What Difference A Rae Makes ? Very Little.
Cardiff City gained a creditable draw last night against West Brom, with the Baggies better equipped to deal with the injury crises blighting both squads. However, the midfield battle was clearly won by the visitors as the Bluebirds looked un-balanced and left huge spaces to be exploited. Aaron Wildig started tidily, making some vital interceptions and neat passes. However, the youngster faded and was second best against the likes of Dorrans and Koren.
However, for me the biggest disappointment of the evening was the performance by Scotsman Gavin Rae. Whether he is fully recovered from his hamstring problem, I don`t know, but there was no way he should have played and will surely be disappointed with his contribution.
For some time, fans have questioned what exactly Rae brings to the side. He is not naturally creative, but is a willing runner and can be very adept at breaking up play. However, last night was wholly different and a dismal effort on goal in the opening minutes set the tone for Rae. With WBA crowding the midfield, they were able to by-pass us easily but Rae was culpable on many occasions of backing off before rushing out needlessly and committing himself to a tackle he couldn`t win. A simple turn of pace, or one-two saw him taken out of the game and the likes of Gyepes and McNaughton needed to step in to clear the danger.
Perhaps more worrying was that Rae tried to take on a mantle he was clearly not able to and on several occasions tried to beat his man instead of the simple pass. Less Kaka, more cack as he lost possession each time and we were lucky not to be punished. One such incident led to Chris Brunt hitting the side netting.
Rae was hapless at times, and became visibly frustrated. Hands on hips, and looking skywards were indications of his feelings after one badly misplaced pass and a mistimed sliding challenge.
Vital Cardiff is rarely critical of players, but Rae will surely admit he was very poor last night. For me, he lacked the maturity, stature or contribution of either Wildig or replacement Darcy Blake and I fear the 32 year old is only involved now because we simply have no-one else. Rae, not Wildig, looked out of his depth and it`s been a long time since I can remember a good Rae performance. Consistent - yes, Adequate - most of the time but for a promotion chasing side you would expect a great deal better.