Cardiff City-Stoke City Preview


Stoke City have to be happy to return to the Britannia Stadium and have a quick turn around after their weekend embarrassment at Everton.

The Potters will try for just their second win in 11 league matches Wednesday against Cardiff City.

Two of the Potters' three Premier League victories this season have come at home, where they've earned at least a point in five of six matches and have conceded three goals while keeping three clean sheets.

Saturday's 4-0 loss at Goodison Park was the most lopsided loss for Stoke (3-4-6) since a 4-0 home loss to Chelsea on Jan. 12.

"I have learned a few things today, and I will look back at the match before Cardiff and then assess which eleven I think will be good enough to go out there and win the game, which is now our priority," Stoke manager Mark Hughes told the club's official website.

Marc Muniesa made his top-flight debut for a banged-up Stoke defence that are without centre back Robert Huth, who is expected to miss a month with a knee injury that will require minor surgery. Huth started all 12 league matches for the Potters prior to Saturday, and the holes in the back line were evident.

Everton first struck just before half-time and scored twice more by the 58th minute to effectively end the Potters' day.

"We conceded some very poor goals, especially the one right before the break," Hughes said. "Had we gone in at half-time level then it could have been a totally different game. We then come out after the break and concede another straight away which pretty much takes the game away from us, and that is disappointing."

The Potters had a season-low four shots, three of which were on frame.

Both Stoke and Cardiff have 13 points with Stoke ahead in the table on goal difference.

Cardiff (3-4-6) were unable to build on their Nov. 24 home draw against Manchester United and lost 3-0 at home to Arsenal Saturday with Aaron Ramsey scoring twice against his former club.

Ramsey's first came in the 29th minute, and the Bluebirds kept the Gunners in check until the 86th.

"We've played against Spurs, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal in this league and we've been competitive in all of those games," Cardiff manager Malky Mackay told the team's official website. "That gives me great belief that we'll be in this league next year."

The Bluebirds haven't scored an away goal in their last two matches, the last coming 260 minutes ago in a 4-1 loss at Chelsea on Oct. 19.

The match at the Britannia Stadium is their first of two consecutive away trips as they continue to navigate their first season in the Premier League.

However, the away fixtures with Stoke and Crystal Palace don't present the same kind of challenge as consecutive home fixtures against the Red Devils and Gunners.

"It's about being consistent, but also not getting too low," Mackay said. "We know what league we're in, and right now it's about having the belief and calmness. What matters is where we are in May. We have two tough away games coming up, but we've just faced two of the biggest sides in Europe, and we've acquitted ourselves really well."

Stoke have won three of four matches against Cardiff across all competition dating back to Aug. 11, 2007. Wednesday's match is their first top-flight meeting.