Cardiff City Must Avoid Repeat Of Hammers Defeat
Cardiff City have no reason to fear West Ham United, despite the host of quality players at 'Big Sam's' disposal for the all-important play-off clash tonight. The Bluebirds reached the play-offs on merit, and with a good work-rate and discipline key to the success.
However, whilst unbeaten in ten games, City must be realistic and concede that it will require two very good performances to win the tie over the two legs.
Playing at home first is the disadvantage conferred by finishing 5th or 6th, meaning that West Ham will now know what they must do at Upton Park next Monday. City will not be sure whether a draw, or win is required in the home fixture.
What is certainly not needed, is a repeat of the last time West Ham visited CCS. Not just the disappointment of a 2-0 defeat, there is little shame in that. On that day in early March, Cardiff City played very poorly and were soundly beaten in a flat atmospher, lacklustre performance and deserved to lose. West Ham completely outclassed us and cantered to an easy win.
Some of that may have been down to the agonising and tiring Carling Cup final - the previous game and just a week before the Hammers defeat. Another such performance would surtely see us out of the play-offs even before half-time.
The Bluebirds are certainly difficult to beat, and even a narrow loss would give hope of overturning that at Upton Park - where the Hammers will come under intense pressure and scrutiny from their fans. We have certainly seen enough from Malky Mackay's squad to be confident that we will put in a gutsy, hard-working performance tonight and that if the likes of Whittingham and Mason can find some space - we will cause problems for any side - let alone West Ham United.