Cardiff City v Watford: the psychology and the predictions

Cardiff City are moderately placed in the home games league table

Home matches only

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 14 13 0 1 49 11 38 39
2 Liverpool 13 11 2 0 35 7 28 35
3 Arsenal 13 10 2 1 28 11 17 32
4 Chelsea 13 8 4 1 26 9 17 28
5 Tottenham Hotspur 13 9 0 4 24 12 12 27
6 Manchester United 12 7 4 1 25 16 9 25
7 AFC Bournemouth 13 7 3 3 25 17 8 24
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 14 6 3 5 20 19 1 21
9 Everton 14 6 3 5 21 21 0 21
10 Watford 13 6 2 5 17 18 -1 20
11 Brighton and Hove Albion 13 5 4 4 16 15 1 19
12 West Ham United 13 5 3 5 18 19 -1 18
13 Cardiff City 13 5 2 6 15 23 -8 17

But they have lost more game at home than they have won, and their goal difference is particularly poor for a home team.

Watford away from home look more convincing and at this stage of the season that certainly can affect the psychology of the team.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 13 11 0 2 30 13 17 33
2 Liverpool 13 9 3 1 24 8 16 30
3 Manchester City 13 8 2 3 25 9 16 26
4 Manchester United 14 8 2 4 27 19 8 26
5 Chelsea 13 7 1 5 19 20 -1 22
6 Wolverhampton Wanderers 12 5 3 4 14 14 0 18
7 Arsenal 13 5 3 5 25 26 -1 18
8 Leicester City 14 5 3 6 18 21 -3 18
9 Watford 13 4 5 4 17 16 1 17

A positive goal difference (ok just +1 but still better than Cardiff at home) and a balance of wins and losses – four of each.

From the start of the year Cardiff have not had the best of times – there has of course been the terrible trauma of their attempted transfer which ended in a tragic plane crash – and on the pitch things have been difficult…

01 Jan 2019 Cardiff City v Tottenham Hotspur L 0-3
05 Jan 2019 Gillingham v Cardiff City FAC L 1-0
12 Jan 2019 Cardiff City v Huddersfield Town D 0-0
19 Jan 2019 Newcastle United v Cardiff City L 3-0
29 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Cardiff City L 2-1
02 Feb 2019 Cardiff City v AFC Bournemouth W 2-0
09 Feb 2019 Southampton v Cardiff City W 1-2

Watford on the other hand have had a much better run

02 Jan 2019 AFC Bournemouth v Watford D 3-3
06 Jan 2019 Woking v Watford FAC W 0-2
12 Jan 2019 Crystal Palace v Watford W 1-2
19 Jan 2019 Watford v Burnley D 0-0
26 Jan 2019 Newcastle United v Watford FAC W 0-2
30 Jan 2019 Tottenham Hotspur v Watford L 2-1
02 Feb 2019 Brighton and Hove Albion v Watford D 0-0
09 Feb 2019 Watford v Everton W 1-0
15 Feb 2019 Queens Park Rangers v Watford FAC W 0-1

Only one defeat in this run since the start of the new year, and that against high-flying Tottenham – otherwise it is progress both in the league and the cup.

True, the FA Cup run might well disrupt their focus a little, now that they are in the sixth round, but it should be noted that they are very much in the habit of not losing.  Cardiff on the other hand have lost four league matches and won just two.

But those two wins were the last two games played by Cardiff, beating Bournemouth and Southampton.  That will help Cardiff’s morale.

I suspect the best Cardiff can expect is a draw, and that they will be happy with that.  Cardiff have lost their last two games against Watford (one in the Championship, one in the Premier League) and so a draw will be an improvement.

Overall Cardiff are still possibles for relegation, so every point they can get could help – and with Southampton away to Arsenal (who have a very strong home record) it could help them pull one further point away from the bottom three.

Home and away

Pos P W D L F A GD Pts
16 Newcastle United 26 6 7 13 22 34 -12 25
17 Cardiff City 26 7 4 15 24 47 -23 25
18 Southampton 26 5 9 12 28 44 -16 24
19 Fulham 26 4 5 17 25 58 -33 17
20 Huddersfield Town 26 2 5 19 14 48 -34 11

I’ll go for a draw because of the boost of recent Cardiff results, but a decent Watford game could give them the victory by 1-2, as they must be feeling able to beat any team lower than them in the league.  The only thing that could disturb their psychology, is thoughts of the FA Cup.

