Cardiff City Success Built On Improved Discipline
Cardiff City are enjoying a n excellent season so far, exceeding the expectations of a pre-season disrupted by a mass exodus including star names like Bellamy, Burke, Chopra and Bothroyd. Add to that the departure of the League`s longest serving manager - and a mid-table finish had to be seen as the aim.
However, under Malky Mackay`s careful and diligent recruitment process - we have built a resolute squad, filled with hard working and good quality players. There are no star players as such, and though Peter Whittingham is absolutely integral - he doesn`t have an inflated ego to match and goes about his business quietly and with exquisite skill.
Another fundamental basis to Mackay`s ethos has been a superb squad discipline, both on and off the pitch. Something which was sadly lacking in previous seasons. The likes of Hudson, Turner, Kiss and Gestede are all powerful players, strong in the challenge and unafraid to get stuck in. However, the statistics show that the Bluebirds are way ahead of the curve in terms of discipline.
Cardiff City are one of just a few teams yet to receive a red card this season. Only Reading and Bristol City are also yet to see a man sent off in the league.
When it comes to bookings, The Bluebirds are also lagging way behind the vast majority of rivals with a total of 32 yellow cards this season. That`s an average of just over 1 per game. Only Coventry City (31) and Peterborough (30) have picked up fewer cautions.
In terms of fouls, City still fare much better than average - coming in as the 6th 'cleanest` in the Championship with 243 - some way off the likes of Portsmouth and Millwall who are both pushing 300.
The statistics can be used only as a rough guide of how Cardiff City are conducting themselves, but you would hardly say we are an aggressive side. What is pleasing is that we do not appear so easy to bully than in previous years when the likes of Gavin Rae, Joe Ledley, Paul Parry, Chris Burke etc would regularly lose the midfield battle and see us put under pressure. Even the slighter midfielders like Whittingham and McPhail do not seem to lose out in the same way as in the past, helped out by a higher work rate and team ethic as well as the tireless running of Cowie, and defensive solidity of Gunnarsson and Kiss.
Off the field, there are no such statistics, but the players seed more determined and focussed without the late night sessions that fans got to hear about last season. There is a job to be done, and it certainly seems the players and staff are going about it with as much dignity and professionalism as possible.
In short, Malky Mackay`s team have evolved quickly to form a tight knit and hard working unit with a fantastic balance of quality, doggedness and commitment. The Bluebirds fans are again enjoying the football, after stagnating somewhat in previous seasons. The fresh approach has brought dividends, and City will hope to continue this form and philosphies to maintain the promotion push towards the end of the season.