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cardiff v preston

Championship Review, Monday 22nd Feb 2021

The often-chaotic second tier of English football served up another slice of madness this past weekend as the Championship’s promotion and relegation battles heat up heading into March.

Cardiff 4-0 Preston

Cardiff City’s resurgence under Mick McCarthy goes on after a mesmerising 4-0 triumph over Preston North End.

Kieffer Moore scored from the penalty spot with less than two minutes gone as Josh Murphy, Marlon Pack and Mark Harris piled on with goals of their own in the second half – and in the midst of all that, the visitors also missed two penalties thanks to Dillon Phillips’ heroics.

Cardiff will now prepare for Bournemouth and you can back them to win at 12/5 here, as Preston regroup before winnable fixtures against QPR and Huddersfield.

Watford 2-1 Derby

Watford’s promotion push continues to gain momentum after a fascinating 2-1 win over Wayne Rooney’s Derby County.

Two quickfire goals from Joao Pedro and Will Hughes seemed to put the hosts in full control of the game, only for a William Troost-Ekong own goal to create a tense final 15 minutes with Watford just about holding on for the three points.

The Hornets will return to action in another double game week against Blackburn and Bournemouth with Derby’s survival push bringing forth clashes with Huddersfield and bitter rivals Nottingham Forest and you can back them to beat Forest here at 7/5.

Coventry 2-0 Brentford

A Tyler Walker brace lifted Coventry City to a somewhat surprising 2-0 win over promotion candidates Brentford.

The bookies would’ve been equally as surprised to see Walker score in either half to produce what can be described as one of the shock Championship results of 2021 thus far.

Their reward for such a strong performance is going to be two tough games against Swansea and Blackburn this week. Brentford, on the other hand, are scrambling for positive results and will hope to find them against Sheffield Wednesday and Stoke, back Brentford to beat Stoke here at 5/6.

Norwich City

Norwich 1-0 Rotherham

Norwich strengthened their grip on the Championship’s top spot with a narrow 1-0 win over Rotherham United at Carrow Road.

The one and only Teemu Pukki scored the only goal of the game in the 17th minute, with the Millers showing great resolve to hang in there and battle it out with the Canaries.

Norwich face, on paper, a favourable gameweek with meetings against Birmingham and Wycombe in the next few days, whereas Rotherham should fancy their chances against both Nottingham Forest and Reading, and you can get them to beat reading here at 17/10.

Huddersfield 4-1 Swansea

The theme of “anything can happen in the Championship” was proven once again on Saturday when Huddersfield Town dismantled Swansea City 4-1.

Even the most confident of Huddersfield fans may have avoided including their side in an acca this weekend, but they were made to look foolish as Fraizer Campbell, Lewis O’Brien and Duane Holmes scored four between them to cancel out Conor Hourihane’s equaliser just before half time.

The Terriers now head into battle against Derby and Preston as Swansea face two potential banana skins in Coventry and Bristol City, get Swansea to beat Bristol City here at 8/13

Stoke 3-0 Luton

Stoke City gave their promotion hopes an injection of life courtesy of a 3-0 win over Luton Town.

The Hatters enjoyed long spells of possession but couldn’t translate that into goals, with a Nick Powell brace and a Steven Fletcher strike showcasing the Potters’ ability to grind out wins.

Barnsley and Brentford are next up for Stoke whereas Luton are lined up to meet Millwall and Sheffield Wednesday, Get Luton to beat Millwall at 13/8 here.

Sheffield Wednesday 0-1 Birmingham

Birmingham City won a crucial relegation six-pointer against a Sheffield Wednesday side struggling to find their groove.

A Liam Shaw red card for the Owls may have given the Blues the boost they needed to kick on and win the game, but even before the red, bookies wouldn’t have been taking too many bets on them to win.

They’ll hope that their fortunes can change against Brentford and Luton this week, although we do think Birmingham will be more confident out of the two even when locking up with Norwich and QPR. Get Norwich to beat Birmingham here at 7/10.

Neil Warnock

Reading 0-2 Middlesbrough

A quickfire double Middlesbrough the edge they needed to overcome Reading at the Madejski Stadium.

The Neil Warnock effect continues to push Boro on towards the top six with Ashley Fletcher and Marc Bola scoring the all-important goals in an impressive seven-minute spell.

Reading need to regroup for a favourable Rotherham and Wycombe doubleheader, and on the flip side, Middlesbrough meet Bristol City and Cardiff City. You can get Middlesbrough to beat Cardiff City here at 7/10.

QPR 2-1 Bournemouth

Queens Park Rangers took advantage of Bournemouth’s managerial woes by beating them in a dramatic encounter on Saturday.

A dull first half wouldn’t have encouraged anyone to put on an over 2.5 goals bet heading into the second, but Stefan Johansen livened things up with a 58th-minute goal to give QPR the lead. Shane Long did manage to make it 1-1, only for Todd Kane to score the winner with just seven minutes left in London.

QPR now face winnable games against Preston and Birmingham, with Bournemouth having to endure a tough double-header in the form of Cardiff and Watford. Get QPR to beat Preston at 13/8 here.

Bristol City 0-1 Barnsley

Bristol City’s dreadful form goes on after a 1-0 humbling courtesy of playoff hopefuls Barnsley.

The Robins’ season seems to be going from bad to worse with each and every passing week, and it was left to Carlton Morris to compile their misery with the winning goal midway through the second half.

City will hope to improve against Middlesbrough and Swansea, whereas Barnsley know wins over Stoke and Millwall would put them in a really profitable position. Get Barnsley to beat Millwall here at 11/10.

Millwall 0-0 Wycombe

Millwall and Wycombe played out one of the weekend’s duller affairs in a 0-0 draw at The Den.

With 22 efforts between them it’s not like the game was short of intrigue, however, those who wanted to see a BTTS come in for their acca would’ve been left with a bitter taste in their mouth.

The hosts will now gear up for fixtures against rivals Luton and in-form Barnsley, but bottom of the table Wycombe will have a more stressful time knowing that defeats to Reading and Norwich will take them a step closer towards relegation. Get Wycombe to draw against reading here at 5/2.

Nottingham Forest 1-0 Blackburn

Nottingham Forest put some breathing space between themselves and the bottom three by beating Blackburn Rovers 1-0 on Saturday.

Alex Mighten scored the game’s only goal in the 25th minute and from that point on, Rovers never really looked like threatening in a serious way as their mediocre campaign continues.

Forest will know the game against Rotherham during the week is a big one, but their real focus will be on tackling bitter rivals Derby County this Friday. Elsewhere, Blackburn have a tough few days on their hands with back-to-back Ewood Park fixtures against Watford and Coventry. Get Coventry to beat Blackburn here at 14/5.

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