Saturday, January 31, 2009

Championship Game 29: CARDIFF CITY 2 Nottingham Forest 0 match report

Two stunning left foot strikes by Paul Parry and Jay Bothroyd disposed of the dogged and hard resistance of a uncompromising Nottingham Forest side showing all the hallmarks of being managed by Billy Davies but suffering their first defeat under his charge as Cardiff City secured a double over a Midlands aside for the second time in 4 days.


The visitors fighting hard all the way combined with the legginess and knocks with City playing their third tough games in 6 days and their second in less than 72 hours was apparent but this Cardiff side always had an edge in quality and met fire with fire to see them home. Not a game for the purist but those goals and that result will do for me.


The result took City to 51 points and means, barring administration, The Blues Are Saying Up and now some of us can stay to wonder if maybe The Blues Are Going Up as they enter the final third of the season in 4th spot 7 points behind the auto-promotion spots but 5 points and a vastly superior goal difference ahead of the chasing pack outside the zone plus with a game in hand (at home too) over everyone.


With Kevin McNaughton and Joe Ledley amongst others patched up, City started with the same 11 that faced Arsenal and Coventry in CARDIFF CITY
: Enckleman; McNaughton-Johnson-Gypes-Kennedy; Burke-Rae-Ledley-Parry; Bothroyd-McCormack. Subs: Heaton-Comminges-Johnson(Eddie)-McPhail-Purse.


City are top of are form leagues, now unbeaten in 13 and have won 5 on the bounce in the league at Ninian Park but Forest, despite their lowly position, presented the sternest of tests. While not a bad side, they couldn't buy a goal and had been in the relegation zone all season long which saw them depart with Colin Calderwood and install Billy Davies at the start of the month to produce immediate dividends with 3 successive Championship wins before today as well as a fantastic 3-0 slaying of Manchester City in Manc-land. Like City, they replay to get into the 5th round in the coming week and came into this clash 3rd in the form league.


Ex-City hero Rob Earnshaw was out injured but they had one time City target Tyson up front accompanied by Thornill (what's that pert of Cardiff doing playing against us??). FOREST
: Smith; Chambers-Morgan-Breckin-Perch; Wilson-McGugan-McCleary-Cohen; Thornhill-Tyson.


In front of an excellent 18,779 crowd on a chilly last day of January meaning it wasn't far short of a City sell out with 1,250 or so Forest fans, City kicked off attacking the Canton Stand end but the game opened in a tired fashion with low thrills entertainment such as could Peter Enckleman keep back-passes in play? He had a few and yes he did ... all except one anyway.


City were generally in control but were creating little. The first oohs and aahs came as Paul Parry sent over a corner and rebound attempt with some venom but neither saw a Blue shirt connect. Forest's first scare was self-inflicted as Peter Enckleman froze on his line leaving Roger Johnson to contest a through ball with Tyson and only just hooking the ball away before he let Encks know what he thought, I'm sure the entire Grange End heard that too.


With Forest happy (or only able) to defend deep, in considerable numbers and with considerable height at the back too, the contest become congested and strangled so it needed a goal to open it up, thankfully it came City's way. Ross McCormack got the ball with few options around him and, for once, finding no Forest defender on him either. His highly speculative shot hit a defender and ran of the box but in prime position for
PAUL PARRY who spectacularly smashed the ball precision perfect on the deck right inside the far post, its sheer power beating Paul Smith's sprawling dive. A wonderful hit, the sort he's managed a few times at the Grange End but very rarely at the Canton Stand.


Forest fans had delighted in becoming strangely patriotic and singing God Save The Queen but soon realised that There'll Always Be An England, There'll Always Be A King but There's Always Be A Taffy To Do The Notts Scabs In! ;>)


Parry has played well but not his best during the recent run but was up for it today, that was confirmed minutes later as he won a big tackle tracking back as City were now in full flow and had upped their tempo to leave Forest breathless. They almost doubled their lead as Ross McCormack jinked down the right, slipped a defender and sent a low ball across that Jay Bothroyd met on the full turning with exemplary technique to bullet a shot inches past the post with Smith nowhere.


Parry was closer, Bothroyd closer still and then Jay Bothroyd once more showed outstanding skill to flick a ball past two defenders to send Joe Ledley clear on goal. Joe took a second too long to shoot and as he did, he was taken down by Wes Morgan making a desperate challenge from behind. It wasn't the worst challenge, it was for the ball but, without the benefit of tv, O thought he caught Joe for sure and it was an obvious penalty and, by rules, a red card too. Ref Hegley refused to give it causing fury amongst the City fans but that was barely the start of it as he went on to give a series of balling and inconsistent decisions and, at times, make himself the centre of attention as City realised they were facing 12 reds, 11 in the Forest shirt and that ref with Ginger hair!


The final chance of the half was Cardiff's too as a corner was cleared into the air, Roger Johnson tried an ambitious overhead kick from 15 yards which was blocked and followed up by a rasping Joe Ledley volley which cleared the bar. A tough half but City's quality shone on several occasions and marked them out as the superior outfit.


Half-time: Owain Glyndwr 1 Robin Hood 0


The second period, City's second half apart, was instantly forgettable. Forest brought on a striker Garner as they went 4-4-2 with recognised strikers after a negative first half set up and they benefited from it while Roger Johnson returned with a bandaged right hand.


