Neil Warnock believes, that at the very least, Cardiff City have boosted Sky Sports’ viewing figures for the club’s televised clash against title-chasing Liverpool on Sunday.
Not many neutrals would have given Cardiff much hope of taking anything from that fixture, had the Bluebirds lost to Brighton on Tuesday night.
But their transformational 2-0 victory at the Amex Stadium – only Cardiff’s third victory away from home this season – has dramatically altered their Premier League survival hopes.
The gap between Cardiff and Brighton above them has been reduced from five to just two points and although the Seagulls still have a game in hand, Cardiff could conceivably be out of the relegation zone on Sunday night if they produce the shock of the season to beat Liverpool and Brighton lose away to Wolves.
That would be an Easter resurrection story even Warnock may not have had faith in as he insisted his players have sold Sunday’s clash in a way the TV trails could not have done.
“We’ve made it interesting for Sky for Sunday,” said Warnock.
“It’s better than us being relegated so it’s going to be a good game on Sunday [against Liverpool] – a full house.
“We are alive and kicking. We’ve got four games left altogether and we’ve got to do the best we can.”
Cardiff are still odds-on favourites with the bookies to be relegated, but whereas they were 11-1-on before the win on the south coast, they are now only 3-1-on.
Brighton’s odds have come down to 9-4, reflecting their tough run, when four of their last opponents are from the Premier League’s top eight.
Even so, Brighton still have a 12-goal advantage in terms of goal difference. That means that even if they lose all four of those games – against Wolves, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City – they would still get to 36 points if they won their other match at home to Newcastle, who are more or less safe.
That would mean Cardiff need to reach 37 – requiring at least six more points from games against Liverpool, away to Fulham, at home to Crystal Palace and at Manchester United.
Brighton manager Chris Hughton insists the have enough in the bank – in terms of experience – to deny Cardiff.
He said: “We’ve shown enough resilience, quality and togetherness in this group of players at various times in my time here, and in this division.
“At the minute, it’s a big blow and a bad week. But the players have no choice but to turn it around, through hard work, teamwork and togetherness.
“I do believe we will stay up because I have to. It’s in our own hands.
“It’s been a really bad week, and it’s not a nice feeling at the moment, but we have to use that in whichever way we can to get the points we need to stay in this division.”
- Cardiff have completed the league double over Brighton for the first time since the 1998-99 season in the fourth tier; having won the reverse fixture 2-1 in November.
- Cardiff City have won a top-flight away match by more than a single goal for the first time since November 1956 (2-0 at Charlton Athletic).
- Only already relegated Fulham (6) and Huddersfield (4) have won fewer Premier League points in 2019 than Brighton (8).
- Brighton have lost three consecutive home league games for the first time since January 2016 in the Championship – they failed to score a single goal in both these losing runs.
- Cardiff’s Nathaniel Mendez-Laing scored just his second Premier League goal of the season with the opener, each of his goals have come away from home on a Tuesday night
- Cardiff’s Sean Morrison has scored his third Premier League goal, his first for the Bluebirds and his first for 2327 days since scoring for Reading against Manchester United in December 2012.
- Before scoring, Morrison had the highest Expected Goals (xG) total in the Premier League of all players to not score in the competition in 2018-19 (3.6). He scored with his 27th shot of the season.