Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Conclusions from Stadiwm Dinas Caerdydd

Cardiff City2-0Leicester
(HT 1-0)
Chopra 21
Ramsey 52




  • Chances not taken caused this upset. Cardiff's second goal came after their second attempt on goal. Leicester, at the same point of the match, had seven shots to their credit. This is a familiar story when we look back to September - not taking chances has cost the Foxes already this season.
  • Is this the straw that broke the camel's back? It was always probable that the promotion dreams of Foxes fans across the world would be ended should a defeat come our way, especially as our current form is hardly indicative of our season overall. Paulo Sousa left the club in a dire situation but the renaissance under Sven Goran Eriksson has been incredible, to the point where this week, after five straight wins, Leicester City supporters were speaking in hushed tones about the possibility of automatic promotion. That possibility needed current form to continue, always a difficult feat, and it seems that now another game has been lost - and the Foxes again drop into a negative goal difference - it is now probably beyond our reach.
  • It would be horrible to finish 7th. Of course this one defeat does not condemn us to another year in the Championship. Rather, it should refocus our aims on achieving play-off glory and this is certainly not an aim beyond our reach. It would only take Leeds losing another game for us to level with them on points and the target of around 76 points for the season means a loss is but a drop in the ocean at this point. The play-off party isn't off yet, boys, and any less from this stage in the season would be heartbreaking. To use a hideous Micky Adams-ism, Keep The Faith!



Winners 
Defending: Naughton was a rare star on a dark night for City
Ben Mee/Kyle Naughton
The best picks of a rather bad bunch, the defence could not really be faulted after a good Cardiff side beat them to create only a handful of chances. The Leicester midfield is a concern, with few players available to cover the trio of Yuki Abe, Richie Wellens and Andy King (an ageing Matt Oakley the only real option until d├ębutant Jeffrey Bruma - a defender by trade - got the nod tonight).

The Law of Averages
Our run of wins is gone now, so there is no perch from which the Foxes can be toppled. It was clear that Leicester were going to always lose one of the tough games approaching in the late winter/early spring period (Cardiff, QPR, Forest...) so now that's out of the way (and don't forget that Forest, along with Leeds and Norwich all dropped points tonight) City can focus back on gaining that play-off place.



Losers

Lloyd Dyer
The brightest spark in a rather dull first half, Dyer gave the Cardiff fans something to feel awkward about as he challenged the Bluebirds' back four with some powerful runs. More and more, however, as the game went on Dyer was stifled by the equally pacey Kevin McNaughton and it was right for him to be replaced and something new tried with little over twenty minutes to go.


(Mr) Yakubu
The Yak failed to lift his performance above ordinary once again tonight, demonstrating that without goals he is little more than a wasted man on the pitch. His ability in front of goal is without question, but when he isn't firing it feels like he has little to offer his team mates, particularly when there are so many hard workers in the rest of the squad.

Digging-in: A rare show of aggression from Yakubu as Paul Gallagher looks on


Ricardo
If only the Portuguese goalkeeper would occasionally keep hold of a ball, perhaps Foxes fans could begin to gain some confidence in his ability (an ability he does possess, he made a good save in the second half). As it stands, his insistence on punching the ball away from goal leaves a constant fear in blue shirted hearts that a poor clearance will lead to another conceded goal. As Alan Young neatly put it, why bother to practise catching if you aren't going catch a ball during the match?
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