Fulham v Cardiff | Friday 10th July 2020, 20:15 | Sky Sports
We’re very much entering the blockbuster period of the Championship season, albeit much delayed than originally scheduled! Fulham and Cardiff are very much involved in the promotion picture to try and secure a spot in next season’s Premier League, and there is every chance that this could be a play-off final dress rehearsal.
That being said, Fulham still harbour ambitions and trying to jump into the automatic promotion places, and a run of three consecutive victories keeps that dream alive. The issue for them is that Leeds, West Brom and Brentford don’t appear to be dropping enough points to suggest Scott Parker’s men can overtake them, but Fulham can only do their bit. Confidence is certainly high.
Cardiff saw their six-game unbeaten streak rather disappointing ended at home to Blackburn Rovers in midweek, a game that they led on two occasions. Neil Harris will certainly be hoping for a huge reaction from the Bluebirds, and it will be required to get anything from an empty Craven Cottage on Friday night.
The reality is that this isn’t really a must-win game for Cardiff. A draw here would be deemed an excellent outcome, but circumstances knowing that Fulham do have to win means that Cardiff themselves could benefit should the match be level towards the end.
The Bluebirds have proved incredibly tough to beat on the road of late, with only QPR and Stoke defeating them in 2020. They’ve been to Preston and Bristol City since the resumption and left with maximum points.
As mentioned, Fulham do have to win this, and they will have to throw the kitchen sink at this if they have to. That’s why I envisage quite a strong start from the home side. They do have a certain Aleksandar Mitrovic back in the fold following a ban, and you’d assume Parker will throw him straight into the action.
Tom Cairney could return from injury to further boost ranks, although seeing Harry Arter limp off towards the end of their last match will be a concern. He netted the long-range winner to seal the points at Nottingham Forest.
Fulham have been a little hit or miss at home across the season. Across their last 16 here, they’ve won 11 and lost five. None of these have been draws, and a draw is certainly a result they won’t be searching for under the Friday floodlights.
The Cottagers have been excellent when scoring first this season. In fact, they’re unbeaten in league action when doing so, winning 19 and drawing the other three. Also, they’re yet to lose when leading at half-time; winning 12 and drawing once, and a cool eight from eight at home.
Parker has been known to switch to a five-man defence later in matches to see out results, and the Nottingham Forest match on Tuesday was another prime example when Maxime Le Marchand made a rare appearance to help see out the victory.
I can just picture Fulham coming quickly out the blocks, whilst Cardiff will be playing with the intention of keeping things tight until later on, when Fulham will then have to overcommit and invite the away side to utilise counter attacking situations.
A bet-builder of Fulham or Draw, Under 4 Goals and Fulham to Win Either Half is an 11/10 (Bet365) shot which appeals to me. Only three of Fulham’s last 12 has finished above 2.5 goals, and the same can be said in six of Cardiff’s previous nine encounters.
The only way to me this doesn’t pay out is if Cardiff hold out until the latter stages, but Fulham won’t want to rely on another late-show like in their last home match to get the job done. Cardiff are one of the lower first-half away scorers in the league, so that is the time for Fulham to catch them out.
Fulham v Cardiff – Fulham Double Chance, Under 4 Goals & Fulham to Win Either Half (11/10 Bet365)