Brighton Blip Or Bluebirds Bubble Burst ?
Cardiff City FC has undergone an enjoyable few months with a new manager and backroom staff, fresh ideas and a renewed belief and work-ethic around the club. Numerous new players have come in, said the right things and started the season in impressive fashion with an unlikely away victory at West Ham followed up by an emphatic win over Bristol City and Carling Cup success over Oxford United.
The new players have done well to settle, and gel into some kind of cohesive unit though everybody associated with the club will realise there is plenty more work to do.
Despite the positive feeling, Cardiff City fans and players were brought back to earth with a bump as Brighton and Hove Albion weathered a brief first half storm before capitalising on three poor errors by the Bluebirds. Brighton were simply more effective in the right areas and while both sides worked hard, there was far more shape and system to the Albion set-up.
Cardiff City were defensively poor, and individual blunders cost us dearly However, equally disappointing was the lack of midfield contribution with Conway quiet, Whittingham unable to contribute from a new deeper role and Don Cowie unsure of his role. Cowie is ostensibly a wide midfielder, but not a winger. With the effervescent Joe Mason included and given freedom to roam, Cowie seemed unsure whether to 'sit-in` and cover his team-mates, or pull wide and provide the width we desperately needed. In the end, neither really worked out and when in possession there were always plenty of green shirts blocking the Bluebirds path.
City desperately needed an injection of pace from the bench, someone unpredictable and able to provide the outlet. There is no such player currently at the club, and while Joe Mason may provide such an option from the bench in later games, he was called upon to start and was unable to make the same impact as during Sunday`s win over Bristol City.
Brighton were good, and did a very good job on us. They had done their research and knew to close4 us down early, restrict space and ensure that Whittingham was unable to push too far forward. The spaces were out wide, but City couldn`t shift the ball quickly enough to exploit them. Plenty of credit goes to Albion and Gus Poyet, but the real take home message is that Cardiff City need to re-think.
A couple more players are desperately needed, and as soon as possible. Every team has bad days, and with such a new squad we were bound to lose a game fairly soon in the new season. The crucial factor is how the Bluebirds respond. There is plenty more to come from this squad and a good response against Burnley on Saturday is a must to stop a blip becoming poor form and affecting confidence.