High-flying Cardiff are aiming to keep up their pursuit of league leaders Wolves on Tuesday night, as the Bluebirds head to the English capital to face a talented Brentford outfit. Mark O'Haire previews the encounter.
"Cardiff [have charged into second spot having picked up 26 points (W8-D2-L0) from their past 10 Championship encounters."
Brentford v Cardiff
Tuesday 13th March, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports
Brentford aim to keep top-six dreams alive
Brentford boss Dean Smith was, naturally, frustrated after seeing his Bees outfit suffer a 1-0 defeat at Millwall. Seeking a fourth win in five outings, Brentford fell behind to George Saville's first minute strike and did everything but score at The Den.
Smith's side boasted 67% of the ball and completed twice as many passes as their opponents in an entertaining affair. Sergi Canos and John Egan came closest for the Bees as both struck the woodwork, before Henrik Dalsgaard's corner was nearly fumbled into his own net by goalkeeper Jordan Archer, only for the Lions to clear off the line.
The hosts could hand starts to Chris Mepham, Kamohelo Mokotjo and Neal Maupay as they look to keep alive their faint hopes of a top six finish. Elsewhere, Rico Henry is out for the rest of the season, while mercurial winger Florian Jozefzoon remains a doubt with a slight knock.
Top spot within Cardiff's sights
Cardiff closed the gap on table-topping Wolves to just three points as they strengthened their grip on an automatic promotion spot when recording a sixth successive Championship victory on Saturday. The Bluebirds raced into a three-goal lead against Birmingham before surviving a late onslaught to clinch a 3-2 success.
First-half goals from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Craig Bryson and Callum Paterson put Cardiff firmly in control. Neil Warnock's men will rarely have had it so easy as they did in the first 45 minutes and could easily have notched more; it would have been a perfect half for the Bluebirds had Bryson not limped off injured.
Bryson is now unlikely to feature in midweek whilst Warnock may opt to reintroduce Sean Morrison into the backline at Griffin Park, with Lee Peltier dropping out and Bruno Manga moving across to right-back. Midfielders Joe Ralls and Aron Gunnarsson, plus full-back pairing Armand Traore and Jazz Richards remain unavailable.
A lack of consistency has been a recurring theme for all the sides chasing a play-off place and Brentford [2.20] are no different. The Bees are unbeaten when welcoming top-half teams (W3-D4-L0) and have suffered a sole home reverse since August but eight Griffin Park draws [3.60] have held the hosts back.
Cardiff [3.55] have charged into second spot having picked up 26 points (W8-D2-L0) from their past ten Championship encounters. Not since New Year's Day have the Bluebirds been beaten whilst their record against top-half clubs is impressive (W9-D4-L4). The Welsh outfit have also claimed top honours in seven of their previous ten trips to top-half teams.
With the Bees' profligate finishing possibly costing the club a tilt at the top-six, and Cardiff's consistently strong performances, it's hard to oppose the visitors and odds of [1.80] on City in the Double Chance market hold plenty of appeal.
Cardiff have scored at least two goals in nine of their previous ten meetings with Brentford and, with six of the past seven encounters between the two teams at Griffin Park producing profit for Over 2.5 Goals punters, a repeat can be backed at [1.80] on Tuesday evening.
The hosts have followed suit in six of their last nine when welcoming top six opposition although a collective 14/34 (41%) of the duo's respective home/away matches this term have paid out in the Over 2.5 Goals market.
Cardiff have scored in all bar four of their 17 away days this season and, with Brentford notching in 14 of their 17 in the capital, Both Teams To Score holds plenty of potential. However, there's little value in current [1.65] quotes.
Mark's 2017/18 Profit/Loss
Staked: 131.00 pts
Returned: 145.02 pts
P/L: +14.02 pts