Newcastle v Watford (FA Cup) Predictions, injuries, psychology

Newcastle are having a tough time of it at home this season…

Pos Club P W D L F A GD
Pts
16 Fulham 11 3 3 5 13 21 -8 12
17 Southampton 11 2 5 4 13 18 -5 11
18 Newcastle United 12 3 1 8 10 17 -7 10
19 Crystal Palace 11 2 3 6 6 11 -5 9
20 Huddersfield Town 12 1 2 9 5 19 -14 5

Just three wins and one draw with eight defeats.  And indeed only 10 goals scored at home in 12 games.

Watford away from home however are a top half team…

3 Manchester City 11 7 2 2 22 7 15 23
4 Chelsea 11 7 1 3 19 10 9 22
5 Manchester United 12 6 2 4 23 19 4 20
6 Leicester City 12 5 2 5 16 17 -1 17
7 Watford 11 4 4 3 16 14 2 16
8 Arsenal 11 4 3 4 22 22 0 15

But even so it is just four wins and four draws.  However they have scored 16 goals away from home – more than Newcastle have managed at home.

After a stream of games without a win Newcastle have come good just recently.

26 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Newcastle United L 4-0
29 Dec 2018 Watford v Newcastle United D 1-1
02 Jan 2019 Newcastle United v Manchester United L 0-2
05 Jan 2019 Newcastle United v Blackburn Rovers FAC D 1-1
12 Jan 2019 Chelsea v Newcastle United L 2-1
15 Jan 2019 Blackburn Rovers v Newcastle United FAC W 2-4
19 Jan 2019 Newcastle United v Cardiff City W 3-0

So two wins in a row, but neither against top ranking teams.   However the away game to Watford on 29 December did suggest there was not much between the two teams.

And when we come to look at it Watford have not been in shining form of late either…

26 Dec 2018 Watford v Chelsea L 1-2
29 Dec 2018 Watford v Newcastle United D 1-1
02 Jan 2019 AFC Bournemouth v Watford D 3-3
06 Jan 2019 Woking v Watford FAC W 0-2
12 Jan 2019 Crystal Palace v Watford W 1-2
19 Jan 2019 Watford v Burnley D 0-0

Yes they beat Palace away and only just lost to Chelsea, but the goalless draw with Burnley was not that brilliant a performance.

Newcastle are showing six injured or unavailable players at the present, but several of them look like they could be ready for return for the match and in the best of circumstances they could be suddenly down to just one player missing.  Data from Physioroom.

PLAYER CONDITION EXPECTED RETURN
 Kenedy Illness January 26, 2019
 F Fernandez Illness January 26, 2019
 K Sung-yeung Hamstring Injury No Return Date
 J Shelvey Thigh January 26, 2019
 M Diame Hip Injury January 26, 2019
 P Dummett Hamstring Injury January 26, 2019

Watford are curiously showing the same sort of situation.

PLAYER CONDITION EXPECTED RETURN
 K Femenia Hamstring Injury No Return Date
 A Doucoure Knee Injury January 26, 2019
 C Cathcart Knee Injury January 26, 2019
 W Hughes Conussion January 26, 2019
 S Prodl Knee Injury January 26, 2019

The psychology

Quite possibly how many players come back for each team will determine who gets through, but I suspect both sides will be nervous and this will remove any gung ho attitude on either side.   Newcastle will probably be happy for a draw as anything other than a defeat is to be welcome.  Watford will accept a draw feeling they could win the replay.

I’m going for 1-1.

Watford v Chelsea: match predictions

Watford have been having a poor run, but have suddenly come out of it in the last couple of results…

Date Game Res Score Competition
03 Nov 2018 Newcastle United v Watford L 1-0 Premier League
10 Nov 2018 Southampton v Watford D 1-1 Premier League
24 Nov 2018 Watford v Liverpool L 0-3 Premier League
01 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Watford L 2-0 Premier League
04 Dec 2018 Watford v Manchester City L 1-2 Premier League
10 Dec 2018 Everton v Watford D 2-2 Premier League
15 Dec 2018 Watford v Cardiff City W 3-2 Premier League
22 Dec 2018 West Ham United v Watford W 0-2 Premier League

Now of course neither Cardiff nor West Ham are top six teams, but even so it required a pick up in form by Watford to get those two victories, scoring five goals.   Indeed add in the Everton game and we have seven goals scored by Watford in the last three Premier League games.

