|DATE||Sunday 22nd September 2013|
|VENUE||Cardiff City Stadium|
So, Spurs make another trip to Wales in the Premier League ... and
who would have thought we would be saying that a few years back ??
The Bluebirds (or the red dragons, as they might be soon... and who would have thought we would be saying that a few years back ??) host a Spurs team who are on a good run in the league, filled with confidence now that the new players are quickly bedding in and making a difference to the style of play.
Of course, one of the players who might have been in a white shirt, will be sporting the red of Cardiff (who would have thought we would be saying that a few years back ??). Steven Caulker was a surprise move in the summer, having been earmarked as one for the future, but the need for first team football in a season with a World Cup at the end of it prompted a transfer to the Welsh club for what seems a very reasonable fee. Strong in the air, Caulker's weakness may be his positioning and the communication with his keeper, which showed a little last season in a few games.
There was a decent amount of investment in the side during the summer, but how deep the squad looks will unfold in the latter months of this year. At the moment, they have almost a full squad to choose from and that includes the returning Craig Bellamy, who looks like he will just play the big games; Gary Medel, the chair kicking madman from Chile; the man who couldn't wait to get away from West Brom - Peter Odemwingie and former Rennes defender Kevin Théophile-Catherine. Bellamy is a nuisance and as he had got older and lost his pace, he tries to use his experience more, while Odemwingie has been brought in to introduce some pace into the attack. Medel is a tough guy, with an obsession about tackling, but he can use the ball once he has won it. Théophile-Catherine, I have little info on, other than he had won French Under-21 and Under-20 caps and spent sic years at the Ligue 1 club.
Fellow defender Ben Turner, had a prosaic background, playing for Coventry City, but is also an U19 international, for England, but had knee trouble although got over it to play (and score) in the League Cup final against Liverpool and then feature in Cardiff's promotion season of 2012-13. Andrew Taylor is a former Middlesbrough defender, who also played at almost every age group in the England set-up, but has not been able to make the step up to the full squad.
Midfielder Arun Gunnarson is another former Coventry City player, who had appeared for AZ Alkmaar before that. The Icelander is a dynamic ball-player, who makes the team tick and he also likes to get forward into the box. Alongside him will be the tenacious Medel with Kim Bo-Kyung wide on the left. A South Korean international, he possesses a fearsome shot and a bit of pace, but he may have trouble getting past Kyle Walker and may find himself tracking back, as the Townsend-Walker partnership is working well so far this season. Bellamy will be deployed on the other wing against Danny Rose, if fit or otherwise it could be Kyle Naughton.
The strike-force of Odemwingie and another familiar face in Frazier Campbell, possess pace and good finishing skills, but lack a little in presence, which is where Cardiff will miss the massive Andreas Cornelius, who is out injured. Both the fit strikers have scored in the Premier League, but neither have been prolific and this is the currency that is vital to top flight teams, especially those who are trying to stay up. Will try and pass the ball through our back-line, who will have to be careful not to get caught on the turn.
For Spurs, the missing players might be more important than those in the side. Lacking Capoue is not as much a miss as it might have been with Paulinho and Sandro available and the same with Lennon's absence being covered by Townsend, but if Rose is missing, we have no natural left back cover apart from Vertonghen and his preferred position is in the middle of the back four. The system has been working well up until now, so AVB will be loathe to change it, but with the flexibility of a number of player sin the side and their ability on the ball, it will hopefully not make too much of a difference, as they go on to win another match, albeit one that the home side (the dragons) will be fired up for.
|PREDICTION||Cardiff City 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Sours are hopeful that Danny Rose might be able to play after injuring an ankle on Thursday in the Europa League, while Mousa Dembele and Younes Kaboul, who also left the field in that match, are likely to be available. Etienne Capoue (ankle), Nacer Chadli (adductor muscle) and Aaron Lennon (foot) are all still sidelined. Vlad Chiriches should be available after getting his work permit.
CARDIFF CITY TEAM NEWS :
Goalkeeper David Marshall should return from his time out with a hip injury, while Craig Bellamy is set to be ready to start. However, record signing Andreas Cornelius is still absent injured with an ankle knock picked up in the League Cup at Accrington Stanley.
