Gaps Galore In Cardiff City Formation
Cardiff City`s recent injury woes had prompted manager Malky Mackay to experiment with his formation, and the fluid 4-5-1 set-up, with Craig Conway given license to push on and support lone striker Kenny Miler - had appeared to become the preferred system for the Bluebirds.
However, that was wrecked when Kenny Miller limped off early against Burnley, and City, with no other striking options at all, had to utilise youngster Joe Mason as a lone frontman. Thankfully, both Rudy Gestede and Robert Earnshaw have recovered from their respective injury lay-offs but Mackay is the Frenchman is still raw and inexperienced while Earnshaw`s game is far from suited to a lone striker role.
Unfortunately for City, the 4-4-2 system looked far from comfortable for the team on Saturday, at times we were decent, but far too often, the Ipswich midfield had far too much space. Bossed by veterans Lee Bowyer and Jimmy Bullard, there was always an easy short pass, and all-too-often an inviting gap for the Tractor Boys to drive into - putting the City defence immediately on the back foot.
That weakness certainly led to Jason Scotland`s equaliser, a fine low strike from distance, while the theme continued into the second half with Ipswich finding far too much room going forward. The introduction of Filip Kiss certainly helped, and City were certainly the better team from that moment. Craig Conway offers width and has a great delivery, but we seemed to need the extra man in the centre with Kiss, Gunnarsson and Whittingham far more at ease and we suddenly took a grip in midfield, leading to the penalty equaliser and several other chances. It`s fair to say, however, that the chance could easily have been too late and we could have been 2 or 3 down by that stage. That formation is the one more commonly used away from home, but was undoubtedly much more effective and a much needed change at that point in the game.
Mackay has yet to find the right balance, and we remain short of options. However, he certainly adapted to address the deficiency and we came back from a goal down and being completely outclassed, to battling back for a point and earning good chances to steal the win. That took good character, and the players and manager alike will have learnt a great deal from the Ipswich Town game. Hopefully, those lessons can be taken forward into the upcoming fixtures - home and away.