Cardiff v Fulham | Monday 27th July 2020, 19:45 | Sky Sports
After a wild and whacky final day to the regulation Championship season on Wednesday we’re now straight into play-off action. Cardiff and Fulham take to the field again on Monday night in the Welsh capital as they look to go one step closer to making the Wembley showpiece event; the biggest game in football.
They say momentum counts for a lot when it comes to the play-offs and a run of three straight victories for Cardiff has done them no harm at all. Back-to-back defeats against Blackburn and also Fulham last month did raise a few concerns, but in truth they’ve been in great form for a while now, including before the extended break. The Bluebirds have lost just twice in 11.
Speaking of form, then Fulham most definitely fit come into that particular equation as Scott Parker’s men are seven without loss, of which five were wins. They went into their final day clash at Wigan knowing that it may appear unlikely for them to get the favours they need from elsewhere to creep into second spot.
However, both West Brom and Brentford dropped points, and Fulham drew to a Wigan side now hopeful of having their relegation overturned in the court room.
Whilst that may look like an opportunity missed for Fulham, after the game Parker himself stated that realistically they’ve been prepared for the play-offs since drawing to West Brom, so mentally they should be more than ready for what is to come.
Cardiff have had their play-off destiny in their own hands for a few weeks now, but it was only rubberstamped with that win over Hull, which also relegated The Tigers. Still, momentum counts for something, and both these teams have that.
Whilst form does indeed count for something in relation to confidence and momentum, I very much subscribe to the notion that these play-offs aren’t ‘normal’ games, and as such we have to be prepared for quite literally anything!
Having said that, I do anticipate this clash being more tight and tactical, knowing that there is still a second leg to come. It was only earlier this month that Cardiff faced Fulham at Craven Cottage, and this was maybe closer than the 2-0 win for the Cottagers suggests.
Fulham are slight favourites to win this first leg and I’m uneasy at backing them at a price of around 13/8. After all, they’ve won just four of their last 15 on the road in all competitions, and each of those wins came by a one-goal margin. I think the prospect of taking this game back to the Cottage with Fulham very much still in the tie appeals to Parker, who has been known to try and see out wins by introducing a defender off the bench to form a back five.
How Cardiff approach this will be really interesting, they will be second best in possession, but that won’t really concern them a great deal. For all they’ve got a bit of a reputation, this is still a decent football team, but at the same time I couldn’t confident back them as I wonder how much they’ll really go for it here.
As the home side, Cardiff will view this as more must-win than Fulham, but even if it was a draw I don’t think Neil Harris would be too despondent, regardless of Fulham’s strong home record. I do like Cardiff Double Chance and Under 3 Goals at 11/8 (Bet365) on the bet-builder. The two head-to-head meetings this season featured a maximum of two goals, and I expect a nervy game at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Cardiff v Fulham – Cardiff Double Chance and Under 3 Goals (11/8 Bet365)