What More Can Aron Do To Regain Cardiff City Place
Cardiff City midfielder Aron Gunnarsson came from the bench to stabilise the Bluebirds central areas for a second half vs Palace in which we looked far more comfortable and solid than before the interval.
Gunnarsson was his typical energetic self, but has far more to his game than the defensive minded spoiling aspects I had considered him for whilst at previous club Coventry City. The Icelander is a very good footballer and contributes in all aspects of our play. The arrival of Jordon Mutch has added more competition for his position - especially with Peter Whittingham an almost certainty for selection whenever available.
It was Gunnarsson who got the winning goal against Palace, his determined run and leap at the near post allowing him to power home Bellamy's corner - though he would most certainly not have been so happy to hear Ali's goal announcement referring to him as our 'super sub' !
The 23 year old has not started any of our 5 games in December so far, owing largely to the return of Jordon Mutch after a 2 month absence (foot injury). Mutch appeared twice as a substitute (at Derby & Barnsley) before reclaiming a starting place. Recently too, we have seen Scotsman Don Cowie operating in a central role. That worked reasonably well, most notably in the 4-1 away win at Blackburn Rovers - but doubts remain over a partnership of Whitts and Cowie which for me is too lightweight and lacks bite.
His performances aside, Gunnarsson has weighed in with a number of crucial goals for City - often from the bench earning him Ali's tag of super sub. Palace was the latest winning goal, but he also netted to win games against Barnsley and a 90th minute hammer blow to beat Watford at home. In total, he has 6 goals for the season, an impressive tally given his regular appearances from the bench.
For me, Gunnarsson definitely deserves to be ahead of Mutch in Malky's plan. Mutch is clearly a very good player with plenty of potential. However, he has struggled to regain his early season form and was well off the pace against Palace until he was withdrawn at half-time. Mutch's touch, range and pace was all lacking and we failed to match Palace for long periods.
A midfield duo of Whittingham and Gunnarsson is the right combination on current form, and with the right balance. Hopefully Malky will revert to that selection tomorrow for the visit of Millwall. If not, Gunnarsson will likely feature from the bench and will give it his all but it's hard to see what else he can do to regain his place!