Neil Warnock has some big decisions to make this weekend.
The Bluebirds boss has two big dilemmas to consider ahead of his team’s trip to Stamford Bridge this weekend.
Warnock’s men are set to face their toughest test yet against Chelsea, who have a 100% record after four games, scoring two or more goals against each of their opponents.
It means Neil Warnock and his coaching staff have to be at their best to give Cardiff any kind of chance of taking a point or three from Stamford Bridge.
There are plenty of decisions to make, but two stand out.
The midfield dilemma
The biggest decision Neil Warnock has to make this weekend is undoubtedly in midfield. Aron Gunnarsson is set to be available for selection for the first time this season, but does he come straight in?
Most have been pleased with what the midfield combination of Harry Arter, Joe Ralls and Victor Camarasa have offered early in the season.
However, with the amount of opportunities Arsenal had to run at the back-line and the amount of times Alexandre Lacazette got between the lines, Neil Warnock may opt for more protection.
That’s something Aron Gunnarsson can offer, but is he fit enough? Would Chelsea away be too difficult of a task this early in his recovery? Would it be harsh on the current midfield players to make changes?
And who does Neil Warnock drop? Would Ralls or Camarasa pay the price, assuming Arter remains indispensable at this point.
This is a big decision for the Bluebirds boss.
Who starts up top?
The second dilemma facing Neil Warnock this weekend is up top. Does he go with Danny Ward for the second game running?
Ward impressed for the Bluebirds against Arsenal, rotating with Bobby Reid at times out wide and appearing in sync with the summer signing.
Ward scored his first Premier League goal last time out and he did little wrong on what was always going to be a difficult afternoon.
Kenneth Zohore, his most likely replacement, showed some promise on the ball against Newcastle, but he wasn’t sharp enough in front of goal., missing key chances.
Cardiff City fans, who starts up top against Chelsea on Saturday?
— Jamie Kemble (@JamieKemble) September 12, 2018
Warnock may want more presence up top, someone who is able to hold off defenders and hold the ball up on an afternoon when Cardiff won’t see much ball up top. Maybe even Gary Madine gets a look in on that front.
Having said that, Ward did put himself about against Arsenal. He offered a physical presence beyond his smaller size.
It’s been a difficult time for Ward, missing much of last season through injury and now having to displace Kenneth Zohore.
However, he was excellent against Arsenal after earning his shot and it would be a big blow for him to be dropped on the back of that.
There’s no room for sentiment in football, though, and Neil Warnock still has a decision to make.