Sorry Wales 09/02/2011Posted by NB in Cardiff City.
Tags: Aaron Ramsey, Andy Keogh, Chris Gunter, Craig Bellamy, Darcy Blake, Gareth Bale, Gary Speed, James Collins, Joe Ledley, Robert Earnshaw, Wales
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Republic of Ireland 3 Wales 0
The Four Nations Tournament kicked off yesterday with Wales loosing 0-3 in Ireland.
With the match coming the day after the South Wales derby there were no Cardiff players involved, although Darcy Blake was an unused sub. Craig Bellamy went over to Ireland to stay with the squad and probably try to boost the morale, but Aaron Ramsey who was originally in the squad withdrew.
This was the first match for the Dragons under new boss Gary Speed and former Cardiff player James Collins was captain, but I understand from the match reports that Wales were very poor yesterday.
In addition to Collins the ex-Bluebirds Robert Earnshaw, Joe Ledley and Chris Gunter played for Wales. Recent Cardiff loanee Andy Keogh, now on loan from Wolves to Bristol City, came on for Ireland.
Even with a few Cardiff players and Gareth Bale coming in for the remaining matches in the tournament, I fear Wales won’t have much to cheer about.
Tags: Michael Chopra, Jay Bothroyd, Dave Jones, David Marshall, Aaron Ramsey, Kevin McNaughton, Reading, Tom Heaton, Craig Bellamy, Daniel Drinkwater, Lee Naylor, Andy Keogh, Chris Riggott, Dekel Keinan, Jordan Santiago, Shay Given, Jimmy Kébé, Andy Lonergan
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Cardiff City 2 Reading 2
Yesterday’s match was the first of seven games in 25 days in what’s been dubbed “frantic February”. It ended in a disappointing draw.
With the teams around us winning, we slumped down to fifth in the table, but it could have been even worse hadn’t Craig Bellamy blasted home the 96th minute free kick.
Aaron Ramsey was as expected in the starting line up, with Michael Chopra a bit surprisingly making way, but Dekal Keinan was only on the bench as Dave Jones for some reason decided to keep faith in the same defence as against Watford. How does everybody else but Jones see that Lee Naylor needs to be dropped? Time and time again Naylor is singled out by opponents as our weak point, and against Reading I understand Jimmy Kébé gave the left back a tough time and that Naylor (not for the first time this season) was at fault when the visitors went ahead in the first half. I suspect one of those players Dave Jones said slipped just as the transfer window came to a close on Monday was a left back, but surely Kevin McNaughton cold do the job just as well as Naylor so that Keinan can play alongside Hudson in central defence?
Transfer deadline day was mostly quiet for Cardiff, and keeping an eye on skysports.com’s transfer clockwatch throughout the day, it was mainly news of Fernando Torres getting in a helicopter heading for Chelsea and Andy Carroll’s transfer to Liverpool. A bit funny that both Peter Whittingham and Michael Chopra scored more goals than £35 million Carroll in the Championship last season! As only a few hours of the transfer window remained there was surprise rumours that we were about to sign Manchester City goalkeeper Shay Given, but it never happened. I guess it could still do though in the so called “emergency loan window”. Cardiff reportedly also tried to capture Preston’s goalie Andy Lonergan earlier this month, so it seems that Dave Jones although having two quality keepers in Tom Heaton and David Marshall is intent not to let any potential injuries or suspensions in that department become a problem in the battle for promotion. I hadn’t thought that much about it and with youngster Jordan Santiago also available should there be a crisis I thought we were well covered.
Andy Keogh joined Danny Drinkwater in being recalled by his club so that they could loan him out to another Championship side, Bristol City, where he’s probably going to get more playing time than at Cardiff. He scored a couple of late, important goals for Cardiff in his months here, but he never looked to make a real impact for us. Sadly he didn’t score in his debut for Bristol City against Swansea yesterday, as the Swans won 2-0!
I feel sorry for Chris Riggott whose short Cardiff career has come to an end bacuse of the injury he picked up in the New Year’s Day defeat at Bristol City. He made a promising debut against Coventry on Boxing Day having just having returned from a serious knee injury he’s been struggling with for two years. Good luck to him, as he now probably has to find something else than professional football to do for a living!
Back to the Reading match, and there were some positives yesterday: Jay Bothroyd getting yet another goal, Chopra looking lively when he came on as sub, an excellent Cardiff comeback for Aaron Ramsey and last but not least the superb free kick by Craig Bellamy in the 95th minute.
Going down 1-2 already into time added on and having been the dominant team in the second half could easily have seen the us fold, but the players showed guts and determination as they kept on going right to the death, and the equalizer and a point was the reward. That’s the sort of attitude that has brought Q.P.R. to the top and a team like Leeds into the promotion mix and is a key to success in the remaining games.
We’ve got to get the defense right when we play Swansea on Sunday.
I can’t bear the thought of another derby day defeat.
Come on you Bluebirds!
Scrappy. Not too unhappy. 19/01/2011Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2010/11.
