Cardiff City Outmuscled By Stoke
Saturday saw two sides with hugely contrasting styles of play as Stoke City hosted Cardiff City - both sides doing well in the Championship and in impressive form heading into the game.
Stoke City are quite simply a gigantic team. I really feared for us at set-pieces, we've often dodgy at defending corners but to see Fuller, Sidebe, Leon Cort and Ryan Shawcross all loitering was somewhat scary.
Stoke knew their strength and were often more than happy to settle for a corner whenever attacking. They caused problems and got their first goal from that position, albeit with a touch of misfortune.
Cardiff by contrast are much more of a pure footballing side. What would be the point of Ledley, Whittingham and McPhail if they weren't going out to play fast, free-flowing football based around a high tempo passing game?
Unfortunately for Cardiff, Stoke were just a little too effective at what they do and it's fair to say the blustery and bitterly cold conditions were more in favour of the powerful Potters. Cardiff by no means were intimidated, they stood up to the challenge and battled hard but in the end it wasn't quite enough.
If was encouraging to see the second half pressure despite going 2-0 down and we did continue to play our natural game. The performance was not what we have come to expect but it was just small things missing. Both Stoke goals had an air of fortune, a bizarre o.g. and dubious penalty gives an idea! But Cardiff displayed some poor defending at times while several chances were missed because of slight delays or poor first touches. Hasselbaink wasted a glorious opportunity when clean through.
This was a blip in difficult conditions against a very strong Stoke side in almost top form. Cardiff have plenty to work on but remain in a strong position and show signs of establishing themselves as a very good side. The last month was not a fluke, and the points will continue to come for the Bluebirds.