Viva Leyton Orient 21/02/2011Posted by NB in Cardiff City.
Tags: Alan Tate, Barry Hearn, Darren Purse, FA Cup, Finn Bjørn Tønder, Leyton Orient
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League One side Leyton Orient reaped the reward yesterday for having knocked Swansea out of the F.A. Cup fourth round when they played Premier League Arsenal in the fifth round. The Os even managed to snatch an unlikely equalizer late on against the superior Gunners and thereby earning themselves a lucrative replay at the Emirates. This feat promted their chairman Barry Hearn to promise the whole team a trip to Las Vegas in the summer as Elvis’ hit “Viva Las Vegas” was sung in the changing room after the match, and thanks to a column in Bergens Tidende back in October I know there’s at least one Norwegian who’s probably all smiles today and humming along with them!
On-field joy and off-field woe 12/01/2011Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2010/11.
Tags: Craig Bellamy, Dave Jones, FA Cup, Jay Bothroyd, Jon Parkin, Leeds United, Michael Chopra, Peter Whittingham, Robert Snodgrass, Sam Hammam, Seyi Olofinjana, Simon Grayson, Stoke City
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Cardiff City 2 Leeds United 1
Stoke City 1 Cardiff City 1
What a convincing win against in-form Leeds, unbeaten since our last meeting back in October when we outplayed them winning 4-0 at Elland Road! Cardiff’s form in the mean time has been quite the opposite, and as the pressure mounted both on the players and manager Dave Jones and teams have started to overtake us in the table, this win meant a very welcome return to second place.
A great eight minute Craig Bellamy goal after a perfect one-two with Peter Whittingham set City off to the perfect start, and in the first half it was all Cardiff. I wonder what those in the crowd not having seen the Bluebirds play since the last home game, the victory against Coventry, made of it all! It’s pretty hard to fathom how the two catastrophic defeats away at Watford and Bristol City could happen.
In the second half against Leeds Cardiff let the visitors back into the match, and after a clever tactical substitution by Leeds manager Simon Grayson, Leeds’s equalized through a well placed shot by Robert Snodgrass.
Michael Chopra had however had a cup of coffee on the pitch (!) earlier in the game, and the caffein seemed to kick in just at the right time as the striker converted a perfect Peter Whittingham pass from deep in his own half into another City goal from a difficult angel. Great skill by both players, and with only ten minutes remaining we incredibly managed to hang on to what must be one of the most vital wins this season.
Next up was the third round FA Cup tie away versus Premier League side Stoke City, and I honestly felt beforehand that I wouldn’t bee too sad should we lose. The FA Cup final back in 2008 was nice, but nothing else than promotion matters this season. One could just take a look at Cardiff’s bench against Stoke to see that our current squad is thin and doesn’t need more games than the already tough Championship fixture list provides.
It was good to see Dave Jones rest Bellamy and Olofinjana, and the fact that our starting eleven (with Jay Bothroyd still out injured) was far from our best makes the 1-1 draw pretty impressive. I’d hoped for a Jon Parkin debut, but he still hasn’t recovered from a minor knee injury. Yet again Chops was our goalscorer, and hopefully he’ll shake of his ankle injury to keep on scoring as we go into the decisive second half of the season.
I wouldn’t be too surprised if we beat Stoke in the replay at the Cardiff City Stadium, and then we (probably) face Wolves away – as we did on our way to Wembley back in 2008!
Off the field Sam Hammam is threatening to force his way back into the club. I used to be a fan and admirer of Hammam, but I’m sorry to say that reading about his possible return to Cardiff City, I get nothing but bad feelings. How he through the company Langston was in a legal battle with Cardiff City was not a very pleasant experience, and I think Mr. Hammam should realize that his time at the club is history. Hammam himself says that a return to City would be controversial and that fans would be divided in their view of the matter. At present I’ll admit to being in the anti-Sam camp.