Tags: Michael Chopra, Jay Bothroyd, Dave Jones, Aaron Wildig, Gavin Rae, Peter Whittingham, Kevin McNaughton, Craig Bellamy, Jason Koumas, Seyi Olofinjana, Lee Naylor, Andy Keogh, Stoke City, Jon Parkin, Tony Pulis
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Cardiff City 0 Stoke City 2 AET, FA Cup 3rd round replay
This was a very scrappy game with a disappointing result at the end of it.
There are a couple of reasons why I’m not too sad though.
Firstly, I got to watch the game online on FA TV, and win, lose or draw, I always enjoy watching the Bluebirds play! My warm thanks goes to Stephen Fowler and his UK Proxy for placing me virtually in the UK and thereby enabling me to enjoy the stream at thefa.com!
Secondly, yesterday’s replay was more draining than anything for the players. That’s not what we need at the moment with the heat on in the Championship, although Dave Jones did rest players like Bellamy, McNaughton, Whittingham, Olofinjana and Bothroyd (assuming he was fit that is) plus he put Chopra on the bench.
Stoke boss Tony Pulis also let a lot of second string players start, and while on the one hand you would expect there to be a bit less quality on the night considering the team selections, I was on the other hand surprised that there wasn’t more spark and enthusiasm from a lot of those who got their chance. One should think they were eager to prove to their managers that they belong in the starting eleven.
The first half performance from the Bluebirds was about as weak as I’ve ever seen, and I was a bit surprised that neither the players nor City’s manager and coaches failed to see how Cardiff time and time again got stuck on the right hand side when it was obvious that they had to shift play to the left where Stoke seemed more exposed and Lee Naylor had a decent game. I also question why there weren’t any tactical changes when we were trailing by the one goal. Surely we could have put more bodies forward and thereby perhaps have created something? And why did Parkin and not Keogh get substituted when Chopra came on? Why didn’t Jason Koumas even figure on the bench? But I’m not a manager am I, and I expect Dave Jones to have had an answer to all my critical questions!
It was sad that Stephen McPhail got injured (hamstring), but at least that meant a rare outing for Aaron Wildig and gave us the unusual midfield pairing of Wildig and Gavin Rae. The latter did not do much to stake his claim for a place in the team by the way.
I think we should have had a penalty when Michael Chopra went down in the penalty box at the end of normal time and had we gotten a penalty and a goal we surely would have won.
Stoke now go on to play a not too glamorous fourth round tie against Wolves. Cardiff go on to concentrate on the League. I for one am happy with that.
I’m trying, Craig 06/12/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2010/11.
Tags: Andy Keogh, Craig Bellamy, Jay Bothroyd, Preston North End
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Cardiff City 1 Preston North End 1
Two days have gone since our home game versus Preston, and although Andy Keogh’s injury time header rescued a much needed point for us I’m feeling as if we’d lost.
Sky Sports described it as ”Bottom-of-the-table Preston North End grabbing an unlikely draw at second-placed Cardiff City”, and you can’t argue against this being one of the must-win games of the season for our promotion hunting Bluebirds.
From the match reports I understand we didn’t play particularly well against Preston, but that we still created enough chances to have won. Losing Jay Bothroyd through injury after just ten minutes of course didn’t help matters.
We Cardiff fans rightly have high expectations this season, and we know what the team is capable of. That’s what makes matches like this so frustrating.
I have however no respect for those who booed on Saturday, as that can only make matters worse. I don’t feel sorry for those who left early and missed Keogh’s goal either.
It’s at times like these that the team needs the supporters more than ever, and as hard as I know it can be to applaud and give encouragement when all you really wanna do vent all the frustration building up inside of you, it’s best not to.
Craig Bellamy appeals for fans to keep the faith, and for the time being all I can say is that I’m trying hard to, Craig.
Please may my trust be rewarded!
Bothroyd’s back 10/11/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2010/11.
Tags: Andy Keogh, Chris Burke, Craig Bellamy, Daniel Drinkwater, Darcy Blake, Dave Jones, Gabor Gyepes, Jay Bothroyd, Kelvin Etuhu, Kevin McNaughton, Reading, Seyi Olofinjana, Stephen McPhail
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Reading 1 Cardiff City 1
I’m going to be positive about this result in what I understand was a scrappy game.
Q.P.R. managed to snatch a draw on Tuesday by equalizing with a last minute penalty although down to ten men away at Portsmouth. That resilience is exactly one of the main reasons why I feel Q.P.R. will get promotion this season, and hopefully Cardiff’s point against Reading on an evening where we didn’t have all our best players available, didn’t play all that well from what I heard on Cardiff City Player and still managed a draw after being 0-1 down shows why we’ll get promoted as well come May!
We’re still in second place only one point behind leaders Q.P.R. and although we could have gone top had we won tonight, it’s a great consolation to see that Swansea lost 0-1 at home to Bristol City to fall a point further behind us in third place. Having the Jacks breathing down our neck and with the humiliation from Sunday fresh in memory, with Bristol City far down the table I prefer Bristol winning that game although I obviously don’t like to see any of those two teams win.