However the only excitement was apoplexy and the only noise was derision with ref Hegley who was whistle happy, forever talking to Forest players as they clattered in time after time but just when we thought he'd forgotten his cards, out came one for Gypes. Fair enough for his challenge but it was hardly worse than some we'd also seen from Forest men and when an identical foul was committed on Chris Burke, that was a normal free-kick. You did worry whether his erratic ways would affect the outcome of the game and cost City, thankfully they didn't.


Forest were pressing but not really creating, their only chance came from a City error as McNaughton's under-steered back header saw Tyson free but City's central defenders closed him down quickly forcing an angled effort under pressure which was too close to Enckleman, a major let off but the Forest man was closer with a dipping drive that was just over.


Another setback saw Gabor Gypes depart with 20 minutes left and Darren Purse, the man who almost left for Norwich, come on proving that he is still needed around the club at present and mark his mark immediately winning a couple of bug headers although City look more unbalanced as Purse on the pitch forces Roger Johnson to play on the left side in that pairing.


Bothroyd smashed another low screamer which was straight at Smith but he did well to take low down and then the ref got his only cheers of the afternoon as he finally, and long overdue, booked a Forest man but only after 20 seconds of contemplation and then another immediately for dissent.


Calamity almost fell City's way as Purse stumbled under challenge but was adjudged to be fouled which was just as well as Tyson netted with Enckleman caught out before City finally ended the tenseness as 4 minutes remained with a sublime
JAY BOTHROYD effort.


Bothroyd took the ball on the Grandstand touchline, came inside, beat a defender inside out, side-stepped another in the box and then shot across Smith to score off the inside of the far post. An audacious piece of skill which sent the roof off NP Towers and, humorously, acted as the cue for upto half the Forest fans to walk out. Bothroyd was booked was removing his shirt in celebration leaving City fans to salute him and wave cheerio to Forest at the same time.


Game over, job done but not before City's fans screamed EDDIE, EDDIE, EDDIE as Mr Johnson replaced McCormack in stoppage time and they chanted it again as he immediately challenged for a header, Darren Purse made a tremendous interception to stop Forest grabbing a consolation and give City their 6th clean sheet in 8 games (the only goals conceded since mid-December are those last kick equalisers by Reading and Birmingham) while Comminges came on and ran onto the pitch for all of 5 seconds before the final whistle blew sop his only work was shaking hands with the Forest men and wondering how to spend his appearance money.


City now travel to The Emirates for the F.A. Cup replay with Arsenal on Tuesday. The money is great but it's a game they could probably do without. The next one that really matters for me is bottom club Charlton away next Saturday, a further chance to build on what is now a hugely exciting season that is producing a real buzz and where City fans, with rare optimism, feel that anything is possible. Given the attitude, flair and tenacity of this side, it genuinely is too. It certainly feels good just being able to dare to dream, long may it continue.

As it stands, the Championship table tonight

P GD PTS
1 Wolverhampton 30 23 62
2 Reading 30 32 58

3 Birmingham 30 10 56
4 Cardiff 29 15 51
5 Sheff Utd 30 14 48
6 Preston 30 4 48

7 QPR 30 4 46
8 Burnley 30 0 46
9 Swansea 30 10 45
10 Ipswich 30 11 43
11 Bristol City 29 2 41
12 Crystal Palace 29 5 40
13 Sheff Wed 30 -10 39
14 Coventry 30 -4 37
15 Blackpool 30 -8 37
16 Plymouth 29 -6 34
17 Nottm Forest 30 -9 33
18 Derby 29 -11 32
19 Barnsley 30 -12 32
20 Norwich 30 -7 31
21 Doncaster 29 -12 31

22 Watford 30 -11 30
23 Southampton 30 -18 28
24 Charlton 30 -22 2

Forest Boss Davies' reaction to defeat at Ninian Park

Have a listen to Billy talking Forest and Cardiff City here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/7862932.stm


.

Quincy "Russian" into Cardiff City


CARDIFF CITY have just announced the loan signing of the 22 year old Ghanain international born in Amsterdam forward Quincy Owusu-Abeyie (thankfully known as Quincy!!) on loan for the rest of this season.

It sounds exotic to say that he is arriving on loan from Spartak Moscow but, truth is, he has spent all season on loan to date at Championship rivals Birmingham City for whom he started 12 times in the league and came on as sub 7 times scoring twice, one of them a winner for the Brummies at Ninian Park earlier this season.



NO, NOT THAT QUINCY!!!!

The player started his career as one of Arsene's babies at Arsenal and appeared 23 times for the Gunners also scoring 2 goals. He can play as a striker but is often used as a wideman and certainly has pace.


He will link up with City and be considered for the first time in the away league clash at Charlton Athletic next weekend.

Porter joins Derby, City have alternatives lined up but late Ledley interest?

It appears that Chris Porter has opted to join Derby County over Cardiff City and completed a move to the middling Championship club yesterday.

Got to admit not knowing anything about the player so while I don't think he's made the best decision, it's hardly a loss if Cardiff didn't get him.

Meanwhile, Cardiff are believed to be close to bringing in two other strikers instead, possibly via the loan market and one touted as being from overseas - let's hope they're not bringing back Iwan Redan or Luigi Glombardi then!!!