It was sad to see Craig Bellamy hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons again tonight. Although it’s not yet publicly known exactly what happened, it seems I was a bit to hasty in declaring Bellamy’s time as a villain over…
Dull 3rd round draw 28/11/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2010/11.
Tags: FA Cup, Stoke City
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FA Cup third round draw
I was hoping for a home tie either against a top Premier League team or a team from the lower Leagues or even a non-League team. Being drawn away against a small, mediocre Premier League team like Stoke City was disappointing, and it’s even more disappointing that we’ll probably lose. Not that it matters too much though. All that really matters this season is promotion.
Out but not down 14/02/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2009/10.
Tags: Chelsea, FA Cup, Jan Åge Fjørtoft, Michael Chopra, Ray Wilkins, Thor Eggen
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Chelsea 4 Cardiff City 1
As expected Cardiff are out of the FA Cup after losing to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, but although it was deserved that Chelsea won and the scoreline was a bit ugly, Cardiff gave a good account of themselves and as I hoped the players (and the fans) could leave Stamford Bridge with their heads held high. Chelsea’s assistant manager Ray Wilkins even admitted afterward that Cardiff were a tougher opponent than they had anticipated.
Not many teams score against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this season, so Michal Chopra’s equalizer was an achievement in itself. But I guess not many teams have let in a goal at Stamford Bridge as early as Cardiff did either, and going behind early was as I wrote before the game one of my worst fears. Drogba did well scoring, but it was an awful attempt to set an offside trap that gifted him the chance. And it was disappointing to see Cardiff’s defense fail in the same manner when Chelsea went ahead in the second half. Up until the 2-1 goal I had a small hope that Cardiff could manage to get something from the game, but as Chelsea upped the tempo and Cardiff’s brave players grew tired it became obvious that Chelsea would go on to win the match.
It was nice to see that City even at 1-3 down didn’t stop playing a neat passing game and not going for the long balls. Sadly the quality wasn’t anywhere near the opponent’s quality, so it was in vain.
It was also nice and very impressive that it was the Cardiff fans that made the most noise at Stamford Bridge. My compliments to everyone who was there!
I have to give a mention to Viasat’s commentator Thor Eggen. He couldn’t have been less enthusiastic and having to endure his inept commentary didn’t help my mood as the game went on. In the studio Jan Åge Fjørtoft was the host. Hearing his terrible English speaking to the guest Tony Woodcock makes you wonder how he can possible have been a professional footballer in Britain for over five years.
Into the lion’s den 12/02/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2009/10.
Tags: Chelsea, FA Cup
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Cardiff are traveling to London tomorrow having come through round one of the winding up scare to enter the lion’s den. But the opposition is not Millwall. It’s Chelsea and the venue is Stamford Bridge.
With so many players missing through injury from Cardiff’s small squad I can’t see how there could possibly be an upset tomorrow. If Cardiff could field a full strength team than maybe they could rise to the occasion and cause Chelsea a few problems. Now the main concern seems to be if we’re able to fill the substitutes bench or not. Even if Chelsea decide not to field their strongest eleven their lineup will probably be of such quality that it will be good enough to have won the Championship with ease.
The advantage the Cardiff players do have going into the match is that they’ll be a lot more motivated than the Chelsea stars. Other than that everything speaks in favour of the FA Cup holders and Premier League leaders. All Cardiff’s players must be at their absolute best, the tactics must be perfect and luck must be on our side shall we even dream to get anything other than defeat from the game.
I just hope Cardiff don’t let in a goal too early, as that would make the game a lot less exciting to watch, and I also hope that it won’t be another thumping like at Newcastle. If we manage that then at least the players will hopefully be able to hold their heads up and take it as nice experience that will give them some inspiration for the Championship run in.
The around 5000 City supporters in the stands will probably enjoy the match and the day out in London no matter what the result.
