluebirds have a good record against the Foxes and have lost just one of their last six meetings against the King Power outfit – the last time Leicester beat Cardiff was in 2012, when they recorded a 2-1 win in Leicestershire courtesy of a Paul Gallagher brace.
These two sides haven’t met since March, 2013, with the game finishing in a 1-1 draw at the Cardiff City Stadium as Rudy Gestede scored in injury time to give the Bluebirds a precious point – they would later go on to be crowned Champions of the Championship in the same season.
The referee today comes in the form of experienced official, Lee Probert. He has taken charge of four Premier League clashes already this season, producing 12 yellow cards and two reds – with the sending offs coming in the same game as AFC Bournemouth drew 2-2 at home against Everton in a four-goal thriller at the Vitality Stadium.
The 46-year-old also took charge of the Bluebirds’ historic win over Manchester City the last time they were in the Premier League – as they beat the Citizens 3-2 at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Football comes second today, of course, but Cardiff could really do with the three points and if they do beat Leicester, it will give them huge confidence heading into their early kick-off against Brighton & Hove Albion next week, which is also a home fixture for Warnock’s troops.
Prediction: Cardiff City 2-0 Leicester City
This will no doubt be a difficult fixture, especially for the visitors, who will be playing in their first game since the death of Scrivaddhanaprabha.
It is going to be a strange atmosphere in South Wales today, but I expect Cardiff to beat the Foxes 2-0 at the Welsh Capital to make it two wins on the spin at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Harry Arter is set to return, Warnock revealed in his press conference. The impressive Paterson is set to lead the line for the Bluebirds once again.
The Foxes have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the trip to the Welsh Capital. Jamie Vardy could return to the starting XI in what is set to be an emotional day for him and the rest of the Leicester City squad.