One other story to watch - Newcastle United are rumoured to be making late enquiries for Joe Ledley. They have lost bad boy Joey Barton for the season to injury while N'Zogbia has vowed never to play for them again to force a move out of the club creating a crisis but they have responded by signing Kevin Nolan from Bolton for £4.2M and are getting Scott Taylor form Wigan so hopefully they have covered their bases.

City are at home later to Nottingham Forest.


b

Friday, January 30, 2009

Tonight's Cardiff City Phone-In


Features news on the Cardiff City Academy, looks back at that excellent Coventry win and, most of all, looks forward to the visit of Nottingham Forest tomorrow.



'Well boss to Porter - Join The City!

Motherwell manager Mark McGhee will be speaking to striker Chris Porter after his U-Turn and urge him to sign for Cardiff City before the opportunity passes. McGhee also believes the player is being badly advised by his agent but there are some suuggestions he would prefer to joimn Derby County - muppet!

Read this story for more:

Ninian is the right place for Porter – McGhee

No Change for Purse


Darren Purse's mooted transfer to Norwich City is off and he will stay at Ninian Park at least until the end of this season. Purse is only likely to play for Cardiff City should Roger Johnson or Gabor Gypes get injured or suspended.

The club told him he could leave if they managed to sign a replacement and he was in talks with The Canaries but Dave Jones has failed to find an adequate replacement with the transfer window about to close and told Purse he will stay at the club. The player took the news well and said he is happy to help Cardiff's quest for the season remainder but, deep down, I'm sure he just wants to play football and if that isn't at Cardiff, the it has to be elsewhere. That will now surely happn this summer.

Willo Signs On at Celtic




Wee Willo Flood has completed his move from Cardiff City to Celtic and everyone seems delighted. Flood, an expensive failure at Ninian Park after being bought for £200,000, went for free when City had hoped for £50,000 but the club were just happy to get him off their wage bill as Dundee United, where he had been on loan for one and a half seasons, paid a relatively minor portion of his pay.

Willo, a lifelong Celtic fan, is delighted to be joining the club he adores while Gordon Strachan, Celtic boss, is happy to get such a capture for nothing.

Flood expressed his delight at joining Celtic, thanked Dundee United but had nothing to say about Cardiff ... it's mutual though as Cardiff City fans haven't really got anything to say about him. The average City fan had forgotten he was a Cardiff player before all this transfer talk emerged after all. The time spent at the club saw him have some popularity with the fans for a time before it was widely acknowledged he was too lightweight for the demands at that time.

Some players and transfers just don't work out at some clubs. that's how it was with Willo here. Good Luck to him.

Porter given 24 hours by City

It's ni sirprise to lean Chris Porter stalled on his move to Cardiff City due to the influence of agents. The player apparently advised he may get a better summer deal when out of contract.

No doubt, City's contract offer would be lucrative but why not be even greedier eh?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1132037/Motherwell-left-sweat-picking-windfall-striker-Porter.html?ITO=1490

Flood to sign for Celtic today


The day after missing the decisive penalty in an extraoridinary 11-10 penalty shoot-out that put his on-loan side Dundee United out of a Scottish Cup to Celtic, Willo Flood met up with the victors to take a full medical and is set to be unveiled as a new signing today joining ex-Bl;uebird Glen Loovens at the club.

Flood was in his second full season on loan at United but out of contract at Cardiff City this summer. They wanted to keep him but were unable to match his financial demands, indeed Cardiff City are believed to still be paying the bulk of his wage now.

A good story appears in today's Times about Flood.

Willo Flood on way to Celtic
Times Online


Willo Flood on way to Celtic
Times Online

Porter Deal "on hold"

It is now confirmed that the Chris Porter deal is on hold until the final day of the transfer window on Monday amid claims that he is now likely to take another deal.

The Motherwell striker apparently set off to South Wales for a medical before he "turned back to consider other options" - which translated means his agent is trying to get a better deal elsewhere first.

The Bluebirds are reported to remain interested and could yet complete the deal on Monday but whether they wish to wait and possibly lose out altogether as the transfer window shuts is another matter.

More Health & Fitness
















Thursday, January 29, 2009

Have City Lost A Porter?


BBC and Motherwell reported this morning that they Cardiff City are raiding them for players again. After the fantastic capture of Ross McCormack last summer, The Bluebirds are said to be returning for striker Chris Porter but by the end of tonight, there is still no word from Cardiff City or any source that any deal has been concluded while some rumours persist another club, possibly Derby County, may hijack the deal while while Norwich, Ipswich, Plymouth, Sheffield United and Wigan are all reported to be chasing him too.


Cardiff City need another 2 strikers ideally and Porter would fit the bill as a back up option. 24, out of contract this summer and with 9 goals in the SPL including 5 in his last 5 games, the striker found his way North after 50 league goals in 100 starts plus sub outings for Bury and Oldham.


It is hard to believe that the fee will be £400,000 and it is more likely to be a nominal amount but will it go ahead? We'll see.