And in fact when we look at Watford’s home form they are in the top half of the table

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 10 9 0 1 35 9 26 27
2 Arsenal 10 7 2 1 20 9 11 23
3 Liverpool 8 7 1 0 18 2 16 22
4 Chelsea 10 6 3 1 19 8 11 21
5 Everton 10 5 3 2 18 15 3 18
6 AFC Bournemouth 10 5 2 3 16 14 2 17
7 Tottenham Hotspur 7 5 0 2 12 6 6 15
8 Manchester United 8 4 3 1 14 11 3 15
9 Watford 9 5 0 4 14 15 -1 15

In fact Watford have the same number of home points as Tottenham and Manchester United, although to be fair they have played more games at home.  The only thing missing is the solid home defence.  15 conceded at home is problematic.

Chelsea away from home are interesting…

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 11 9 0 2 25 12 13 27
2 Liverpool 10 8 2 0 21 5 16 26
3 Manchester City 8 5 2 1 15 4 11 17
4 Chelsea 8 5 1 2 16 7 9 16
5 Arsenal 8 4 2 2 20 15 5 14
6 Manchester United 10 4 2 4 20 19 1 14
7 Leicester City 10 4 2 4 12 13 -1 14
8 Watford 9 3 3 3 11 10 1 12

Five wins one draw and two defeats is pretty much par for a top six club away from home, and 16 goals against 9 shows they probably go into this game fairly confident of a win by 2-1.

Chelsea’s recent results however are also interesting…

Date Game Res Score Competition
05 Dec 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea L 2-1 Premier League
08 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Manchester City W 2-0 Premier League
13 Dec 2018 Videoton v Chelsea D 2-2 Europa League
16 Dec 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Chelsea W 1-2 Premier League
19 Dec 2018 Chelsea v AFC Bournemouth W 1-0 League Cup
22 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Leicester City L 0-1 Premier League

We don’t need to worry too much about the Europa League game but two defeats in four Premier League games, with the team losing away to Wolverhampton and at home to Leicester suggest there is something not completely right.

When we come to the full league table, Chelsea’s expectation of a top four place and thus a return to the Champions League looks very possible – but not guaranteed.   They are unlikely, as things stand, to be caught by Manchester United (it would need a bad run by Chelsea to allow Man U to catch up) but there must also be a concern that Arsenal could overtake them

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 18 15 3 0 39 7 32 48
2 Manchester City 18 14 2 2 50 13 37 44
3 Tottenham Hotspur 18 14 0 4 37 18 19 42
4 Chelsea 18 11 4 3 35 15 20 37
5 Arsenal 18 11 4 3 40 24 16 37
6 Manchester United 18 8 5 5 34 30 4 29
7 Watford 18 8 3 7 25 25 0 27

Chelsea’s victory over the 7th placed team is still likely, but it can’t be taken utterly for granted and there is an outside chance of a draw.  But a Watford victory would be a shock.

West Ham v Watford: the predictions

West Ham v Watford is one of those strange games that doesn’t always turn out as one might expect.

Here are the results since 1994 at West Ham’s ground…

08 Jan 1994 West Ham United v Watford W 2-1 FA Cup
11 Sep 1999 West Ham United v Watford W 1-0 Premier League
01 May 2004 West Ham United v Watford W 4-0 League Division 1
27 Nov 2004 West Ham United v Watford W 3-2 League Championship
27 Jan 2007 West Ham United v Watford L 0-1 FA Cup
10 Feb 2007 West Ham United v Watford L 0-1 Premier League
07 Mar 2012 West Ham United v Watford D 1-1 League Championship
20 Apr 2016 West Ham United v Watford W 3-1 Premier League
10 Sep 2016 West Ham United v Watford L 2-4 Premier League
As we can see, in the 1990s and early 2000s West Ham won four in a row.  Since then they have gone five with only one win.  Not what one might expect without looking up the record.
In terms of overall form the clubs this season have a very similar record…
Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Liverpool 17 14 3 0 37 7 30 45
2 Manchester City 17 14 2 1 48 10 38 44
3 Tottenham Hotspur 17 13 0 4 31 16 15 39
4 Chelsea 17 11 4 2 35 14 21 37
5 Arsenal 17 10 4 3 37 23 14 34
6 Manchester United 17 7 5 5 29 29 0 26
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 17 7 4 6 19 19 0 25
8 Everton 17 6 6 5 24 22 2 24
9 West Ham United 17 7 3 7 25 25 0 24
10 Watford 17 7 3 7 23 25 -2 24