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
City 0 (0) Tottenham Hotspur
Sunday 22nd September 2013 Kick off 16:00
Cardiff City Stadium
Turner (foul on Townsend) 63
Walker (foul on Whittingham ) 7
Townsend (foul on Kim) 47
Dawson (foul on Kim) 70
Soldado (time wasting) 90+4
|Crowd : 27,815||Weather : Warm, sunny|
|Referee : Mark Clattenburg (Tyne And Wear)||Assistant Referees : Mr. S. Beck; Mr. S. Child|
|Fourth Official : Anthony Taylor||-|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the North Stand end in the first half.|
|Cardiff City :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
BELLAMY (c) (19
Don COWIE 78)
Harry KANE 82)
9 Roberto SOLDADO
|Manager : Malky Mackay||Manager : Andre Villas-Boas|
|Sponsor : Visit Malaysia||Shirt sponsor : Hewlett Packard|
|Kit Supplier : Puma||Kit Supplier : Under Armour|
For a match that saw Tottenham take the game to the home side and enjoy 63% of possession, it was the cautious approach taken by Malky Mackay, the Cardiff City manager, which probably condemned his side to defeat in the end. Tottenham's attacking instincts were to the fore today and although there was only one goal to show for it, on another day, there could have been many more. However, there are instances during matches, when you feel two men up top might convert more of the openings we are making.
Spurs started without Danny Rose, who was replaced by Naughton at left back, with Gylfi keeping his place in the side on the left, while Christian Eriksen played in front of a four man midfield and just behind Roberto Soldado. And it was the Dane who was early into the action. Eriksen's cross almost found Gylfi Sigurdsson getting goal-side of his marker, but the clearance fell to Kyle Naughton, who hit a shot from 25 yards out, but it flew harmlessly over the top in the third minute, but two minutes later, Naughton played a short back pass, Vertonghen left it and Frazier Campbell stole in to run in on Lloris, who came out to meet him. As he slid out at his feet, he palmed the ball away on the ground, but he was perilously close to the edge of his box and the officials waved play on, but a different decision could have meant red for him so early in the match. As play continued, Kyle Walker was booked for a foul on Gunnarson.
Spurs created a good chance on ten minutes, when Townsend played a ball outside the full back for Walker and his low pull back was met by Roberto Soldado, who dropped back from his marker. The Spaniard's shot was stopped at the near post by David Marshall with a sprawling save. The keeper was in action again, when Naughton's fierce cross was glanced at goal by Gylfi and the keeper got down to his left to hold the effort. As the ball was being played around and Cardiff dropped deep into their own last third, Spurs created opportunities and a speedy break into the box with the ball from deep saw Walker denied at the last by a tackle from Ben Turner. A 25 yarder from Eriksen that skipped off the turf saw Marshall grateful for the ball being palmed wide.
A block from a defender on Soldado's shot as he chested the ball down 12 yards out, ended with the ball running to Eriksen, who drove the ball low from 18 yards and Marshall was down to it to get to the ball, but was relieved when it dribbled just wide of the post to his left. Next it was Sigurdsson turning to the right of centre to hit a 23 yard shot that the keeper once more had to dive to keep out. With half the half gone, it must have been more than half of the possession to Spurs and certainly they had the territorial advantage despite the early scare. Townsend stung Marshall's palms with a shot from 20 yards out on the right and then more centrally had two defenders diving in front of him to block his next effort on goal.
Former Spurs loan striker Frazier Campbell must have upset Dawson during his time at the club, as the Tottenham captain piled into a sliding tackle with the former Manchester United man and he needed a fair bit of treatment afterwards. Apart from a long range Medel shot that went well over the top, there was little threat on the Spurs goal until some sloppy play by Lloris saw him try and keep the ball in, but it got away from him and a corner to Cardiff resulted. As the ball came in Gunnarson was pulling Lloris round and Ben Turner rose that the far post to head into the net, but he had been using Michael Dawson to gain some height and prevent the Spurs skipper getting any too. Dawson was then penalised for a pull on Kim, giving Cardiff a soft free-kick and when it was headed away by the captain, it fell to Turner, who tried an overhead kick, but it was mis-hit and way wide of the mark.