BBC REPORT > Well accept Cardiff Porter offer

Wales Online discuss the rise & rise of Cardiff (oh and Swansea)

Coventry City 0 Cardiff City 2 - the papers say

Coventry City 0 Cardiff City 2

Coventry Telegraph

Cardiff City climb to fourth in Championship - WalesOnline

Cardiff City aiming at ‘Big Three’

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Championship Game 28: Coventry City 0 CARDIFF CITY 2 match report


CARDIFF CITY dazzled in the West Midlands pulling off a comprehensive 2-0 win at Coventry City that propelled them into the Championship's 4th spot. The final score flattered the home side who were in good form going into the contest but great goalkeeping and wasteful finishing stopped City winning by, perhaps, double the margin that is was.


I was only able to know I could go to the game late in the day and only managed to book tickets with Cardiff City ticket office as they were returning the unsold ones with the stewards. It took me ages to get through on phone lines blocked with customers more interested in getting Arsenal tickets even though they didn't go on sale until next day and couldn't be bought from the club. 1,072 were sold by City but, after all that hassle, sod's law that Coventry had a cash turnstile open when we got there anyway taking the away following well past 1,100.


The journey up went smoothly despite delays around Newport and, fortunately, getting past a three car pile up blocking two lanes of the M5 moments after it occurred and before emergency services arrived. It would significantly delay those further behind.


The beauty of Cardiff City's new ground is that it remains central, is easy to get to and is near habitation, pubs and shops. Ricoh Arena, while easy to access straight off the M6, is effectively 4 miles outside Coventry itself meaning you can only get there by transport. Car parking at the ground was £10 or about £5 at several places 15-20 minutes walk away. I took my dad for a night out, good son you see!, so paid the premium but it meant we had no pre-game pub and none are nearby.


The stadium itself is very impressive, built and finished in better style than the 'New Ninian' but it's 33,000 arena containing less than 15,000 spectators meant it was soulless and devoid of atmosphere from the home fans whom City subjected to the timeless chants of "they're here, they're there, they're every ****ing where, empty seats, empty seats" as well as "your ground's too big for you".


Team news saw City name an unchanged side from the 11 sent out to get that creditable weekend draw with Arsenal. Jay Bothroyd, the only doubt, passed a late fitness test so it was. CARDIFF CITY: Enckleman; McNaughton-Johnson-Gypes-Kennedy; Burke-Rae-Ledley-Parry; Bothroyd-McCormack. Subs: Heaton-Comminges-Johnson(Eddie)-McPhail-Purse.


The Sky Blues started and finished the night in 14th spot but went into the game unbeaten in 7, having won 4 of their last 5 and unbeaten at home in 6 making them tough opposition even if locals had not been overly impressed with the performances during this run but their home record wasn't great - it now reads 5 wins, 5 draws and 5 defeats in the league - so gave City hope and, on the night, there were made to look a painfully limited side devoid of any meaningful tactics or ideas. Credit to Cardiff for that however.


Coventry City:
Westwood; Hall-Ward-Turner-Fox; Mifsud-Sawyer-Gunnarsson-McKenzie; Eastwood-Morrison.


Attacking the end furthest away from us City could have opened the scoring inside the first 20 seconds as a Bothroyd flick sent McCormack away but he failed to shoot with only Westwood to beat. Maybe the ball was running away from him, it was hard to tell from so far away as City fans cramped and jostling about as stewards closed the back half of the stand making it overcrowded at the front until they finally saw common sense.


That wasted chance was cancelled out at Freddie Eastwood should have put the home side ahead, Gunarrsson (their only stand out player) dispossessed Rae, sent him clear on goal but he shot straight at a relieved Enckleman when it was far easier to hit the target and sent it past him. Last summer, I felt City should have gone for Eastwood and felt let down when we took Bothroyd from Wolves instead but you have to hand it to Dave Jones. Jay at £300k has proved a bargain, Eastwood at £1.2M and only 3 goals to date looks a very expensive mistake.


Coventry had two tactic and two tactics only - diagonal balls to the Maltese Midge Michael Mifsud to take on Mark Kennedy. Mifsud, whose gloves looked bigger than he was, was the shortest man on the pitch and while he enjoyed a little early success, it was far too easy to put right but that didn't stop Cov trying and trying until he was eventually removed in the 2nd half. The other tactic was a bizarre long throw where the taker delivered corkscrew-fashion by taking a 5 yard run straight down the pitch before running to the touchline on a curved motion, the ball coming in with spin and distance. It caused early problems as Enckleman and the defence flapped at a couple which saw one cleared off the line by Roger Johnson
but, once they sorted themselves out, that was null and void too.
However one of those scrambles saw an early end to the night for Kevin McNaughton who was kicked in the back of the leg but Miguel Comminges, on his natural right side, did well replacing him.


The useless Clinton Morrison claimed for a penalty, it never was, and entertained us as, child-like, he beat his fists into the ground and moaned. He never stopped his antics and eventually disappeared from the game, can't remember any football from him, there was no partnership from Eastwood and himself.
City settled down and for the 2nd period of the first half played as well as I've ever seen them on the road, it was a travesty they only led by 1 goal but they had only themselves to blame for that.


Bothroyd, booed and jeered by home fans on a return to a former club, and cheered by City fans, should have scored midway through the half but fired over. Moments later, he was narrowly wide with a blazing drive across goal. The highly rated Cov keeper Westwood showed why as he produced a stunning save meeting McCormack's equally stunning 20 yard piledriver and Burke horribly chipped into the crowd when fantastic movement sent him in on goal from an angle.
However the breakthrough, now long overdue, came on 35 as lovely football got Mark Kennedy into space, his far post cross was met by JAY BOTHROYD whose downward header was blocked by Westwood but he lashed home the follow up high into the net from point blank range. He made sure Cov fans knew who had scored, we went ballistic.