Most other Championship teams are in league action tomorrow, so after the Chelsea match the focus will be on those results. As Newcastle in my view are as good as promoted already, I would love to see them batter Swansea. If Doncaster can beat Nottingham Forest as well then that might give some consolation to Cardiff being knocked out of the FA Cup. Promotion is all that matters this season.
Chelsea 24/01/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2009/10.
Tags: FA Cup
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On the one hand drawing Chelsea – the FA Cup holders and arguably the best team in the country at the moment – and even drawing them away, was the toughest draw that could be handed to Cardiff. On the other hand it’s the most exciting opponent among the last sixteen, and what a great chance to cause an upset!
When Cardiff made it to the FA Cup final two seasons ago our semi-final opponent Barnsley had done a great deal of the hard work sending both Liverpool and Chelsea out of the cup. Cardiff had an relative easy way to the final with Middlesbrough the only Premier League being beaten on the way to the final. If Cardiff are to make it to the final again this year it at least no one can say it was done the easy way!
Cup joy 24/01/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2009/10.
Tags: FA Cup, Jay Bothroyd
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Cardiff City 1 Bristol City 0, FA Cup third round replay
Cardiff City 4 Leicester City 2, FA Cup fourth round
What a great FA Cup week! I honestly didn’t expect Cardiff to beat Bristol City in the third round replay on Tuesday, and before kick off I convinced myself to agree with Jay Bothroyd who said that it’s the League that matters most and that the upcoming League game against Bristol City was more important. That was also my attitude going into the fourth round match against Leicester at Cardiff City Stadium yesterday. On Friday night I was at a party having some banter with a colleague who’s a Leicester City fan and I had to admit to him I wasn’t too optimistic.
It turned out to be an exciting cup match and this time it was Cardiff’s turn to score in injury time – and that even twice! Wonderful stuff and a great way to progress to the next round. When Bothroyd put Cardiff in front in the first half I thought it was going to be the winning goal, as I had dreamt that Cardiff were going to win 1-0. At half time though I was pretty sure we were heading for defeat being 1-2 down and judging from the commentary at Cardiff City Player saying that it was all Leicester. So credit to Dave Jones and the players for turning it around!
I look forward to tonight’s fifth round draw but can’t make my mind up whether I want a plum tie against a Premier League team or a home tie against a more beatable (in theory anyway) team like Southampton. Luckily it’s not up to me to decide, so I’ll just have to take whatever comes out of the hat.
A balanced draw 13/01/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2009/10.
Tags: FA Cup, Michael Chopra
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I don’t know what’s worse – that I didn’t get to see the game or that City drew because of yet another injury time goal…
I guess you could easily argue that all draws are indeed balanced, but what I mean is that for Cardiff yesterday’s match had both it’s positive sides and negative sides.
On the positive side City managed to put together eleven players (and even a few substitutes), Michael Chopra finally scored again and a replay at home means revenue for the club.
On the negative side City let in yet another injury time goal (and this time scored by a Cardiff fan). I’m not surprised anymore by goals against after the clock has passed 90 minutes, but it’s still terribly annoying when it happens. A replay also means another match on the fixture list for an already thin squad and last but not least I didn’t get to see the game although it was being broadcasted on www.thefa.com.
The match was only available to viewers in the UK and Ireland (for legal reasons I presume), and although I managed to convice the webserver I was there and not in Norway, the Flash player that came up was all grayed out and I wasn’t able to click play or any other button. That meant I had to settle for listening to the game on Cardiff City Player which isn’t at all bad, but I had looked forward to seeing the match live. Living in Norway the opportunities to watch the Bluebirds play are few and far between.
Dissapointing postponement 02/01/2010Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2009/10.
Tags: FA Cup
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It’s dissapointing that the FA Cup match against Bristol City today was called off due to a frozen pitch. I looked forward to watch the game online, but after Cardiff’s embarrassing postponement for the very same reason back in December I don’t feel that I can complain to much. I take it Ashton Gate hasn’t got undersoil heating, as I don’t expect any other clubs than Cardiff to have it installed but not functioning…