In Cardiff’s starting line up there was no Bellamy or McNaughton, but Olofinjana started contrary to reports earlier today that he might be injured. McPhail was a new face in midfield anyway, with Drinkwater dropping to the bench. Dave Jones also opted to replace Gabor Gyepes, who the manager has made scapegoat for Swansea’s goal on Sunday, with Darcy Blake at center back. Andy Keogh (or Kelvin Etuhu, as he was named in the line ups both at Cardiff City Player and Sky Sports Score Center confusing him with last seasons number 17) as expected made way for Jay Bothroyd returning from suspension, and Chris Burke got his deserved place on the wing as Bellamy was rested.
I thought we had a decent line up even without the mentioned players who were out, and Bothroyd returning from suspension was of course a major boost. It’s no coincidence that it was Bothroyd who got our equalizer, although there’s some debate whether or not the ball did cross the line. Hopefully the television pictures will show that the referee was correct in awarding the goal.
We’re not a one man team (a phrase widely used this seasons, but usually with Craig Bellamy in mind), but Bothroyd’s impact and goalscoring yet again proved so vital for us. I’m not sure he’s quite good enough to be called up for England, as Dave Jones has asked for, but when (or I should perhaps be more humble and say if…) we’re promoted he’ll have a huge part of the honor for that!
In the end a good point on a bad day, and especially important since we lost at home to Swansea on Sunday.
When the going gets tough… 29/09/2010Posted by NB in season 2010/11.
Tags: Andy Keogh, Craig Bellamy, Crystal Palace, Millwall, Peter Whittingham, Seyi Olofinjana
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Cardiff City 2 Millwall 1
Cardiff City 0 Crystal Palace 0
When the going gets tough Cardiff obviously don’t get going as much as we’d like.
I was a bit hasty when I after the win against Hull proclaimed this had to be our season. I still believe that we’ll be “there or there about”, as they say, come May, but it’ll be tougher than it looked only a few weeks ago.
Injuries to key players has set us back and shown that even our current strong squad has got it’s limits.
Beating Millwall in a dramatic match with a sending off for the opponents in the first half, an ex-Cardiff goalie saving Whittingham’s penalty just before half time and a late Keogh goal securing three points was of course was joyful. We didn’t play very well though from what I gather, and against Crystal Palace – a team who had yet to take any points away from home this season – we didn’t impress either, failing to break down their five man midfield and defensive minded play. Not even Olofinjana returning from injury was enough for us to overcome the Londoners, but I guess had we been without him we could even have lost. It was very nice to have him back.
We’re still in second place, so it’s not all gloom, and seeing how Leeds amazingly let a 4-1 interval lead slip away and in the end loose 4-6 at home to Preston yesterday I’ll admit we’re not too bad off! A “feat” like that from Leeds inevitably makes me think about when we gave away a four goal half time lead at Peterborough last season to end up drawing 4-4, but compared to Leeds’ collapse that was nothing.
Barnsley away is up next. That’ll be at least as difficult a game as the past two matches, but having only drawn against Palace we need a win even more. Hopefully Bellamy, who has now sensibly been left out of the Wales squad for the next two internationals, will be fit and provide that little extra that we seem to need at the moment.
Comings and goings 27/08/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2010/11.
Tags: Andy Keogh, Craig Bellamy, Daniel Drinkwater, Gavin Rae, Jason Koumas, Jonathan Meades, Lee Naylor, Martin John, Moss FK, Ross McCormack, Seyi Olofinjana, Tom Heaton
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Amazing how we’ve gone from transfer embargo to having eight new Cardiff players come in (Heaton, Drinkwater, Koumas, Olofinjana, John, Naylor, Bellamy and Keogh).
Now it’s time for players to move out as well, with Ross McCormack’s transfer to Leeds probably just being the first of a few players moving on before the transfer window closes next week.
Gavin Rae is probably the next to leave, and it’s neither surprising or a great loss with the midfielders we now have in our squad.
It was nice to see Jonathan Meades get of to a flying start for Moss here in Norway (never mind the red card), and it seems he’ll be important for them in trying to avoid relegation and hopefully he’ll develop as well by playing regular first team football although the level is a lot lower in the Norwegian first division than in the Championship.
It’s a bit sad to see a great talent like Ross McCormack leave, but considering his behavior both on and off the field and him not being able to follow up the great promise of the first season and very likely not being able to break in to the starting eleven this season, I guess it’s only right that he leaves. Personally I lost the respect for McCormack when he was so desperate to leave us last summer, and it’s easy to see now that Cardiff should have cashed in on him back then as we would probably have got a lot more money for him than what Leeds are paying now (although we don’t know exactly what the fee is).
Andy Keogh is another excellent and exciting loan signing. With Michael Chopra now injured for maybe as long as ten weeks the timing of his arrival was perfect.