Huddersfield v Cardiff
Friday March 5, 19:45
Tame Terriers fail to impress
Championship strugglers Huddersfield and Birmingham played out a poor 1-1 draw that did little to help either side's worries at the foot of the table in midweek. Fraizer Campbell's excellent goal lit up what was a dour game as the Terriers forward fired in first time on the half-volley from the edge of the box after Harlee Dean's poor clearance.
However, four minutes later Town had been pegged back when Mark Roberts blasted in from close range after Huddersfield failed to deal with a corner. Carlos Corberan's charges have now failed to keep a clean sheet in 15 games in all competitions, and could have lost it late on too, with Scott Hogan putting an effort over the bar from close range.
Post-match Corberan suggested Huddersfield would be tweaking their approach as they seek survival. A more direct and simplified game plan was evident on Tuesday with the Town boss saying, "We had to find a better balance between taking risks and avoiding counter-attacks like Preston scored. We decided to go longer and take fewer risks."
Cardiff continue unbeaten charge
Cardiff extended their unbeaten streak under Mick McCarthy to 10 games and roared back into the Championship top-six with a thumping 4-0 win over Derby in the Welsh capital on Tuesday night. Leandro Bacuna's calm finish put the Bluebirds ahead, before Kieffer Moore doubled their lead with a header from a corner, and Bacuna fired home a third.
Will Vaulks then smashed home from 25 yards in injury time to add gloss on what was another eye-catching and commanding effort from Cardiff. The Bluebirds had looked to impose themselves on the visitors from the off, with Moore, Bacuna and Sheyi Ojo all forcing the Rams into numerous errors with City's high press and intensity impressing.
Post-match, McCarthy was typically prudent in his praise, saying: "I don't know if that's the best we've played, it is another good performance, we were very organised and disciplined. We worked exceptionally hard and that gives you the foundation to create chances." The only negative on the night was a serious-looking knee injury for left back Joe Bennett.
Huddersfield are winless in their last 12 league meetings with Cardiff (W0-D4-L8) dating back to 2012/13, a run of results that also includes a convincing 3-0 defeat when the duo crossed swords in December. The Terries have fired blanks in five of the most recent six showdowns, and have also failed to score in five of their last six hosting the Bluebirds.
Huddersfield 3.6013/5 have earned only nine points of their own since Christmas (W1-D3-L9) with Carlos Corberan's charges falling into the relegation battle reckoning. The Terriers are ranked 20th for Expected Points (xP) earned over their most recent 12 tussles, although have tended to produce their better performances at the John Smith's Stadium (W8-D3-L6).
Cardiff 2.186/5 have picked up 24 points from a possible 30 since Mick McCarthy took charge, moving the Bluebirds back into the play-off berths (W7-D3-L0). Exclude top-six rivals and the Welsh capital club boast a solid W15-D5-L6 return in the Championship, whilst the visitors' W8-D5-L4 road record ranks as the division's second best in terms of points accrued.
Huddersfield have failed to keep their sheets clean in each of their most recent 15 fixtures, nine of those encounters paying out for Over 2.5 Goals 2.1011/10 backers. Despite their lean streak, Town have still provided a final-third threat - the Terriers' have scored themselves in 11 of those aforementioned outings, bringing Both Teams To Score 1.875/6 into play.
Six of Cardiff's 10 tussles under Mick McCarthy have banked in the Over 2.5 Goals column, and the same figure have collected for BTTS hunters too. With that in mind, I'm keen to jump into the Same Game Multi and attack the 1.758/11 available on Cardiff Double Chance and Over 1.5 Goals at the John Smith's Stadium from Friday night.