Sunday, 25 September 2011

Conclusions from the Cardiff City Stadium

Cardiff City0-0Leicester City
(HT 0-0)

Cardiff City Stadium, attendance: 21,154
BBC Match Report

Home Team: Marshall, McNaughton, Hudson (Blake 46), Gerrard, Naylor, Kiss, Whittingham, Cowie (75), Conway (Earnshaw 25 (Gestede 43)), Gunnarsson, Miller

Away Team: Schmeichel, Peltier, Mills, Bamba (82), Konchesky (78), Abe, Wellens (90+2), King, Fernandes (Johnson 74), Beckford (Schlupp 72), Vassell

  • Saved by the linesman. Twice within the first half was Kenny Miller onside and through on goal and twice did the linesman flag for offside. They were not marginal decisions and Leicester City were very lucky indeed to not concede before the break.
  • Not that the Foxes did not have their opportunities. Andy King fired wide from eighteen yards after he was given time to bring the ball down outside the box, whilst Matt Mills had an opportunity from six yards that was saved by Cardiff keeper Lee Marshall. The clearest chance of the first half fell to Lee Peltier, whose header was stopped on the line by least-cute E.T. lookalike Robert Earnshaw.
  • It's all very well playing like Arsenal... But the Gunners' results so far this season have been nothing to shout about. A final product is what was lacking from both sides today, as was an element of class and finesse. This fixture was hardly a great advertisement for Championship football.

Lee Peltier and Yuki Abe
Another good performance that will affirm Peltier's position as first-choice left-back in the Leicester City squad. His links with an impressive Yuki Abe provided a positive outlet beyond the Foxes' oft-congested midfield and their hard work on the wing could have resulted in the away side going three-goals ahead within the first half hour alone, should better have been made of the chances they created. Indeed, Peltier himself could have given Leicester the lead within that time if his bullet header (from a surprisingly well-delivered Richie Wellens corner) had not been stopped by the knee of ol' buck-tooth Earnshaw.

Matt Mills
This was much more like the Mills that Reading fans would recognise. The £5 million man was equally happy to be found in either penalty area and it was indeed in Cardiff's that Mills grew most in confidence, reaching a number of headers and loose balls in and around the box. On another day he could have had his first goal in royal blue. His newly-assured presence at the back was indicative of a man growing in confidence with his new teammates.

Michael Johnson
A good end to the game for Leicester followed the introduction of Manchester City loanee Michael Johnson. As has already been said by a number of commentators, when fit he could be the fulcrum around which the whole promotion campaign could pivot.

Paul Konchesky
Paul Konchesky's threatening, powerfully driven long-range shots were a standout feature of the Foxes' attacks in the early stages of the second half but as he moved into more and more attacking positions the full-back left his goalkeeper exposed, something Cardiff should have exploited much more effectively.

Richie Wellens
Often caught in possession, Wellens failed to stamp his trademark controlling influence on this fixture and it was symptomatic of Wellens' failure to shine as an individual that Leicester City as a team did not spark the game into life. His niggly challenge for which he was rightly booked in injury time was typical of his day.

Jermaine Beckford
The boy must have been wearing a sheep-scented body spray, for Cardiff's defenders were all over Jermaine Beckford this afternoon. The Foxes' striker caused hassle for the Bluebird's defenders with his pace and movement, allowing the likes of Yuki Abe and Andy King room around the eighteen yard box. As he faded in the second half, however, failing to grab his first Leicester goal, allowing Jeff Schlupp a chance to run at the Cardiff defence, with fresh legs, was no bad thing.
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