So at half time, Spurs had dominated much of the 45 minutes with 60% possession and 14 attempts on goal, but still had nothing to show for it in terms of goals.
At the start of the second half, Craig Bellamy beat the offside trap on the right and slipped the ball across the face of the goal, but it was cut out by Lloris. Then a silly foul by Townsend near halfway when he tried to de-bag Kim brought a yellow card and a free-kick that ended up with Bellamy shooting at goal and it being deflected over the top for a corner. Six minutes into the second half, Cardiff were saved by the woodwork, as Gylfi Sigurdsson unleashed a fine shot that beat Marshall, but struck the crossbar and bounced out to Soldado. Even though it came out at pace, Roberto struck it first time, low and hard, but the keeper was alert, as he didn't have a chance with the first shot.
When Spurs won a corner shortly afterwards, everyone apart from Lloris was within 30 yards of the Cardiff goal !! But as Tottenham moved the ball around the chances appeared to be created with more and more ease. Soldado forced a close range save from Marshall with a volley, but he was offside, then Sigurdsson got to the line on the left to pull back for Paulinho to flick the ball goal-wards at the near post, but the keeper got down to keep it out at the foot of his post. It was hard to see how Cardiff would get back into the game, but what looked like a wasted free-kick turned into a good opening, when Whittingham won the ball back and Bellamy put another low cross across the face of goal with nobody there to turn it home. They had another opportunity when Odemwingie turned in the box and crossed for Gunnarson to volley over and then the former WBA man was played in, when Bellamy won the ball from Naughton, cutting inside from the right inside the box to curl a shot well wide.
Tottenham's problem appeared to be, that despite all the possession, they did not have two forwards in the box when the ball went in. Soldado really needs someone up there to partner him. For the game to be left at 0-0, it was still n a knife-edge, as you knew Cardiff would have a go towards the end and with ten minutes to go, it looked like the home side might win it. Odemwingie got wide right and pulled the ball back from the dead ball line for Gunnarson, who fired it way too high when he would have hit the target at the vary least.
As the game came to an end, Spurs played the ball across the pitch and when Walker's cross was knocked back by Kane to Naughton, he played it back to the striker who curled a shot through the goalmouth that went wide. With seconds left before the 90 minutes were up, Kyle Walker hit a shot from 25 yards out, but it went a couple of yards wide, but the best chance came when Lewis Holtby slipped a meat pass through the left side of the box ad Paulinho got on the end of it, but Marshall was quick to close him down and block the shot.
Tottenham kept pressing, with Naughton's cross glanced at goal by Soldado's head that forced Marshall to touch it wide, then the corner was played to the far post, where Dawson smashed a shot at goal, but hit a defender. The pressure was still building and building, with two minutes of the four added minutes gone, the ball was played wide right by substitute Lewis Holtby to Erik Lamela, who played a first time ball with the outside of his left foot. The ball travelled about five yards into the near post area, where Paulinho got across his man to drag the ball into the net behind his left leg with his right foot. It was a well created goal and for all the previous 23 chances, it was one that perhaps might have been caused by the deep positions that the Cardiff players were adopting.
So a 1-0 win, but one which sees us second and with a great defensive record (and who would have thought we would be saying that a few years back ?? [as the preview said]) !!
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|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Newcastle United||2||Hull City||3||Saturday|
|Norwich City||0||Aston Villa||1||Saturday|
|West Bromwich Albion||3||Sunderland||0||Saturday|
|West Ham United||2||Everton||3||Saturday|
|Crystal Palace||0||Swansea City||2||Sunday|
|Manchester City||4||Manchester United||1||Sunday|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||5||1||2||2||4||4||5||0|
|15||West Ham United||5||1||2||2||4||4||5||0|
Position before match :
Position after match : 2nd
Position after the weekend : 2nd
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