Everton vs. Cardiff: Date, Time, Live Stream Info, Prediction and Preview

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Everton vs. Cardiff: Date, Time, Live Stream Info, Prediction and Preview
Jan Kruger/Getty Images

The battle at the top and bottom of the Premier League continues this weekend, as relegation-threatened Cardiff City travel to Merseyside to face Everton.

Both teams are currently lodged in the bottom half of the form guide, per the Premier League website

Everton have had a strong campaign but have only won two of their previous six league matches. However, at Goodison Park they have won five from six, with the only anomaly being a 1-0 defeat to Sunderland.

Cardiff have also won just two of their last six matches, but have failed to win away from home in their last 11 attempts.

You need to go back to September to find their last away win, which occurred at Craven Cottage against fellow strugglers Fulham

Here is the vital match information for this game and where you can watch it:

 

When: Saturday, March 15, at 3 p.m. GMT/ 11 a.m. ET

Where: Goodison Park, Liverpool, U.K.

Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra (U.S. only)

 

Key Storylines

Solskjaer Struggles

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have known that taking his option to leave the relative comfort of Norway to return to life in the Premier League was a gamble of sorts. 

Replacing a hugely popular manager at Cardiff, with the fans if not the owner, was always going to be a tricky affair for the Manchester United legend.

The Welsh capital's football club lies on the edge of the relegation zone in 18th position, per BBC Sport, and—with games running out—a drop back into the Championship seems a likely scenario. 

Vincent Tan has pumped a lot of cash into his team, and relegation will represent total failure, with his popularity amongst supporters now at an all-time low.

Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Tan's comments do not help the Cardiff cause to remain in the top division.

He told BBC Sport last month, as reported by David Ornstein: "One day we are a hero, another day we are a zero. Without me, Cardiff would have gone bust. Because of my investment, we got promoted."

Sky Sports also reported on Roberto Martinez's opinion, that he was not sure if Solskjaer could stop Cardiff's relegation after joining the club midseason. He said:

It is difficult. It is very rare you get a real improvement for the long-term. In the short term they sometimes get a positive reaction but a change rarely affects things in a good way for the long term. Sometimes we get those decisions.

Overall you don't want to see those sort of changes and I personally don't believe the quick turnaround of a manager will give you long-term success unless you appoint the right man.

A win at Goodison Park seems highly unlikely, and with Sunderland just one point behind them with three games in hand, Solskjaer needs to find a winning formula quickly. 

 

Has Martinez Underachieved This Season?

Paul Thomas/Getty Images

There is little doubt that Everton have played some attractive football this season, and the hallmark of Roberto Martinez's philosophy was key to this earlier in the year.

The club threatened to penetrate the top four after the loan acquisition of Romelu Lukaku, but they now sit in seventh position in the Premier League, and their form has slowly started to evaporate.

Despite being pretty on the eye, the team has only managed to score 38 times in 27 league matches this season, per Squawka, proving they are nowhere near the finished article.

Everton have only managed to win four league games since Boxing Day, and it is this kind of inconsistency that dogged Martinez previously at Wigan Athletic. 

The supporters still seem to be behind David Moyes' successor, but a fine finish to the campaign is now essential. A slip into mid-table is possible if Newcastle and Southampton bridge the small gap between the clubs. 

It will be a nervous last few games of 2013-14 for Martinez and his staff.

 

Prediction

Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Despite their sliding form, you cannot say that Everton will fall at the feet of a weak Cardiff City line-up.

Solskjaer's team have lacked any kind of performance level away from home, and Goodison Park is a safe haven for Martinez's men.

Everton's recent defeats have come against Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool, so a matchup against Cardiff will be welcomed as a slight relief. 

It should be a comfortable win for the Evertonians on Saturday, with a place in the Europa League for next season still being a motivation and a possibility. 

Cardiff will need to battle to the bitter end if they are to have any chance of staying up. 

Predicted Score: 2-0 Everton

 

 

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