City should have put the game out of sight but two Westwood saves and misses by Parry, McCormack (twice) and Bothroyd amongst others meant the home side were still in it. Their football was fantastic, at times it looked like demonstration stuff, but City fans feared their lack of killer instinct and clini
cal finishing would cost them.


Half-time: Cov 0 Cardiff 1


Cardiff were more composed but continued to carry the only threat in the game and finally got the second goal they fully deserved on the hour. A home player lost the ball on halfway, McCORMACK was played in by Rae, burst past two defenders and fired low inside Westwood's near post all in front of us.


That was game over but Cardiff still had more chances but were now happy just to play within themselves and hold onto what they had.


Joe Ledley, supreme in central midfield, came off after taking a knock with McPhail replacing him and for the final 15-20 , they looked a little tired, no surprise after their earlier efforts and this game coming after that Arsenal clash.


The all round team display was excellent, defence looked rock solid again, Joe and Gavin ran the show, Chris Burke entertained all night long and really has promise and talent, Jay was fantastic but Ross McCormack was City's best man in my eyes. He was on the very top of his game, his pace, skills, awareness and trickery had the home defence in trouble throughout.


City fans were in buoyant mood. Chris Burke has his own chant to Sloop John B, "He plays on the left, he plays on the right, that boy Chris Burkes, makes Routledge look sh*te" while there was a cheeky one for our keeper, "Enckleman, Enckleman, Peter Enckleman, when he kicks the ball, it's out of touch, Peter Enckleman", to Coventry City there was, "one CCFC, there's only one CCFC" and when the ref went out injured late, there was "you're not fit to referee" followed by "we want the other one back" as his replacement immediately penalised Jay Bothroyd.


A highly satisfying night and the fastest of journeys homes as the motorways were roads were empty, noticeably with no lorries about going side by side blocking up the lanes or anywhere to be seen really. There are some advantages to this credit crunch then.


Onwards and upwards City.

Dave Jones' audio reaction to Cardiff's win at Coventry

Click the report in the link to listen to a full interview.

Coventry 0-2 Cardiff

SSN reporting Ched is coming to City

I will believe it when I see it but Sky Sports News are reporting this morning that Manchester City's exciting young Welsh striker Ched Evans is opting to join up with Cardiff City in preference to Celtic.

Ched would be a fantastic capture so here's hoping!

Purse - a Bluebird fleeing to a Canary?


Watching Norwich City lose a 2 goal lead to the Championship's bottom club Southampton at Carrow Road last night was out of favour Cardiff City skipper Darren Purse.



Purse versus Van Persie -
from, 3 yrs ago not 3 days ago!


Purse was reported to be a guest of the East Anglian club and will have watched on with interest as both goals conceded were the result of defensive errors.

Darren has said he would like to stay at Cardiff but he wants first team football. He has been told that City are looking for a new defender and if Dave Jones gets one, he can leave the club.

Norwich manager Bryan Gunn refused to comment post-game on whether Purse would be joining the club but it's now a reasonable bet that will be his next destination if Cardiff get their man.

Health & Fitness
















Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Date for Watford at Home

It has been confirmed this evening that Cardiff City's home fixture with Watford has been rescheduled for Tuesday, March 17th.




The clubs were due to meet at Ninian Park next Tuesday but that has been shelved as City travel to North London to face Arsenal in an F.A. Cup 4th Round Replay for which they have 9,000 tickets but which will also be screened live on Setanta Sports.


City also need to arrange a new date to meet Derby County at home, that game having fallen foul of the weather earlier this month, but this is still awaited with some rumours that it may be at the tail end of the season.



.

City cling to 6th after mixed results

With Cardiff waiting 24 hours to play their next fixture at Coventry, the rest of the Championship played tonight. For a change, there was a distinct lack of draws.

Of those clubs around Cardiff, victors were Birmingham, Reading, QPR and Swansea but losers were leaders Woves (at Reading), 4th place Sheffield United having a home upset to Doncaster and 5th place Preston getting hammered (4-1) at Swansea City while Burnley maybe the cup side of the season so far but are in freefall in the Championship, a shock 3-0 defeat at Watford being their 5th successive league defeat.

City currently enjoy 2 games in hand over the rest of the Top 10 and have the opportunity to jump to 4th should they win at Coventry tomorrow but will also be feeling QPR and Swansea breathing down their necks just 1 and 2 points behind if they slip up.

LATEST TABLE



| Home | Away
Team P W D L F A W D L F A GD PTS
1 Wolverhampton 29 10 2 2 29 13 8 3 4 28 23 21 59
2 Reading 29 12 2 1 37 8 5 4 5 21 18 32 57

3 Birmingham 29 10 2 3 20 12 6 5 3 16 14 10 55
4 Sheff Utd 29 7 4 4 21 14 6 4 4 19 12 14 47
5 Preston 29 11 0 3 23 13 3 5 7 19 25 4 47
6 Cardiff 27 8 3 2 21 11 3 9 2 16 15 11 45

7 QPR 29 9 3 2 21 12 3 6 6 10 15 4 45
8 Swansea 29 6 8 1 28 15 4 6 4 13 16 10 44
9 Burnley 29 7 4 3 21 15 5 3 7 20 27 -1 43
10 Ipswich 29 5 5 4 20 14 6 4 5 22 17 11 42

Purse can go if City get someone in

Dave Jones has confirmed that Darren Purse can leave the club and that there has been interest in him but it will only be allowed to happen if he gets a replacement first, a situation he is working on.