In fact the only difference between their overall form is that Watford have scored two goals fewer than West Ham.  It is a remarkable link between the two sides.

So what of West Ham at home

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Manchester City 9 9 0 0 33 6 27 27
2 Liverpool 8 7 1 0 18 2 16 22
3 Chelsea 9 6 3 0 19 7 12 21
4 Arsenal 9 6 2 1 17 8 9 20
5 Everton 9 5 3 1 16 9 7 18
6 Tottenham Hotspur 7 5 0 2 12 6 6 15
7 Manchester United 8 4 3 1 14 11 3 15
8 Watford 9 5 0 4 14 15 -1 15
9 Brighton and Hove Albion 8 4 2 2 13 10 3 14
10 Wolverhampton Wanderers 9 4 2 3 12 11 1 14
11 AFC Bournemouth 9 4 2 3 14 14 0 14
12 West Ham United 9 4 1 4 14 14 0 13

West Ham have four wins, one draw and four defeats, with goal difference of zero.

As for Watford who are away,  here is how their away form pans out so far

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 10 8 0 2 19 10 9 24
2 Liverpool 9 7 2 0 19 5 14 23
3 Manchester City 8 5 2 1 15 4 11 17
4 Chelsea 8 5 1 2 16 7 9 16
5 Arsenal 8 4 2 2 20 15 5 14
6 West Ham United 8 3 2 3 11 11 0 11
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 8 3 2 3 7 8 -1 11
8 Leicester City 9 3 2 4 11 13 -2 11
9 Manchester United 9 3 2 4 15 18 -3 11
10 Newcastle United 8 2 4 2 7 7 0 10
11 Watford 8 2 3 3 9 10 -1 9
A slightly worse record emerges: two wins, three draws, three defeats, and a goal difference of -1.
Looking at the goals scored so far we might go for West Ham 2 Watford 1 – if it were not for that habit Watford have of doing ok away to West Ham.  A second bet could be to go for a draw however.
West Ham have certainly picked up after their very dodgy start with four wins in their last five…
24 Nov 2018 West Ham United v Manchester City L 0-4 Premier League
01 Dec 2018 Newcastle United v West Ham United W 0-3 Premier League
04 Dec 2018 West Ham United v Cardiff City W 3-1 Premier League
08 Dec 2018 West Ham United v Crystal Palace W 3-2 Premier League
15 Dec 2018 Fulham v West Ham United W 0-2 Premier League

However these games have all been against clubs that are not doing particularly well this season.  Yes they have scored 11 in the last four, but against teams with very dodgy defences.

Watford’s results of late have been patchy to say the least.  Here are their last 10

06 Oct 2018 Watford v AFC Bournemouth L 0-4 Premier League
20 Oct 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers v Watford W 0-2 Premier League
27 Oct 2018 Watford v Huddersfield Town W 3-0 Premier League
03 Nov 2018 Newcastle United v Watford L 1-0 Premier League
10 Nov 2018 Southampton v Watford D 1-1 Premier League
24 Nov 2018 Watford v Liverpool L 0-3 Premier League
01 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Watford L 2-0 Premier League
04 Dec 2018 Watford v Manchester City L 1-2 Premier League
10 Dec 2018 Everton v Watford D 2-2 Premier League
15 Dec 2018 Watford v Cardiff City W 3-2 Premier League

Seven games with just one win – that recent result against Watford.  And their two wins before that were against teams also in difficulty at the time – Wolverhampton and Huddersfield.

Despite the draw against Everton and win over Cardiff, it is hard to see Watford getting anything out of this game unless lady luck really turns to smile on them.