Championship Preview: Watford v cardiff city

Third placed Watford will host Cardiff City this Saturday in the Championship. The match will be played with supporters as Watford is in tier two allowing 2,000 fans to attend the game.

Watford come into this game on the back of a goalless draw at Nottingham Forest. The Hornets have only suffered one loss in their last eleven games. They are unbeaten at home this season taking 19 out of 21 points at Vicarage Road.

Cardiff have back to back home wins against Luton and Huddersfield but pioir to this had only one win in eight games. Cardiff are without an away win in four games drawing twice and losing twice.

The last meetings between the side came in the Premier League in 2018/19. Watford won both matches 5-1 at Cardiff and 3-2 at home. The Bluebirds, however, lead the overall head to head 22 wins to The Hornet’s 21, but Watford have won the last three meetings.

Team News

Watford will be without Nathaniel Chalobah who will miss the match though suspension, picking up a fifth yellow card in midweek. The 10 day isolation for the three players who had positive Covid-19 tests has ended. Adam Masina, Tom Cleverley and Will Hughes have been back in training. Tom Dele-Bashiru, Andre Gray and Isaac Success will all miss this match.

For Cardiff Jordi Osei-Tutu, Lee Tomlin and Isaac Vassell all remain unavailable. Filip Benkovic could return to the squad after an illness. Robert Glatzel came off the bench to score on Tuesday against Huddersfield could be in line to start ahead of Mark Harris.

Managers Thoughts

Watford manager Vladimir Ivic spoke ahead of the game about the need to rotate his squad:

“We know that in this moment with a lot of games we need to rest some players, like you see with Craig [Cathcart] and his hamstring [injury late on against Nottingham Forest].

“We believe that in the next days some of the players will come to help us who have stayed out for different reasons – some of them being injured and some having COVID – so we will see what’s going to happen in the next days.”

Neil Harris spoke about playing in front of fans this weekend, despite Cardiff not being able to have fans back as Welsh Government rules are different to England:

I’m not fussed if Watford fans are there or not. We are not going to see fans back in our stadium, we have spoken about that hindering us.

It is what it is, the Welsh Government have made their decision. Watford fans, not fussed.

Football as a whole needs supporters. I’m quietly pleased for teams that are getting supporters back, every sport needs them. But unfortunately we are not in that position to welcome our fans back.

Does it have an effect? If anything it will spur my players on. It will have more of an away game feel about it.

Speaking about his oppostion this weekend:

Good players. A team that wasn’t expected to be relegated from the Premier League. They have got a massive squad, an embarrassment of riches, but it’s the Championship.

The amount of teams clustering at the top, middle and bottom. People always question the ability in the Championship but it’s as good as ever.

If you finish above Watford then you are going to finish in the top three, or maybe even top two.

But I worry about getting us right and getting in the best possible condition to stop them and affect the game the other way, being proactive and aggressive.

Key Players

For Watford they will be looking for Ismaila Sarr to continue his good form so far this season. Sarr has picked up three goals and two assists, with a Whoscored rating of 7.1. The 22 year old forward also has 3 man of the match performances.

Cardiff will hope the form of Wales striker Kieffer Moore continues. Moore has seven goals for Cardiff and two for Wales this season. With a whoscored rating of 7.34 overall and 7.57 in the Championship. He has won over 10 aerials per game and Cardiff will look to play though the striker.

Prediction: Watford 1-1 Cardiff City

Watford are unbeaten at home and will have fans for the first time in a long time. The extra pressure could tell against a Cardiff team that have gained confidence with two wins in a row. Both teams have quality across the pitch and will be hard to break down.

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