Football – England – Championship
Tuesday 19th February 2013 – Kickoff: 1945hrs
It’s over to the Cardiff City Stadium now to cover the pick of the fixtures in tonight’s Championship schedule as hosts Cardiff City take on seventh placed Brighton who are attempting to close the gap on the top six and claim a play-off place come May.
Firstly, looking at Cardiff City and they seem to go from strength to strength as each fixture passes and the Bluebirds have opened up a commanding eight-point lead at the top of the division with a 2-1 home win over Bristol City at the weekend.
That’s now three wins from their last four on home soil along which includes victories over play-off candidates Crystal Palace 2-1 and Millwall 1-0 along with a 0-0 draw against Ipswich Town who have pulled off a few surprising results lately. The Bluebirds are unbeaten now in their last nine matches and will be looking to extend that tally to ten with the visit of Brighton on Tuesday night.
Cardiff’s home record stands at an impressive 13-1-1 27/9 and they have also kept seven clean sheets into the bargain which will no doubt please manager Malky Mackay, an uncompromising defender in his day.
With a quick turnaround from Saturday, Cardiff City’s undoubted strength is their quality and depth of squad which includes likely goalscorers in the shape of Whittingham (7 goals, 7 assists), Helguson (7 goals, 5 assists), Gunnarsson (6 goals, 4 assists), Noone (5 goals, 8 assists) – the list is almost endless, but new-comer Fraizer Campbell may well be worth an anytime goalscorer shot as he’s racked up 3 goals in his first 3 appearances for the Bluebirds.
Onto visitors Brighton, and The Seagulls’ challenge on the top six has been frustrating of late with three draws in their last five matches which has hindered their charge on the play-off pack with stalemates against Birmingham City, Blackburn Rovers at home and Blackburn Rovers again at Ewood Park with a defeat at Sheffield Wednesday and a 1-0 win over Hull City weekend before last thrown in.
With just two defeats from their last nine away matches, Brighton have been pretty solid on the road in recent weeks but they seem to be lacking that cutting edge up front to take home all the points in most of their fixtures of late. Whilst they have seemed solid, bear in mind that their performances away at the top six clubs so far have been disappointing; 0-1 at Hull City, 0-1 at Leicester City and 0-3 at Crystal Palace perhaps indicates that The Seagulls may have to wait until they host Burnley on Saturday to add to their points tally.
Brighton’s away record stands at 5-6-4 21/20 and they’ve kept just three clean sheets on their travels compared to their six achieved at the Amex Stadium so far. Former Peterborough United hit-man Mackail-Smith (11 goals) looks the favourite to score for Brighton, with Buckley (5 goals, 5 assists) also in the mix.
Cardiff’s momentum seems almost unstoppable in front of their noisy, partisan crowd and given Brighton’s previous poor performances against top six opposition away from home, I’ll back Cardiff City with the quarter ball given away at what is still a good price in my eyes. Cardiff City to win 2-1.
Pick: Cardiff City AH-0.25 @ 1.76 Bet Victor