Purse, City's club captain, is spending his second season at City effectively being a reserve. A brief resurgence this season didn't last long as he finds himself behind Gypes and Johnson and he was behind Loovens and Johnson last term. Committed and hugely likeable, Purse has waned and needs first team football with Leeds and Soputhampton expressing interest amongst others.

Talking to BBC, Dave Jones says, "We've had inquiries about Darren Purse. Darren knows the situation that we won't be letting any players out until we've got replacements.''Darren knows this and is happy. He is still trying to earn a contract here which is fine, but he knows I'm looking for other players."

DJ and Strachan discuss the great Flood


Dave Jones has contacted Celtic regarding the possible transfer of Willo Flood. Cardiff City contacted the Glasgow outfit after finding out they were trying to buy him off Dundee United! Quite funny but understandable when you consider he's currently spending his 2nd full season on loan at The Tannadice club.



One's a World Star,

the other never became a Cardiff City star,

you work it out.

Howeever negotiations are not straightforward as Celtic would like him for free, realising that he is out of contract this summer, while City are seeking a nominal fee circa £50k. An added consideration, however, is that Cardiff still pay the bulk of Flood's wages while at Dundee United so it ultimately suits City to see him move across Scotland just to get him off the wage books.




Expect further developments.



Celtic make move for Cardiff's Willo FloodWalesOnline

Ridsdale confirms City permanent and loan bid for Ched Evans


Why is he openly talking to the media about his targets? He is openly quoted in the article below. I thought we'd learned long ago not to do this??? Obviously not.
SkySports


Ledley, Kopumas, Striker, Defenders - latest Cardiff City transfer talk

Peter Ridsdale and Wigan sources have jointly confirmed in the South Wales Echo that The Latics bid to take Joe Ledley to the Lancashire club has been turned down by Cardiff City.




Wigan's bid appears to have been £4M for Joe plus Jason Koumas who they valued at £2M but Peter Ridsdale reiterated his desire to back Dave Jones' play-off/promotion quest, keep existing personnel at the club and try and add a new face or two instead.


Player swap deals are rare and never seem workable. Not least, I'm sure Cardiff City or any other club could get Jason Koumas for much less than £2M if they wished while Wigan's self valuation of Joe at £6M is a fair way below the price at which City would feel compelled to do business. Dave Jones and Cardiff City fans all admire Jason Koumas but his wages in excess of £20k weekly would prove problematical too.


In other news, The Echo confirmed that the club are in talks with a defender as a potential replacement for Darren Purse should he leave while they are continuing in their search for an extra striker as Eddie Johnson and Paul Parry are the only viable alternatives at present behind McCormack and Bothroyd which is far from ideal.


Echo Story

Wigan paper links to Joe intensify but only if it's cash


According to a report in this morning's Daily Mail, there has been contact between Cardiff City and Wigan over Joe Ledley.


However while Cardiff reportedly told West Ham to find £8M last week, Wigan have been told to find £6M if this report is to be believed. It doesn't add up to me.


The report also adds that Wigan were looking to include Jason Koumas and Henri Kamara in a cash plus swap deal. City fans would love Koumas to return while Kamara has been a past target but City want cash only and, apparently, neither player was keen on being involved in such a deal.



Hold your breath time then, here we go again! The transfer window closes next Monday.



Video of the Week - WEEZER's Beverly Hills

Not even I post something contemporary and this is hardly a new song but I came across the latest Top 100 singles and recongised hardly any of them (is it age or that you only need to sell 20 copies to make the singles chart?) and was drawn to Beverly Hills by Weezer jumping 60 places to # 59.

I wondered why a song from 4 or 5 years ago by a group who have faded from the psyche suddenly in demand and thought I may have missed a t.v. ad with it. I was close, it's being used to promote Beverly Hills 90210 - a new version of a cult teen series from 15-20 years ago.

I've also had a soft spot for Weezer, the crazy life of lead man Rivers Cuomo, and their excellent brand of geek rock pop. It's made me listen to some of ther back catalogue again. I've always loved Buddy Holly, Hash Pipe, Say It Ain't So, Island in the Sun (possibly their best known tune in UK thanks to a tv ad) and Keep Fishin' are all great singles in my opinion but with the vid for Beverly Hills shot at Playboy Mansion and the song being current, let's have a look eh?





Now it's Wigan cash + Koumas for Ledley


The Daily Mirror reports that Wigan Athletic are the latest club to be ready to make an offer for Joe Ledley with a £6M package deal, £4M cash plus Jason Koumas. The Latics needs players and have funds available having just sold Palacios and Heskey for £17.5M but whether that offer will be made and, more to the point, whether it meets City's valuation is a different matter. The Bluebirds have made it clear that they are fighting to keep Joe at the club and put a £8M asking price on his head but Wigan are stated to be interested after previous target, Reading's Steven Hunt, is believed to be have turned down the club.

