Finally there – now time for sweet revenge! 24/04/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2009/10.
Tags: Dave Jones, Joe Ledley, Play Offs, Q.P.R., Sheffield Wednesday
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A week has gone since that great Play Off clinching win against Q.P.R. Up until Joe Ledley’s goal at Loftus Road I had a bad feeling City would stumble as we did last season and that there would be no Play Offs. It’s an unbelievable achivement from the players, manager Dave Jones and his staff that City managed to end up in the top six considering the season it’s been with financial problems off the field and a threadbare squad that wasn’t strengthened during the January transfer window. Now it’s just the small matter of winning the three Play Off matches to see us promoted and make sure the tremendous achievement isn’t in vain, but having been rather pessimistic earlier in the season I now truly believe Cardiff City can become the Play Off winners of the Championship this season.
Two league games remain before the Play Offs though, and next up is Sheffield Wednesday at home this afternoon. Sheffield Wednesday is the team that ultimately denied us a place in the Play Offs last season when they beat us 1-0 in the final game. That means it’s revenge time, and revenge could be very sweet as a Cardiff win could see the Owls as good as relegated!
It’s still feels strange looking at the table standings from the Championship before the last game last season. Cardiff were in fifth place, three points ahead of Preston in seventh and even a point ahead of sixth placed Burnley, who went on to win the Play Offs and get promoted. The 0-6 Preston defeat was the start of the unbelievable slump at the end of last season, but it was the 0-1 defeat against Sheffield Wednesday that sent us out of the Play Offs. Please let’s give them a beating today!
Insiders vs. outsiders 08/04/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2009/10.
Tags: Chris Burke, Reading
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Cardiff’s next opponent Reading are outsiders for a play off spot.
Reading have struggled for a lot of the season. They were widely tipped to be one of the promotion contenders before the season, but had an awful start. I was at the Madejski Stadium back in November when Cardiff played the Royals, and they weren’t a very impressive side as City won 1-0 thanks to a goal by Chris Burke.
Having replaced Brendan Rodgers with Brian McDermott as manager on the 16th of December last year the tide has slowly turned for Reading though and they are actually within a shout of the play offs should they win the two games in hand hey have on all the teams above them.
It’s vital for Cardiff to take three points on Saturday to edge a step closer to the play offs and at the same time kill off any faint hopes Reading have of making it there themselves.
Should Blackpool loose against Newcastle and Cardiff beat Reading there will be nine points between City and seventh place with three games to go. That would mean we’re as good as there. Should Cardiff on the other hand loose and Blackpool win it’ll be a more exciting run in than I appreciate…
No fears 05/04/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2009/10.
Tags: Anthony Gerrard, Chris Burke, Chris Gunter, Dave Jones, David Marshall, Joe Ledley, Kelvin Etuhu, Nottingham Forest, Peter Whittingham, Robert Earnshaw, Ross McCormack, Stephen McPhail
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Nottingham Forest 0 Cardiff City 0
An away draw against Nottingham Forest is definitely a point gained, and it’s great that having beaten both Leicester and Swansea recently Cardiff have shown there’s no need to have any fears in meeting these teams again should that happen in the play offs.
I got to watch the game thanks to the live streaming at bet365.com, and despite the game ending all square it was an eventful and fun match to watch.
Cardiff had to play without the injured Peter Whittingham which made way for Joe Ledley in the starting eleven. Chris Burke is still injured, so Kelvin Etuhu took place on one wing and Ross McCormack on the other. Etuhu deserves a mention, as he had a very good first 45 minutes making some brilliant runs showing his Premier League class.
There were two former Bluebirds in Forest’s line up: Robert Earnshaw and Chris Gunter. It was a nice gesture from the former when he just after missing a chance in the first half did the Ayatholla at the request of the Cardiff following.
There were chances both ways before the break. Cardiff looked particularly dangerous on corners and set pieces, but sadly couldn’t convert any of them into goals.
The first half also saw two “suicide attempts” from City. The first let Earnshaw through one on one with Marshall after a ball strangely being played high back into Cardiff’s own half by a City player. You would expect Earnie to score given a chance like that, but Marshall saved brilliantly. The second one came as Stephen McPhail wanted to take a free kick quickly in Forest’s half ignoring the two Nottingham players standing in his way only a meter or so in front of him. The ref let play continue probably thinking he’d punish McPhail for being stupid enough to take the free kick too fast, and Forest immediately attacked and nearly scored.
In the second half there was another “suicide attempt” as City gave the ball away near the goal, but again David Marshall pulled of a world class save.
Towards the end there was an unbelievable situation when Gerrard and Marshall – yes, that’s two Cardiff players – literally got in the throat of each other. What stupidity! They should have been booked the pair of them, and judging from Dave Jones’ reaction he’ll probably give them a deserved talking to. It was Gerrard who started it when he in a not very friendly way told Marshall he should have shouted for the ball. Marshall reacted and it was embarrassing to see them not being able to calm down and leave the discussion for after the match. Going off the field after the final whistle you could see them shaking hands and smiling, but a bust up like that doesn’t happen unless there’s some underlying reason.
