Cardiff take on Watford at the Cardiff City Stadium looking for a third straight Premier League victory against a Hornets side who are flying high in the league, sitting eighth.
The visitors themselves are after a third successive victory, having secured their place in the FA Cup quarter finals with a 1-0 win away at QPR. Cardiff, meanwhile have temporarily eased their relegation fears and sit in 17th, one point above Southampton, who they secured a last gasp 2-1 win over last time out.
Check out 90min’s preview of the clash below.
Where to Watch
|When is Kick Off?||Friday 22 February|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||19:45 (BST)|
|Where Is it Being Played?||Cardiff City Stadium|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Sky Sports Main Event|
Neil Warnock heads into Friday's crucial clash with a fully fit squad, something he has been fortunate enough to have for most of the season. He is yet to settle on a starting XI, however, having toyed between who to play up front for much of the campaign.
Having added Oumar Niasse and Leandro Bacuna to his squad, Warnock will likely go with an attacking side, knowing home form will be pivotal in their quest for Premier League survival.
Similarly, Javi Gracia will have an almost full strength squad to choose from after it seems Roberto Pereyra is set to return from injury having missed the last two matches with a knock.
The only absentee facing Gracia's Hornets side is the suspension of Jose Holebas, who will miss the clash having picked up his tenth yellow card in the club's recent win over Everton.
Cardiff City ||Etheridge; Peltier, Manga, Bamba, Bennett, Arter, Gunnarsson, Ralls, Reid, Paterson, Niasse.|
|Watford||Foster; Masina, Cathcart, Mariappa, Janmaat, Capoue, Cleverley, Sema, Hughes, Gray, Deeney.|
Head to Head Record
On the day, the home side raced into a three goal lead but were made to sweat over their victory as a late rally from the Bluebirds saw them come within a whisker of snatching a point on their travels.
Prior to that, the clubs last met in the Championship in October 2014, with both clubs making a charge towards promotion that year. Overall the two sides have met on 56 occasions, with Cardiff's 22 victories just edging Watford's 20.
Both sides have fared well in recent weeks, as the two clubs seek a third successive victory in all competitions on Friday night.
Warnock's men have given themselves hope in their battle to finish outside of the bottom three with a 2-0 home win over Bournemouth followed by a last gasp 2-1 success over fellow relegation rivals Southampton. Victory would hand them their eighth win of the campaign, in a season where they have exceeded expectations so far.
Crazy happy with this win, fighting with all the love we have for this club. A deep thought for Emiliano lets keep it that way lads !!! @CardiffCityFC #latewins #bestwins pic.twitter.com/xa2pcw9gXt— Sol Bamba (@Sol14Bamba) February 9, 2019
Watford, meanwhile are having an excellent campaign under Javi Gracia. Comfortably in the Premier League top eight, the Hornets have the chance to leapfrog Wolves into seventh if they leave south Wales victorious, even if only briefly.
The club secured its passage to the FA Cup quarter finals with a hard fought win away at QPR to set up a last eight clash with Crystal Palace, while their league form has garnered strong hopes of European football come the end of the season.
Here is how each team have performed in their last five matches:
|Southampton 1-2 Cardiff (09/02)||QPR 0-1 Watford (15/02)|
|Cardiff 2-0 Bournemouth (02/02)||Everton 0-1 Watford (09/02)|
|Arsenal 2-1 Cardiff (29/01)||Brighton 0-0 Watford (02/02)|
|Newcastle 3-0 Cardiff (19/01)||Tottenham 2-1 Watford (30/01)|
|Cardiff 0-0 Huddersfield (12/01)||Newcastle 0-2 Watford (26/01)|
It's been something of a resurgence by Cardiff of late, with back-to-back Premier League victories boosting the confidence of a side rocked by recent off field tragedies. While they managed to score four goals in their last two matches, you still fear for their lack of firepower, as you can't rely on set pieces for all your goals in this division.
Watford have players who can hurt you, the return of Pereyra is a worry for the home side, as he is someone who can conjure up a moment of magic from nowhere. Cardiff are not a pacy team, while Watford are, so the fear for Warnock is that Watford will be happy to concede a lot of the ball and counter effectively against a slow back line.
Prediction: Cardiff 1-2 Watford
Source : 90min