Need to know: Cardiff
LONDON (AP) — Five things to know about Cardiff going into the new 2013-14 English Premier League season:
Of all three teams promoted to the Premier League, Cardiff has spent the most as it aims to secure its topflight status. Three international players have joined the club: Chile midfielder Gary Medel from Sevilla, England defender Steven Caulker from Tottenham and Denmark striker Andreas Cornelius from FC Copenhagen. Cardiff reportedly has paid for 26.5 million pounds ($41.5 million) in all for those three along with John Brayford, a defender who signed from second-tier Derby.
KEY PLAYER: CRAIG BELLAMY
Despite the big money spent on improving the Cardiff side, manager Malky Mackay will look to Craig Bellamy perhaps more than any other player in his squad. Bellamy has played in the Premier League with teams such as Newcastle, Manchester City and Liverpool, as well as earning 70 caps for the Wales national team and competing for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympic games. He is a Cardiff supporter and his threat in front of goal, combined with his passion for the club, could be what inspires the team to Premier League survival.
IS CARDIFF RED, OR BLUE? OR BOTH?
In one of the most radical moves of club rebranding yet, Cardiff’s owners last year changed the color of its home kit from blue to red and redesigned the club badge to incorporate a red dragon — distancing it from its traditional nickname “the Bluebirds.” The decision was greeted with outrage by fans who felt the owners were moving the club away from its historical identity but they have since been appeased by Cardiff’s promotion to the Premier League and the money spent on new players.
ONE TO WATCH: PETER WHITTINGHAM
Midfielder Peter Whittingham has been an important player for Cardiff during its time in the second tier and it will be relying on some more impressive performances from him in the Premier League as it tries to avoid being relegated. The 28-year-old Whittingham, who can play centrally or on the left side of midfield, is a creative player who can score goals as well as assist them. He will undoubtedly relish the chance to show he can perform on one of the highest stages of all.
CARDIFF VS. SWANSEA
The first all-Welsh fixture in the Premier League will be a fiercely competitive game. The first match on Nov. 3 is a home tie for Cardiff, which will be especially eager to beat Swansea after its rival won the League Cup last season and qualified for the Europa League. Cardiff fans will be keen to move out of Swansea’s shadow and there would be no finer way to signal that intent.