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Cardiff City vs Watford Preview: Hornets to End Unstoppable Bluebirds' Run?

The Hornets take a trip to Wales on Saturday afternoon to face Cardiff City, hoping to put an end to their impressive eleven game unbeaten run since the appointment of Mick McCarthy.

From a Cardiff perspective this is a fantastic opportunity to stake a claim in the Championship Play-Off contention. Currently eighth, they've flown up the table since McCarthy's arrival, which saw a change of system and philosophy at the Millennium Stadium. They currently operate with a back three, allowing them to add an extra body to the midfield and utilise the flanks with wing-backs. 

Their threat is mainly from set-pieces; Watford fans will remember Kieffer Moore's impressive aerial ability from the reverse fixture and they've only improved in that department since. Francisco Sierralta will be an interesting test for the Wales International assuming both start the game. 

In terms of injuries, Cardiff have their fair share of problems at left-wing-back. Joe Bennett is absent following an injury in the win over Derby, and Joel Bagan suffered a similar fate in the draw to Huddersfield last Friday. This means we could see winger Junior Hoilett or centre-half Curtis Nelson fill in on the left. They do however have promising young right-back Perry Ng back fit who will likely slot in at right-wing-back.

Watford have Nathaniel Chalobah back from suspension; he served his two-game ban in the wins over Wycombe and Nottingham Forest and with The Hornets' own injury woes in that position it's likely Chalobah will be straight back in the Starting XI. Dan Gosling and Achraf Lazaar are doubts but could end up on the bench, and the wait continues for Tom Cleverley and Christian Kabasele's return, but both are nearing closer. Ben Foster is back fit, but Xisco Munoz confirmed in his Thursday Press Conference that Daniel Bachmann would retain his starting spot. 


Xisco Munoz speaking about his decision to play Joao Pedro and Philip Zinckernagel in midfield against Nottingham Forest last Saturday.



Who's the Threat?

Cardiff City: Kieffer Moore

Leandro Bacuna is a good shout, as is Harry Wilson, as both have been in good form recently, but Kieffer Moore is the danger man. I said the same for the reverse fixture, predicting that his name would be on the scoresheet, so for Watford's sake I hope this doesn't result in the same conclusion. A handful for defenders and an impressive goalscorer, Moore is the man to watch for the Hosts.


Watford: Francisco Sierralta

Watford's fate will be determined by how they deal with Moore, and therefore Sierralta is the difference-maker on Saturday. If he can keep Moore quiet and put in a similar performance to that of every other game this year, Watford should have the three points wrapped up.


Elliot's Score Prediction:

A really tough on to call. Cardiff's unbeaten run is based off of solid defensive performances but their issues at left-back will be exploited by Ismaila Sarr and Kiko Femenia. A narrow 2-1 win for the Hornets.

Cardiff City 1-2 Watford

Kick-Off: 3pm, The Millennium Stadium

Televised? No, but available on Hive Live and iFollow.

Referee: Keith Stroud

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