OPPONENTS Cardiff City at the Cardiff City Stadium
COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Tuesday 1st January 2019
PREVIEW Neil Warnock is living up to the anagram of his name to try and play mind games with the referee ahead of the meeting with Spurs after Harry Kane was booked for diving in Saturday's game.  Interesting that he tells his players not to breathe on the players of the top clubs, but he is OK with them scything them down when the ball has long gone.  The man is a dinosaur and that is often typified by the way his teams play, as he knows no other way.

So, what cane we expect from this match to see in the New Year ?  In my view, it will be much the same as any other Warnock team that we have faced.  Lots of running around.  Lots of "letting them know you're there" challenges.  Lots of moaning at the ref.  Lots of playing for set-pieces.  The game earlier this season at Wembley was tough until Ralls was dismissed for a cynical hack at Lucas Moura, who had run past him before getting a premeditated kick because he knew he couldn't catch him.  Warnock saw nothing wrong with it, sadly perhaps unsurprisingly.  

They have some decent players, but they are crammed into Warnock's strict formation that is all about organisation and there is little room for imagination.  Spurs will be hoping to get back on track after losing to Wolves, but they will need to find the energy that has seen off other teams and move the ball a lot better than they did in the last match.  The movement of the ball to keep Cardiff running round could be the key to wearing down their resistance and we need to convert more of the chances we make, as in the first half against Wolves, we spurned the ones that could have taken us into a commanding lead.  I suppose after the game against Everton and Bournemouth, there was going to be one game where we didn't score a hatful of goals.

It would be very pleasing if we could do so against Warnock's side, who are struggling to stay outside the bottom three and are managing it with one goal victories, but I can't see that happening today, unless Kevin Friend is persuaded by Warnock's sad ramblings.

PREDICTION Cardiff City    1        Tottenham Hotspur    2
Premier League Kick off 17:30
Cardiff City  0 (0)  
Tottenham Hotspur  3 (3)



Kane  02m 20s
Eriksen  11m 50s
Son  25m 52s


Crowd :   32,485 Weather :  Chilly, dry
Referee :  Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) Assistant Referees :  Mr. S. Burt; Mr. M. Wilkes
Fourth Official :  Simon Hooper  
Cardiff City kicked off and played towards the Family Stand end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 6 minutes.
Bamba (foul on Son)  52




Cardiff City : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit

  5  Ecuele MANGA
  4  Sean MORRISON  (c)
  Sol BAMBA      

13  Callum PATERSON
21  Victor CAMARASA  (  8  Joe RALLS  59)
  7  Harry ARTER
11  Josh MURPHY  (33  Junior HOILLETT  46)

14  Bobby REID  (19  Nathaniel MENDEZ-LANG  72)

Unused subs: 
  3  Joe BENNETT
24  Gary MADINE

    1  Hugo LLORIS (c)

  2  Kieran TRIPPIER
  6  Davinson SANCHEZ
  3  Danny ROSE

  8  Harry WINKS
7  Moussa SISSOKO 

  7  Heung-Min SON    (52  Oliver SKIPP  76)
20  DELE Alli  (18  Fernando LLORENTE  86)
Christian ERIKSEN 

10  Harry KANE 

Unused subs: 
21  Juan FOYTH
33  Ben DAVIES

Manager :  Neil Warock Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   Visit Malaysia Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  adidas Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

More or less the same Spurs side that lost at Wembley to Wolves took on Cardiff in Wales on New Yearís Day and came out of the game, unusually unbattered or bruised, but with three points safely in the bag by half-time, allowing them to ease of in the second half safe in the knowledge that Cardiff were unwilling to do much about it.

Neil Warnock should not have annoyed Harry Kane with his claims about his diving, as two minutes in, he had the ball in the Cardiff net. The ball was worked to him in midfield and Harry sprayed it right to Trippier. His low cross was aimed at Dele and Kane, who had continued his run and the ball bounced off him, off Morrison and then off Kaneís knee to slowly enter the goal at Etheridgeís right hand post. A goal so early was a great start, but would Cardiff come back like Wolves did four days before ?

