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Cardiff City-West Ham United Preview
No longer mired in the Premier League relegation zone, Cardiff City might be playing well enough to keep the victories coming.
They'll look again to win back-to-back league matches for the first time this season when they visit the Olympic Stadium to face West Ham United on Tuesday night.
Cardiff (3-2-9) didn't win their first top-flight game until Oct. 20, but after losing the next two fixtures, earned a 2-1 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion on Nov. 10. The Bluebirds followed that defeat with a 1-0 loss at Everton, but regrouped and bounced back this weekend to stun Wolverhampton 2-1.
Playing on manager Neil Warnock's 70th birthday, Cardiff fell behind after 18 minutes and were searching for answers until Aron Gunnarsson equalised in the 65th minute. They took the lead for good in the 77th on Junior Hoilett's sensational curling goal that left Wolves' fans stunned.
Cardiff, who catapulted out of the drop zone and into 16th place in the table, have needed to come back in each of their three triumphs this season.
"I think our ability to come from behind shows the character we have in the squad," Bluebirds captain Sean Morrison told the club's official website. "Our promotion campaign was built on togetherness and I think we showed that again.
"A lot of people doubt we can stay in this league this season, but a lot of pundits also said that we couldn't get promoted. We use this as fuel. The group of boys we've got is fantastic and we've got a lot of heart and desire and we'll see how far that take takes us."
Beginning the busy stretch of three games in eight days with a victory solidifies Cardiff as a club that's finally learning how to prevail somewhat consistently. At least in terms of how things started in their return to the Premier League.
"It was great to get a positive result (Saturday) and we'll go again Tuesday," Hoilett said. "We all play for the manager and give 100 percent. We've got a great squad and you can see how hard we work for each other. If we can play as positively as we did in the second half (against Wolves) then we'll give ourselves a chance."
Whilst Cardiff's confidence might be at a season high, West Ham (4-3-7) have continued to produce points of late. The Hammers opened October with defeats to Brighton & Hove Album and Spurs, but are 2-2-1 on the follow.
Their most recent triumph came Saturday, impressively 3-0 at Newcastle United. Chicharito scored in the 11th and again in the 64th minute, and Felipe Anderson added one for good measure in second-half stoppage time to secure the rout for the visitors. It was also a good sign for the Hammers, who endured a rout of their own last week - 4-0 against leaders Manchester City.
West Ham are 13th in the table, five points out of the top-half.
"Certainly, this season we haven't been able to be consistent," Anderson told West Ham's official website. "We play very well one match and then the next one we can't manage to sustain the same level of performance. But now we expect to change that flow and manage to have a streak of victories to realise our potential. We have the will and the quality to do it."
The Hammers have won six straight over Cardiff in all competitions, but these sides have not met since the 2013-14 Premier League campaign.
Updated December 2, 2018