Cardiff City welcome Watford to South Wales on Friday evening for what should be an interesting Premier League clash. Although the home side are languishing down in 17th place in the Premier League table, they head into this game on the back of two league wins. On February 2, the Bluebirds won 2-0 at home to Bournemouth, and followed that up a week later with a 2-1 away win at Southampton. If they win on Friday evening, it will be the first time they have won three consecutive top-flight league games since 1961.
Watford are in good form too, having won their last two games in all competitions. Last weekend, they beat Championship side Queens Park Rangers 1-0 in the fifth round of the FA Cup. That victory followed on from a 1-0 win at home to Everton in the Premier League. The Hornets are looking to record their first league double over the Bluebirds since 2005/06.
Cardiff City vs Watford Prediction: Bluebirds 1-1 Hornets
Our prediction for this game is that it will end in a 1-1 draw. Both sides have been in good form in recent weeks, and we think they might cancel each other out in South Wales on Friday evening. The trauma of the Emiliano Sala situation has hung a heavy shadow over Cardiff, but on the field they have responded in positive fashion to the tragedy. Javi Gracia’s Watford will want to keep alive their very faint hopes of a top-six finish, but we suspect that they will have to settle for an away point from their trip to Wales.
Our recommended tip: Draw, both score
Our featured tip for this game comes from Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, who is offering odds of 16/5 on the game being a draw, with both teams to score. This looks like a good bet to us for a number of reasons. First, we suspect that the game will end 1-1, and this bet matches that prediction perfectly. Second, this bet also gives you a certain amount of flexibility when it comes to the final score, which helps to boost your chances of placing a winning bet. Odds of 16/5 also offer good value, in our view.
These two sides have faced each other on just one previous occasion in the Premier League, earlier this season. That game was at Vicarage Road on December 15 last year, and it ended in a 3-2 win for the home side. Watford’s goals were scored by Gerard Deulofeu, José Holebas and Domingos Quina. Junior Hoilett and Bobby De Cordova-Reid found the net for the Bluebirds.
The two sides have faced each other on 56 occasions in total. Out of those games, Cardiff have won 22 games, Watford have won 20 and there have been 14 draws.
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Players to watch: Sol Bamba & Troy Deeney
Combative Ivorian centre-back Sol Bamba, who picked up a Scottish accent during his spells with Hibernian and Dunfermline Athletic, is an inspirational presence in the Cardiff team. As well as his 57% tackle success rate and defensive leadership, Bamba is also a threat in the opposition penalty area. He has scored three Premier League goals this season, one of which came in last weekend’s dramatic 2-1 win at Southampton.
Watford striker Troy Deeney continues to be an totemic presence in Javi Gracia’s team, worth so much more to the Hornets than the five Premier League goals he has contributed this term. A physical centre forward whose hard graft creates space for others, centre backs never have an easy game against Deeney. He has also weighed in with two assists this season, and has created six big chances for his team-mates.