Cardiff soon had a long throw and then a free-kick, but Spurs managed to defend those strongly.  Ironically, the referee had to speak to Harry Arter about diving and trying to get Dele in trouble. No doubt, Warnock will be mentioning that in his post-match interview ! Spurs were looking to hit on the break and when Kane played a quick pass out o Sissoko on the right, his ball inside to Son opened up a pass across the box to Eriksen on the left. Arter slid in to try and cut it out but was nowhere near it and Eriksen shifted the ball right and then shot between Mangaís legs as his shot went the other way and left Etheridge rooted to make it 2-0 with 12 minutes gone.  Apart from Hugo taking a corner high in the air at the far post under pressure from Morrison, not a lot happened until the 26th minute, when Dele won a ball in midfield to Sissoko, who ran forward before passing to Kane. His firs time pass into Son in the box saw Morrison stand off him, so he hit a shot across goal that caught Etheridge out and went past the keeperís right hand to make it 3-0. Tottenham had been passing the ball around so easily, the defence was all over the place, so Sonís task was a straightforward one.

When Sissoko ran up the right wing and pulled the ball back, it was behind Kane and nowhere near Eriksen, but Cunningham gave it straight to Son 20 yards out and his hit went a couple of feet over the top. The game resorted to Spurs passing the ball around unchallenged until the half-time  whistle, seeing Warnockís side going in three goals down.

For a side who had been promoted to the Premier League, there were large gaps in the home crowd areas at the start of the game. You would have thought that the reason they wanted promotion was to see the top teams pit their wits against their side, but apparently not so. They got a little excited in the 51st minute when a deflected right wing cross was left by Sanchez and Hoillett out-jumped Trippier at the far post to make Lloris make a save at the foot of his right hand post, but it was fairly straightforward.

Bamba was aghast that he was booked for raking his foot down Sonís Achilles, but then Kevin Friend ignored the new ruling that the player receiving treatment does not have to leave the pitch to be called back on if there was a booking. As it was Son had to go off amongst much discussion between him, Pochettino and the fourth official. The incident stirred the crowd again, but Tottenham returned to passing the ball around to players in acres of space with no Cardiff players closing them down. After Hoillett had knocked Sanchez off the ball down their left wing (fairly according to the ref), he was unable to pick out a team-mate in the box, leading to Spurs breaking away and Kane striking a fierce shot from the right hand corner of the box that flew a yard wide.

Kane had two shots blocked in the box and then Sissoko hung up a cross to the far post from the right for Dele, but he couldnít get a clean header on the ball. Bamba turned away from two Spurs players before hitting a white shit and Kane was away down the left with three Spurs free to his right, but he delayed the pass and when it came to Son ten yards out, the keeper was out to block his effort. It should have been used quicker and buried to put the game to bed and to allow players to be rested.

Cardiff forced Lloris into action, when he had to tip a mis-hit cross from Hoillett over the bar and the corner was won at the far post by Morrison, putting it into the goalmouth, where Gunnarsson was free in front of Hugo, but he turned his back on it and the ball dropped for Lloris to fall on it. The Icelander was offside anyway, but it encouraged the Bluebirds to push forward a bit more, but their main focus was on stopping more goals going in at their end.

Dele was going through the motions, making sure he didnít pick up another injury, while Son was replaced by Skipp, as Pochettino took the opportunity to rest the Korean. Eriksen played a great ball for Dele, whose first touch took him inside, but instead of shooting, he took the ball inside and Gunnarsson threw a block to keep it from making more work for the scorers as Cardiff fans flocked out of the stadium with over 10 minutes left. Cardiff did have a go, when Gunnarsson took on Skipp and went down in the box and then wanted a corner as Dele cleared up the loose ball. It looked as though both players had a handful of each othersí shirts, so a goal-kick was the outcome.

