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Huff, Puff, But No Cutting Edge. Cardiff Reflections
Here are my reflections on the game between Blues and Cardiff City at St Andrews.
I will admit that it saddened me and shocked me somewhat that the final whistle was greeted by boos from the Tilton. Booing players should be reserved for when there is no gall, no gumption and no effort and none of that was true today. I don’t think we could have expected more of the team – there was plenty of effort, they tried really hard but for one reason or another it didn’t run for them. This is a team missing twelve players at kick off, which lost two more players during the game. A team whose leading scorer on the pitch was a centre back and who has as one of its most experienced players an 18-year-old. Whilst there have been abject performances from Blues in the past this wasn’t one of them. We’ll play worse than this and win.
The front three
I felt a lot for Nathan Redmond, Rob Hall and Ravel Morrison. You can see all three are skilful players, all three obviously like to play together and work well together. However, playing the three of them in and around the front meant that there was no presence, no strength up front and consequently they found it hard to penetrate the Cardiff defence to any meaningful degree. It was painfully obvious that none are strikers because of the lack of efforts that they had on goal; Morrison often took three extra touches and lost the ball when maybe a snap shot would have served him better. This isn’t their fault though – this is the way they play, with quick feet and jinking runs. However, we needed a targetman, someone who could win the ball with their back to goal and then spread the play forwards – we didn’t have that at all.
I will admit pre-match I was concerned that despite some previously shocking performances Steven Caldwell was still in the line-up. However, credit to the Scotsman, he actually had a half decent game as did Curtis Davies next to him. Whilst the Blues defence weren’t always in control Cardiff didn’t actually massively impose themselves on us and I can’t remember Jack Butland having to make that many saves (barring the one that spooned off him for the goal). I think someone has gotten through to Caldwell that sometimes lumping it forwards doesn’t work and Blues did try to play more patiently out from the back – albeit sometimes to the frustration of the crowd who wanted them to “gerrit forwards”.
The injuries are piling up for Blues; if Packwood, Reilly or Mullins can’t fight off their injuries for the visit to Leeds I make it thirteen players out injured, one suspended (Nikola Zigic), one cup-tied (Jake Jervis) and potentially one ineligible (Robert Hall) a back of the envelope calculation names nineteen players we can use and that includes players like James Fry, Josh Hawker, and Reece Hales. Worrying times.
Today wasn’t as enjoyable as the three home games that preceded it but it wasn’t as shockingly bad as I think some have made out. We’re very much in a relegation dogfight now and to use a McLeishism every point is a prisoner. One can only hope that by the time Blues go to Huddersfield they’ll have some more players to bring back.