Play-Off First Leg Key Stats
- Home teams have gone W7-D9-L12 in the first leg since 2005/06, with 17 being level at the break.
- Since 2010/11, these opening leg play-off fixtures have produced just four games with more than two strikes from the 18 such matches, as 10 saw one goal or fewer and 13 saw one side or the other fail to register, while all seven draws finished Draw/Draw in the HT/FT market.
- Six of the eight victories for the home side have finished to nil since 2004/05, with all but two of those such wins seeing fewer than three strikes, as half finished 1-0.
- In the past 11 seasons there’s only been three first leg of the 22 semi-finals that saw one side or the other triumph by margin of two goals or more, as these first legs have been overwhelmingly low-scoring affairs. Under 2.5 Goals landed in 77.3% of these games and Under 1.5 in 54.6%.
With two Welsh teams battling it out in different play-offs this season they could soon be represented in the top flight once again. This fixture sees two of last years’ relegated sides battle it out and it looks set to be an intriguing matchup.
Fulham hold the better record in their meetings since the start of last season, going W2-D1-L1, though both victories came at Craven Cottage, while each of the last three meetings saw a maximum of two goals.
The last of them came earlier this month in South West London with the Cottagers taking the proceedings 2-0, but now over in Wales the Bluebirds will want to put a marker down.
Cardiff And Fulham To Draw
Cardiff have won six of their nine matches since the return of football, climbing impressively into the play-off spots from 11th place to fifth, which also included a 2-0 victory of their own against Championship winners Leeds.
That’ll certainly ease the nerves considering they’re the form side heading into this fixture with three wins on the trot, although their form versus fellow top-six sides leaves a lot to be desired.
Indeed, a record of W2-D4-L4 from 10 such matches is fairly poor, though on home turf alone that’s a much better two wins from five unbeaten outings, as each of those stalemates were also level at the break too.
The visitors can improve on that slightly up against the same bracket of opposition, going W4-D3-L3 as each of their defeats came against teams that finished above them in Brentford (twice) and the Whites, while on the road that record reads just W1-D2-L2.
Interestingly, all three of their stalemates against such sides were also level at both half time and full time. With this likely to be a nervy encounter, that could well be the way to go again.
Half-Time/Full-Time – Draw/Draw
Moreover, Scott Parker’s men have drawn over half their last 11 road trips as they’ve been level after 45 minutes in seven of the 11 in total (five D/D - HT/FT), with two of the times they failed to do so when trailing those aforementioned teams ahead of them in the table.
Cardiff too have been notorious for a draw in more recent times in Wales, finishing all square in seven of their last 13 here, as all but two of those finished D/D in the HT/FT market. Considering that was also the case in the fixture here between these two back in August, that gets our backing.