Hoillett tried a 25-yarder aiming for the top corner, but only found the top corner of the second  block of fans behind the goal. Kane was in the clear after Dele and Eriksen created the opening, but  he couldnít take it around Etheridge. Rose blasted one over the bar from 25 yards, then, after a lung busting run from halfway, Moussa Sissoko had a go from a tight angle on the right but put it over the  bar. Sissoko then found Rose with a rangy cross-field pass in lots of space and his low ball in
wasnít cleared by the home defence, leaving Kane to pick it up and try a left footed curled from just inside the box, but it was too high. 

Hoillett forced Lloris to a low save with a diving header, but he was offside, so the game ended with little noise from the much diminished home support, but with huge joy from out away following. The second half was nothing more than passing practice, as Cardiff were neither too bothered nor good enough to get anywhere near the Tottenham players. Not even close enough to damage them, which is a little surprising.

The win was a good reaction to losing out to Wolves, but has little significance in the whole season, as most teams should beat Cardiff and only the remaining games will determine how important these three points were.  A chance to rest some bigger names comes on Friday at Tranmere Rovers in the FA Cup, but all the games will be big games until the end of the season now.

The Polyphant

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What you thought
Benny The Ball There was no surprise that Warnock bleated on after the match about hard done by his side were and that Sissoko should have been sent off for a foul on Cunningham. Totally ignoring Bambaís crude stamp on Sonís heel of course.

He really is a manager who is out of his time and now out of his depth.  It is clear that he is form the school of "I'm not here to win friends" and there will be a long queue of people waiting for him to weigh in with their views on him when he decides to call it a day.  What is it that they say about being nice to people on the way up ... ?

Sid E Netting I bet that Cardiff fans would have been particularly pleased to hear Arter say after the game that the game was lost at half- ime ! Commitment was lacking as their only aim for the remaining 45 minutes was to keep the score down. At least some of their supporters must have known the teamís approach and that was why so many of them failed to stay to the end.
- -.



Other scores during this week :
Arsenal 4 Fulham 1 Tuesday
Everton 0 Leicester City 1 Tuesday
Bournemouth 3 Watford 3 Wednesday
Chelsea 0 Southampton 0 Wednesday
Huddersfield Town 1 Burnley 2 Wednesday
Manchester City 2 Liverpool 1 Thursday
Newcastle United 0 Manchester United 2 Wednesday
West Ham United London 2 Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Wednesday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Crystal Palace 2 Wednesday



League Table  2018-19
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Liverpool 21 17 3 1 49 10 54 +39
2 Manchester City 21 16 2 3 56 17 50 +39
3 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 21 16 0 5 46 21 48 +25
4 Chelsea 21 13 5 4 39 21 44 +18
5 Arsenal 21 12 5 3 45 26 41 +19
6 Manchester United 21 11 5 5 43 32 38 +11
7 Leicester City 21 9 4 8 25 23 31 +2
8 Watford 21 8 5 8 30 31 29 -1
9 Wolverhampton Wanderers 21 8 5 8 23 25 29 -2
10 West Ham United London 21 8 4 9 29 32 28 -3
11 Everton 21 7 6 8 31 31 27 0
12 Bournemouth 21 8 3 10 31 40 27 -9
13 Brighton & Hove Albion 21 7 5 9 24 29 26 -5
14 Crystal Palace 21 6 4 11 19 26 22 -7
15 Newcastle United 21 4 6 11 15 29 18 -14
16 Burnley 21 5 3 13 21 42 18 -21
17 Cardiff City 21 5 3 13 19 41 18 -22
18 Southampton 21 3 7 11 21 38 16 -17
19 Fulham 21 3 5 13 19 47 14 -28
20 Huddersfield Town 21 2 4 15 13 37 10 -24

Position before match :  3rd
Position after match :  2nd
Position after the midweek games :  3rd


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