What Next For Cardiff City's Gunnarsson ?!?
Cardiff City midfielder Aron Gunnarsson has enjoyed a turbulent time over the past six weeks and the former Coventry City man has been kept fully on his toes with recent goings on.
Gunnar initially found himself in trouble on the International front and his captaincy of Iceland was put in question after comments he made describing Albanians as 'mostly criminals'. After being an integral part of Malky Mackay's starting XI for much of the season - he would then have been bitterly disappointed to lose his place in the starting XI for the Bluebirds.
You would have to say that Gunnarrsson has responded magnificently to that blow. He was dropped following defeat to Nottm Forest but came off the bench just days later to score the winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Watford - a well taken headed goal. It was a similar story as Burnley were demolished 4-0 but this time it was a sweetly struck effort attacking from deep - albeit with the game already won.
Gunnarsson was blameless for the debacle at Charlton as he watched his team-mates squander a 2-0 lead to trail 4-2. He was about to come on as a sub when Rob Hulse bagged a shocking 5th Addicks goal and with Gunnarsson on the pitch we at least managed a late rally to lose 5-4. It was a third goal in 4 games (all as sub) for Gunnarsson as he netted the final goal in injury time). That would be an excellent record even for a striker.
His impact as a substitute saw Gunnarsson restored to the starting line-up in place of the injured Don Cowie but his opportunity to impress was hit by the loss of Kevin McNaughton. With only left-sided Ben Nugent on the bench, Mackay was forced to re-shuffle and he brought on Kiss into midfield with Gunnarsson asked to fill in at right-back - a largely unfamiliar role.
However, Gunnarsson did well enough, even when the dangerous Robbie Brady was brought on to target him. Understandably, he played safe and stuck close to Hudson - leaving some space for the Tigers to exploit but he was determined, committed and showed good instincts to keep things relatively tight at the back. Forays forward were rare, but in fact Gunnarsson was again instumental in the Bluebirds securing three points....
The crucial 2nd goal came as a result of Whittingham collecting possession on the right and feeding a ball down the line for Gunnarsson. Whitts' pass was nicely weighted but you will rarely see a better cross into the box from deep as Gunnarsson was able to provide - expertly converted by Mark Hudson. The cross was head-height, travelling fast and with a wicked curve such that Amos and his defenders were sliced open and left completely exposed - a superb assist.
'Action man' Gunnarsson will surely start Saturday's home game against Middlesbrough, but who knows in what role and what he will contribute this time - hopefully to another Cardiff City home win!