Watford-Cardiff City Preview
Cardiff City find themselves amidst the most successful, yet modest, run in their short Premier League history.
The Bluebirds will try for a third straight league victory Friday night when they welcome a stingy Watford side to Wales.
Cardiff (7-4-15) are only in their second season as a Premier League club, with the other coming in 2013-14. The Bluebirds have not only matched their win total from the '13-'14 campaign, but managed back-to-back victories for the first time in the Premier League era.
The first came 2-0 versus Bournemouth on Feb. 2, and was followed seven days later with a dramatic 2-1 triumph at Southampton, thanks to Kenneth Zohore's winner in the third minute of stoppage time.
That latest victory left the Bluebirds 17th in the table, but just one point above the relegation zone. So, nothing is guaranteed at the moment.
"We want to build up momentum and go on a run of games," defender Sol Bamba, who scored the first goal versus Southampton, told Cardiff's official website. "With the matches coming up, we know that we can get three points from every game, especially at home."
Cardiff's current spell of success may be somewhat therapeutic as the club continues to grieve the death of striker Emiliano Sala, who died in a plane crash shortly after being acquired from French side Nantes last month. Whilst Cardiff and Nantes continue to spat over Sala's contract, the Welsh side have remained focused on what needs to be done on the pitch.
"The whole squad has put everything into the last few games," defender Lee Peltier said. "It's the Premier League - the best league in the world. We've won the last two, which is massive for us, but we've just got to keep going, ticking off the games, and hopefully stay up."
Though the Bluebirds are a confident group at the moment, they face a stiff test against eighth-place Watford (10-7-9), who led 3-0 before holding on for a 3-2 victory in the teams' first meeting of the season on Dec. 15.
The Hornets have been a rather consistent bunch, sitting in the top-half of the table and going 4-5-2 in the top-flight since losing three consecutive league games at the end of November and into December. Watford made an Andre Gray goal in the 65th minute hold up for a 1-0 home victory over Everton on Feb. 9.
They also stayed alive in the FA Cup with last week's 1-0 win at Queens Park Rangers.
"We are changing players, changing competitions, but always the team competes well, and is always getting good results," manager Javi Gracia told Watford's official website. "I have a difficult decision to choose only 11 players, but they show we have a good squad. All of them deserve to play and deserve this recognition."
Watford's most recent success has been highlighted by some strong defence, which is a big reason the team have posted three consecutive clean sheets and five out of the last six over all competitions. The only goals they've allowed during that stretch came in a 2-1 loss at Tottenham Hotspur on Jan. 30.
Updated February 20, 2019