Monday's South Wales Echo also stated that Peter Ridsdale turned down a weekend bid from the player with hints that it may have been Fulham who need to replace sold star Jimmy Bullard, who joined Hull City, and require a replacement for him.

As for Joe himself, his only words are he hopes to play in the F.A. Cup replay at Arsenal - that game coming the day after the transfer window closes - and that he's happy to stay unless City accept an offer for him to consider.

The line of suitors for Joe is getting bigger if you believe the press. By my reckoning, it's Spurs, Everton, West Ham, Fulham, Aston Villa, Wigan, Stoke, Portsmouth and Newcastle. No interest yet from Accrington Stanley however.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/2009/01/26/wigan-to-offer-jason-koumas-to-land-cardiff-star-joe-ledley-115875-21071947/



.

MINGERS make the best contraception as you wouldn't bother (Part 1).

IT's ALMOST A PHOTO VERSION OF WHAT YOU'D WAKE UP TO
IF YOU TOOK SOMEONE HOME FROM THE WYNFORD HOTEL!
















MINGERS make the best contraception as you wonldn't bother (Part 2)












HANG ON, THAT'S CARLOS TEVEZ !!!









Monday, January 26, 2009

Eddie Johnson tells US about a tough time at Cardiff City

Turn Left for Splott, Eddie !


This article was published prior to the Arsenal game but I've only just come across it.



Johnson seems a likeable guy and desparate to succeed but The Echo's comment a couple of months ago about him looking out of place which is stated within the article (link below) could have been written any time since he's been here really.



Amercian flags have been spotted when Eddie plays for Cardiff? I haven't noticed them.



Johnson Still Finding His Feet At CardiffSoccer America

Video Highlights of Cardiff City 0 Arsenal 0





Click the link below to view the highlights as shown in ITV yesterday




WalesOnline review the Welsh F.A. Cup weekend action

WalesOnline discuss F.A. Cup Finalists Cardiff City drawing at home to Arsenal while F.A. Cup winners Portsmouth crashed at home to South Wales village outfit, Swansea City ... which must now make Cardiff the favourites eh?

Cardiff City 0 Arsenal 0 - the media view

There's probably more than 100 reports out there but here's around 30 or so to give you an appetite of the feedback from all angles.










Don't write us off, says Cardiff City boss Jones - WalesOnline

Goal.com - FA Cup - Player Ratings: Cardiff City 0-0 Arsenal

Arsenal draw Cardiff in FA Cup3 News NZ

Cardiff City 0-0 Arsenal « Arsenal News News News

Arsenal survive FA Cup scare at CardiffAFP

Wenger full of praise for CardiffBBC Sport

Let’s take that spirit to the Emirates Stadium!WalesOnline

Cardiff Scorn Late Chance to Test Arsenal's Mettle After Matching ...Buzzle

Cardiff City 0 Arsenal 0 - Cardiff City FC - Cardiff City Online

Replay truly is a pain in the Arse - - The Offside - Cardiff City ...

Match Report: Cardiff City 0-0 Arsenal Gooner Talk

Spirited Cardiff City let Arsenal and Arsene Wenger off the hookTimes OnlineCardiff City 0 Arsenal 0 - Arsenal FC - Arsenal World

Roger Johnson hails Bluebirds back line - WalesOnline

TheFA.com - Cardiff City 0-0 Arsenal FT

Cardiff City hold Gunners to goalless draw - WalesOnline

Cardiff City 0-0 Arsenal « Goonersworlds blog

Cardiff City boss Dave Jones calls for more of the same in FA Cup ...WalesOnline

Player Ratings: Cardiff City 0-0 ArsenalGoal.com

Arsenal Player Ratings v. Cardiff CityBleacher Report

Cardiff And Arsenal Play Out FA Cup DrawGoal.com

Wenger has big City warning for his GunnersWalesOnline

Liverpool, Everton, Arsenal and Cardiff City all draw fourth round ...3 News NZ

Don't write us off, says Cardiff City boss Dave JonesWalesOnline

Cardiff City 0-0 Arsenal - Picture gallery Fixtures & Reports ...

Wanted man Ledley expects to play in City’s Arsenal replayWalesOnline

Cardiff City vs Arsenal: 0-0, full-time report and player ratings ...Gunning Hawk

Cardiff play it safe, but may still fall through trapdoorIrish Times

Arsenal test will ‘boost’ Cardiff’s Championship pushWalesOnline

The Wheels of Life


Sunday, January 25, 2009

City home to Burnley or West Brom WHEN (or if) we win at Arsenal


This evening's draw for the 5th Round (Final 16) of the F.A. Cup provided Cardiff City with another home tie if they manage to overcome Arsenal at The Emirates in next week's replay.

Drawn out as the final tie, the winners of that replay will be home to either Premiership West Brom or Championship Burnley who replay as the same time as Cardiff having drawn 2-2 at the weekend. It presents City with a great chance of making the quater-finals shoudl;, of course, they produce an epic giantkilling at The Emirates first.


