Date:Monday October 22 2007
Is Stephen McPhail the team's lynchpin as we have been led to believe over the past season and a half.
Last year, we enjoyed a terrific start, McPhail was instrumental as we reaped the rewards of a fast paced style, with quick thinking, passing and running. However, with the wetter weather and heavier pitches came a downturn in form and fortunes, McPhail was closed down by opponents and our attacking threat suffered.
A creative midfielder, McPhail is said to have a fantastic array of passing - but in truth we haven't seen it this year. He seems to be suffering from the departure of his big mate Chopra, who desribed their on-pitch relationship as 'telepathic'.
McPhail does have an excellent touch, and makes time on the ball - rarely losing possession. But he seems unable to get quality possession and the short passes are often sideways or backwards. A cultured player, McPhail also favours flighted passes - but these are no good to us playing without pace (to get behind defenders) or genuine aerial ability meaning that possession is often lost.
McPhail is a favourite of Dave Jones, he has started every game in which he has been available, missing several through suspension and our win over Burnley through sickness. We didn't miss him as Joe Ledley stepped into the centre and played one of the best games in a Bluebirds shirt in years. We also have an abundance of talent on the wings to accomodate Ledley switching. Paul Parry or Peter Whittingham both have a shout for the left wing berth.
Add to that McPhail's shooting record. He hasn't scored in over a season with the Bluebirds, but has rarely looked like doing so either. Attempts are few and far between, McP often choosing to pass but those rare shots fly over of tamely into a waiting keeper's arms. For a player with good passing accuracy, and a cultured left foot - he should do better.
McPhail is a good player, with plenty to offer Cardiff City. This season he has been outplayed by Gavin Rae, and the two dont appear to work as a partnership. It must be time for the Irishman to have a break and not be an automatic selection - we don't need to change the way we play. I truly believe, it will do him good and when the next xhance presents himself, we will see more creativity, more responsibility and more flair.
Ledley and Rae in the centre against Wolves (Parry on left and Sinclair right), with McPhail able to come on in place of any midfielder (Parry or Ledley can switch) if we need more control.
What are your views? Is McPhail to integral to discard? Should the move have been made already? Will DJ EVER drop his main man?
LET US KNOW - leave a comment at the foot of this article and have your say!
Date:Monday October 22 2007
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