Four league games to go now and Cardiff are still fourth with a six point gap down to in form Blackpool in seventh place. Sadly Swansea, Leicester and Blackpool all won today, so we’re not there quite yet. Apart from the incident involving Gerrard and Marshall though City can at least go into the final games feeling confident.
Fantastic! 04/04/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2009/10.
Tags: Dave Jones, David Marshall, Jay Bothroyd, Leicester, Michael Chopra, Paulo Sousa, Stephen McPhail, Swansea
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Cardiff City 2 Swansea City 1
Usually Cardiff don’t play too well and go behind against Swansea. This time around they were the better team until the goal against came on 28 minutes. It probably shouldn’t have been a corner when Swansea scored, but on the other hand Cardiff shouldn’t have let the ball go straight in either. On Tuesday Leicester should have had a goal given just before half time, so I guess wrong decisions like this even out over the season.
But why on earth didn’t Cardiff put any players at the posts for Swansea’s corners? Do they never, or was it just in this game? A defender at the near post would probably have hindered the goal, and the repetitions show that David Marshall desperately tries to get Stephen McPhail to back a few metres nearer to the goal before the corner is taken.
The Jacks looked nervous at the beginning. As the game wore on they got their renowned passing game going, and it frustrated Cardiff who for long periods didn’t touch the ball. Still the overall position was 50-50, and Swansea’s passing game isn’t much good when they can’t use it to get forward and score goals.
Cardiff’s equalizer was a great finish by Chopra after a superb flicking header by Jay Bothroyd. Chopra’s goal was not as easy as it looked as the ball bounced off the ground just before he shot. Great control and technique by a natural born goalscorer.
In the second half I couldn’t believe my eyes as Joe Ledley came on. I thought he was a lot further of recovering from his hip operations, but what a perfect match for him to return!
As the clock ticked on towards full time it seemed very much like a draw was on the cards. I got a bit worried as the Jacks sent Shefki Kuqi on, as I think he’s a terrific player and a notorious goal scorer where ever he’s played. Luckily his header near the end wasn’t quite good enough when given time and space in front of Marshall and it was also a brilliant save from Cardiff’s custodian. What followed was amazing. Chopra’s movement just before the goal and his clinical finish was unbelievable to watch and the expression on his face when celebrating said all about how much it meant to both him personally, the team and the fans. It was just as great to see Dave Jones holding his arms aloft at the final whistle shortly after. We had won against Swansea for the first time in thirteen years and that even after being a goal down! Fantastic!
I must say Paulo Sousa’s post match comments were just pathetic. Credit to him for believing in his team, but to say things like “we deserved to win”, “we always play better than our opponents” and “we always create more chances than the others” is so arrogant. The statistics for the game yesterday show Cardiff had four shots on goal and four off target. Swansea had four on target and three off target. Swansea had truth be told eight corners compared to Cardiff’s three, but still there’s no reason for Sousa to be cocky having suffered defeat!
There’s a lot of talk in the media about how terrific it would be if both the Welsh sides can make the play-offs. Ha! I’d love it if Swansea miss out.
The question ahead of tomorrow’s tough away game against Nottingham Forest is if the job is now done? Is the play off place secured already? Don’t think for a second it is! All Cardiff fans know very well how quickly things can turn around, with both last seasons disastrous finish and Cardiff’s instability this season in mind. I for one won’t feel certain until it’s mathematically impossible for anyone outside the top six to catch us.
Just look at Leicester. Three games ago they were in fourth place, seven point ahead of Blackpool in seventh place and even having a game in hand. They were two points ahead of Cardiff in sixth. Three defeats later the Foxes find themselves in sixth place, just one point more than Blackpool in seventh and seven points adrift of Cardiff in fourth! So with five games to go and fifteen points still to be played for I don’t take anything for granted. I trust Dave Jones and the players don’t either.
Tags: Darcy Blake, Dave Jones, Gabor Gyepes, Leicester, Swansea
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Cardiff City 2 Leicester City 1
A massive result and based on the second half quite a miraculous one. How we hung on to that 2-1 lead after Gyepes was sent of and other players having to play on injured I still don’t know!
I feel that this and other recent games goes to show that the lack of depth in the Cardiff squad perhaps isn’t as much of a truth as everyone liked to make a point of when it weren’t going for us earlier in the season. Unlikely heroes like Darcy Blake have emerged, and all of the players are in addition to (to use a few of Dave Jones’ favorite expressions) working their socks of and digging in also showing that they have the skills needed for a team in the top six of the Championship.
Now Cardiff count the cost of the Leicester victory with new injuries and Gyepes’ suspension as the team prepares for what is for me the most anticipated game of the season: the home match against arch rivals Swansea.
It’s been eight meetings and over 13 years since Cardiff last beat Swansea. It’s about time now, and the first Welsh derby played at Cardiff’s new ground would be the perfect occasion. City look odds on for a place in the play offs, and should we beat the Jacks and even finish above them it would set the perfect stage. Let us hear a swan song Saturday, and by that I don’t mean one of joy!
Worst case come Saturday evening we’ll still be fourth, but level on points with Swansea and the gap down to seventh place having been narrowed. While it of course will be painful to yet again see the Jacks triumph, with five Championships games to go that is not the worst situation to be in.