CARDIFF CITY - WATFORD
Not the greatest of week's for Cardiff, who were a bit lack lustre in games, at Norwich and Bristol City, although a late equaliser at Ashton Gate at least earned them a point and ensured that they remained in the play-off zone.
They are eleven points off the automatic promotion spot, with three games in hand, of course, that is a big ask, but their next four starts are all on home soil and they are a very different animal at Ninian Park,where they are unbeaten in eleven matches. They have won seven of their last nine here, also recording 0-0 draws with Arsenal and QPR, with the only goal conceded in 810 minutes coming against Barnsley, when they were already two goals up.
They will surely go all out for the three points, as the draw will not help them much at all and a couple of wins this week, will increase the pressure on Birmingham in second, who have still to play Reading and Wolves.
Watford have now lost only once in seven starts, since Chelsea knocked them out of the FA Cup and that run has seen them climb away from the relegation zone, they are not entirely safe yet, but look too good to be sucked back in. However, they have met a lot of teams at exactly the right time, for example, an FA Cup distracted Swansea City. Also, most of their better results have come at Vicarage Road and in five 2009 away starts they have conceded 11 goals. With the two wins coming at struggling Blackpool, where the home side enjoyed 56% possession and won the attempts on goal count 17-11 and at basement club Charlton 3-2, where the London team were leading until quite late.
They come here on the back of a 2-2 home draw with Sheffield Wednesday, their only stalemate in fourteen 2009 outings and only their second in 22 matches. So, we can probably expect them not just to sit back either and given their defensive frailities, they seem unlikely to be able to keep City at bay for 90 minutes. Massive game for the home side and the result will dictate their approach to the remainder of the season.
6.5 points Cardiff City -3/4 ball 2.08 asian line.