Cardiff City's Shaky Defence: Time For Keinan?
Cardiff City would seem to have an abundance of riches in the centre-half position but the case for quality over quantity cerrtainly applies with a lack of positional awareness and a sloppy defensive performance on show against Brighton & Hove Albion on Wednesday.
It's very harsh to judge a new team so early on, but the Championship is notoriously unforgiving and aspects that aren't working need to be changed before too many points are lost.
Mark Hudson and Anthony Gerrard are both establised and experienced Championship defenders. Hudson showed fine form at times last season, while Gerrard was named player of the year on-loan at Hull City. However, doubts remain as to the two players as a partnership with a lack of pace and mobility underlying the concerns.
Both Gerrard and Hudson are 'blockers' of the Scott Young mould. Powerful and strong, aiming to win the physical battles against their opponents. Many feel that both would be more comfortable alongside a more classy centre-half with pace to cover behind, a job that Danny Gabbidon once filled so successfully for City. Distribution from the back remains a weakness and too often we wasted posession and found ourselves under un-necessary pressure.
Unfortunately, pacy, ball-playing centres halves with the ability to stand-up to the rigours of the Championship are hard to come by.
If the Hudson/Gerrard partnership does not gel, Israeli Dekel Keinan is surely next in line and has already proved a decent foil for Hudson last year. Keinan arrived from Blackpool in January, and featured heavily in our run-in putting in some impressive performances before enduring a ngihtmare end to the season and conceding a needless penalty in our 3-0 Reading defeat.
Keinan is more mobile than Hudson or Gerrard, and is also reasonably strong in the air. Where he certainly outclasses Mackay's other defensive options is in passing and distribution. Keinan was always willing to receive possession last year, looking to get on the ball and pick out a midfielder, rather than look for Bothroyd or try an ambitious cross-field pass. His control and composure may be a bonus, especially give then midfield balance and target man we are currently lacking.
Gabor Gyepes' days at the club look to be numbered, while Darcy Blake is also a potential option. Despite all these options, Mackay has not ruled out a move for another centre-half and enquired about Nottingham Forest's new captain Luke chambers.
It seems certain that Mackay will stick to the same starting XI as the Brighton defeat - However, if the Hudson/Gerrard combination remains un-easy - Dekel Keinan is surely the man to step in, and sooner ratehr than later.
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