Cardiff City seek rare lead to tame Terriers

Victor Camarasa celebrates scoring Cardiff City's late winner against Leicester City in December
Victor Camarasa celebrates scoring Cardiff City's late winner against Leicester City in December

In their 21 Premier League games so far this season, Cardiff City have led for a grand total of just 93 minutes.

It is a startling statistic which might lead you to assume Neil Warnock's side are at the bottom of the table.

No team in the top flight, after all, have been in front so rarely in 2018-19.

Yet Cardiff go into their home fixture with Huddersfield Town on Saturday with eight more points than their opponents.

It is the Terriers who are propping up the rest in the Premier League, with only two wins and 10 points to their credit thus far.

Huddersfield have been ahead for a cumulative total of 280 minutes in the league this season, but Cardiff noses have been in front more often when it has mattered most.

The Bluebirds managed last-gasp winners against Brighton & Hove Albion and Leicester City.

Cardiff also scored decisive goals in the latter stages of their victories over Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton.

The earliest they have taken the lead was when Bobby Reid struck to make it 2-1 after only 20 minutes against Fulham in October, although they were pegged back just 14 minutes later.

Cardiff would go on to win the game 4-2, leading for a relatively lengthy 25 minutes in the second half.

Not once since they were promoted from the Championship have Warnock's side come in at half-time with an advantage.

They have, though, scored 13 goals in the second halves of games - which is as many as Huddersfield have managed in total this season.

Warnock has therefore had more to smile about than David Wagner, the man who will be in the opposing dugout at the Cardiff City Stadium this weekend.

Cardiff manager Neil Warnock reacts during the 3-2 loss against Arsenal
Cardiff boss Neil Warnock says this season is 'not very good for my ticker'

Cardiff's veteran manager acknowledges, however, that the nature of his team's successes has made them difficult to enjoy.

"It's scandalous isn't it really?" Warnock said.

"How many managers have been able to enjoy football with 93 minutes in front?

"But to have 18 points shows the resolve of the players, the determination of the players and the character.

"It makes me really proud of them, but it's not very good for my ticker I'm afraid."

Cardiff have played 1,890 minutes of Premier League football in all this season.

The next 90 could be particularly significant, with Wagner suggesting Huddersfield simply have to win in the Welsh capital having lost their last eight league matches.

A Terriers triumph would haul them back into the race to avoid relegation.

Victory for Cardiff could see them climb to as high as 15th in the table, depending on results elsewhere.

"Like David says, Huddersfield need to win this game, so I think it will be far more open," Warnock suggested.

Who knows, there might even be an early Cardiff goal.