Vital Football

Latest Cardiff City News

The End For Macca + Rae In Cardiff City Midfield?

The End For Macca + Rae In Cardiff City Midfield?

Cardiff City have had problems in midfield all season, and the central areas have been of particular concern. That said, this is the one area that has been stable all season with McPhail and Rae absolute certainties to start whenever fit.

The loss of Remco vsn der Schaaf to Burnley in the summer, as well as the departure of Aaron Ramsey to Arsenal had left us short of options especially with serious concerns over Riccy Scimeca's fitness having been absent for two seasons now.

The truth is, McPhail and Rae just are not working as a partnership. Individually, they both have strengths but just do not look like a Championship pairing despite their pedigree.

McPhail is a very gifted footballer, often praised by his team-mates and regarded as the best passer in the division. It is undeniable he is important to the way we play but he has not dictated a game in a long time and is regularly bypassed. It has become far too predictable and teams are able to nullify McPhail with startling ease.

Too often, McPhail sits deep, closer to his defence than attack and his first touch is normally to stop. This is usually followed by a turn (sometimes 360 degrees!) and a pass - but all too often this results in a sideways or backwards movement.

McPhail's natural game is a quick passing one and his class and physique do not allow him to aggressively dominate the centre of the park. That is why he often plays with another to 'anchor' and do more of the tackling and enforcing - why then is McPhail further back rather than probing behind the strikers? Unfortunately, whilst tackling is not his strong point - McPhail often commits silly fouls, usually un-necessary to pile pressure on the team.

Gavin Rae works very hard but even his strongest supporters must now be of the opinion he is limited. His distribution is very poor, and while he does try to add impetus and momentum to attacks - there is rarely an end product and possession is regularly lost.

Tackling is a strong point but while the wingers should be an easy and immediate outlet - we seem to loft high balls forward more often than not. Gavin Rae can often be bypassed in midfield and seems lost from the game.

I really do think Cardiff City have a serious problem in midfield and cannot expect to be serious prmotion contenders without a change in this area. McPhail and Rae are both good squad players but we are just not able to accomodate them in the same system. Everything is slow, deliberated and lacking quality yet we have very few options to change it.

Let us know YOUR thoughts - leave your comments on Rae / McPhail and your support or criticism!

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Wednesday November 26 2008
Time: 12:00PM


he didnt fail me last night doing his 360 degree turn! its like hes driving a car around a roundabout! put him on the bench im sure that will shake him up! please rotate mcphail
26/11/2008 12:16:00
McPhail does his own rotating - on the pitch!
26/11/2008 12:45:00
.. in the last two home games City corners (last night's taken by McPhail - I forget who took the one against Crystal Palace) have led DIRECTLY and IMMEDIATELY to THE OTHER SIDE scoring without any City player touching the ball first on its way into THEIR penalty area and then downfield into OUR goal .. yes please, Ledley, Scimeca, Routledge, Blake or Commingues if you're going to persevere with Kennedy at the back .. but if it's Chopra and Bothroyd upfront then McCormack MUST play so with himm I'd have Ledley, Routledge and [probably, if fully fit] Scimeca ..
26/11/2008 14:17:00
with ledley set to be back on Sunday.......midfield = Ross & Wayne on the wings, Rae and Ledley in the centre. can anyone tell i dont rate McPhail!!??
27/11/2008 08:50:00
mcphail is a top class passer lol thats funny he chips his short passes and cannot keep the ball on the floor resulting in pressure on the player he passes to as they cannot take it in thier stride and have to control before moving, just watch next game its shockin! drop him bring in scimeca and possibly ledley in centre although he was too isolated in that role not so long ago
28/11/2008 01:48:00
Ross in centre is an option with him running through the middle. like a 4-3-1-2
28/11/2008 09:02:00
Page 1/1
  1. 1

Login to post a comment

Recent Cardiff City Articles

After Game Player Interviews Explained

Scientific researchers have discovered that a tendency for professional footballers to overuse the words 'um' 'ah' and 'err' in post game press interviews...

Response Pleases Warnock

New manager Neil Warnock has admitted that Cardiff City are 'nowhere near' the finished article when it came to a promotion run, but following victory over Nottingham Forest...

Nottingham Forest 1 Cardiff 2 - Highlights

Cardiff secured a win over Nottingham Forest in the Championship on Saturday.

Vital View - Championship, 21st-22nd October

Newcastle's lead at the top was extended with Brighton up to second. Blackburn dropped back into the bottom three with Wigan staying second-bottom and Rotherham rooted to the foot.

Archived Vital Cardiff Articles

Vital Cardiff articles from

Site Journalists

Whittingham's Left Peg
no email

Current Poll (see more polls)

Forest MotM
Suggested By: Site Staff
Sub - Noone4%
Sub - Richardson0%
Sub - O'Keefe4%
ScoopDragon Publishing Entire League Network of Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Newcastle 14 10 1 3 31 19
2 Brighton 14 8 4 2 28 9
3 Huddersfield 14 9 1 4 28 4
4 Norwich 14 8 3 3 27 7
5 Sheff Wed 14 7 3 4 24 1
6 Bristol City 14 7 2 5 23 6
7 Birmingham 14 6 5 3 23 3
8 Reading 14 6 4 4 22 -3
9 Preston 14 6 2 6 20 1
10 Leeds Utd 14 6 2 6 20 -1
11 Brentford 14 5 4 5 19 5
12 Barnsley 14 6 1 7 19 3
13 Q.P.R. 14 5 4 5 19 -3
14 Fulham 14 4 6 4 18 -2
15 Burton 14 4 5 5 17 0
16 Aston Villa 14 3 8 3 17 0
17 Ipswich 14 4 5 5 17 -2
18 Wolves 14 4 4 6 16 -1
19 Forest 14 4 3 7 15 -3
20 Cardiff 14 4 3 7 15 -9
21 Derby County 14 3 5 6 14 -4
22 Blackburn 14 3 3 8 12 -8
23 Wigan 14 2 5 7 11 -3
24 Rotherham 14 1 3 10 6 -19
Vital Football Comment
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News
Write for Vital Football

Recent Cardiff City Results (view all)

Cardiff City Fixtures (view all)

Oct 29 2016 3:00PM : Wigan Athletic (H)
Sky Bet Championship
Nov 5 2016 3:00PM : Newcastle United (a)
Sky Bet Championship
Nov 19 2016 3:00PM : Huddersfield Town (H)
Sky Bet Championship
Nov 26 2016 3:00PM : Aston Villa (a)
Sky Bet Championship
Dec 3 2016 3:00PM : Brighton & Hove Albion (H)
Sky Bet Championship
Dec 10 2016 3:00PM : Ipswich Town (a)
Sky Bet Championship
The Vital Football Members League