Leicester City welcome Cardiff City to the King Power Stadium on Saturday for a game that is the highlight of the pre-Christmas fixture list in the Championship.
The weekend’s action sees fifth take on first, with the lower-placed Foxes seeking to move within four points of their Welsh opponents and position themselves for an assault on the automatic promotion spots in the new year.
Winning against Cardiff is no easy feat though, as many teams have discovered already this campaign, but the Bluebirds’ confidence may have been dented after the shock defeat at the hands of rock bottom Peterborough in their previous match.
Goals from Michael Bostwick and Dwayne Gayle gave the visitors a 2-0 advantage after 47 minutes and Cardiff could not find a response until one minute from time, when Rudy Gestede struck his first goal of the season.
The league leaders losing to a side in the drop zone will always cause shockwaves through any league, but Posh’s 2-1 victory at the Cardiff City Stadium was even more surprising for the fact that up until that point, Cardiff had won every game in front of their home supporters.
The test then for Malky Mackay’s side this week is to respond positively to the disappointment of that defeat and avoid losing two consecutive matches for only the second time this season.
Unfortunately for the Scottish manager, the odds in bwin’s 3-way betting market do not make happy reading as his side are 27/10 outsiders, with the draw priced at 12/5 and Leicester comfortable 19/20 favourites with the bookies.
It’s not often that Cardiff have found themselves at such long odds this season, but the pricing is justified as their away record is decidedly mediocre compared to Leicester’s fine home form.
The Foxes have, like Cardiff, only lost once on their own patch (to then-league leaders Crystal Palace) and have scored 14 goals in their last four matches at the King Power.
Cardiff, on the other hand, have not enjoyed their travels a great deal with only two wins in their past six away games, although they did thrash Blackburn 4-1 the week before last.
It’s easy to see then why the odds are so heavily stacked against the visitors on Saturday, but one thing on Cardiff’s side is their record of being in a losing position just five times at the halfway point in their 22 league matches.
This is the best record in the Championship and is far superior to that of Leicester, who sit 14th in this particular table.
Bwin is offering 3/1 on Cardiff to lead at half-time and that certainly seems worth a bet, as does 13/10 on Leicester to gain revenge by getting the better of the second 45 minutes, especially as they have the strongest record in the second half of their home games.
Also worth a punt is the 5/2 on the away side scoring more in the first half than the second, given that Leicester have only conceded twice after the interval all season.