FA Cup fifth-round draw:
Sheff Utd v Hull
Watford v Chelsea
West Ham v Middlesbrough
Sunderland/Blackburn v Coventry
Derby/Nott'm For v Man Utd
Swansea v Fulham
Liverpool/Everton v Doncaster/Aston Villa
Cardiff/Arsenal v West Brom/Burnley

F.A. Cup Round 4: CARDIFF CITY 0 ARSENAL 0 match report

Hat-trick! Cardiff City and Arsenal shared their third successive blank F.A. Cup tie at Ninian Park, the 0-0 result exactly as it was in 1969 and 1980. The Bluebirds will rue failing to convert any of 6 clear cut chances in a thrilling opening 20 minutes but once that spell passed, the packed ground witnessed the very definition of stalemate with neither side ever looking like winning or losing but which emphasised why Cardiff are unbeaten in 11 and The Gunners in 8. The sides will therefore have to do it all over again in 9 days at The Emirates Stadium. No doubt, a perfect result for Ridsdale and the money men but football-wise, Cardiff can be proud of their efforts in a game that they were always comfortable, Arsenal can't really say that.


The game was live on Setanta, had extensive highlights twice on ITV so there will be few who haven't seen it or read 1 of 100 other reports out there but here's another. The game had a Sunday 1:30pm kick-off but Canton pubs obliged by opening at 10am, most were pretty full by 11 and packed by midday and there was a mood of definite optimism although many believed there would be a replay or wanted it anyway. When Setanta's coverage stated an hour before the game, the packed cries of "w**ker" and massed boos burst out in The Napier as their studio guest was Robbie Fowler who was even asking Dave Jones questions too.

Walking to Ninian Park in good time (for a change!), punters were gutted to discover that the matchday programmes were sold out long before kick-off. How difficult is it to produce enough programmes when you know what the crowd will be?

The connections were many and various. Ex-City man Aaron Ramsey with Arsenal men ex-Arsenal man Jay Bothroyd and coach Terry Burton with City, that legendary 1927 F.A. Cup Final win, Arsenal's last ever F.A. Cup tie at Highbury 3 years ago being against Cardiff City now this was possibly Ninian Park's last ever cup game too.

Ninian Park was swaying with 20,000 punters but unlike recent Premiership visitors Leeds (well they were at the time), West Ham and Spurs, The Gunners insisted on their full allocation which gave them the entire Grange End. As they had it, City gave them a full 4,200 tickets meaning the visitors had over 20% of the crowd while Cardiff's fans in a game they could have sold out a few times over was restricted to season ticket holders, sponsors and less than 1,000 others who had attended the most home league games this term. It has to be said, Arsenal didn't make the most of a rare day on the terraces, only occasionally being heard and never loudly while the loss of that area never quite produced the same atmosphere from City either despite three sides of the ground belting out anthems a number of times.

Dave Jones had only one change from what is now their regular side and that was forced as Peter Whittingham tweaked a hamstring putting him out for upto 3 weeks (why are City getting so many hamstring problems?) and allowing ex-Rangers man Chris Burke to make his home bow with a starting place. I bet I wasn't the only one who thought he was going to be taller than he was.

CARDIFF CITY: Enckleman; McNaughton-Johnson-Gypes-Kennedy; Burke-Rae-Ledley-Parry; Bothroyd-McCormack. With 7 subs allowed in the F.A. Cup, I'm not sure if City's bench was big enough but it contained Heaton-Blake-Capaldi-Comminges-Johnson(Eddie)-McPhail-Purse.

Arsene Wenger made 5 changes from the side that won 3-1 at Hull in the Premiership last weekend but included a fair number of his stars as he stopped well short of throwing on the kids, a habit of his in Cup matches. Surely out of respect for Cardiff City but undoubtedly because he is facing some pressure after 4 Trophy-less seasons and the F.A. Cup is his only realistic target for this term. I was a tad disappointed to see Arsenal in yellow rather than their famed red shirts ... or was it amber as they struggled to get going?

ARSENAL: Fabianski; Sagna-Toure-Djourou-Gibbs; Eboue-Song-Ramsey-Nasri; Van Persie-Bendtner. Their subs bench wasn't bad either - Almunia-Adebayor-Denilson-Diaby-Gallas-Vela-Wilshire.

The place was bouncing at the start and that intensified as City made a magnificent high tempo, high up the pitch, dominant opening and carved chance after chance. As mentioned, that opening spell produced 5 clear openings and they really should have taken at least one, if not two, of them but have to reflect that they never even tested Fabianski in the Arsenal goal.

Those chances then. The first opening came just past 5 minutes as Joe Ledley swept the ball right to left on the edge of the box, Chris Burke cut inside one defender but a lunging Arsenal defender managed to block his goal-bound shot also surviving handball appeals. Shortly afterwards, one of two best chances arrived as Joe Ledley swung over a beautiful cross beating the last defender and Ross McCormack glanced a header wide of the far post, it seemed as if he didn't expect to get the ball and didn't get his positioning right.

Next build up play and a classy McCormack back-heel gave Joe sight at goal but he hit tamely into Fabianski's grateful arms and then fired over first time on the turn meeting a Parry cut-back cross. Jay Bothroyd who was troubling the visiting defence met a long ball with a flicked header and McCormack shot inches wide of the far post with an angled effort that Fabianski didn't move for, I'm not sure he really knew it was missing. Then the best chance of all as Paul Parry who was about the only Cardiff player that hadn't got into the contest almost burst down the left but then profited as Sagna hit him with a clearance, he cut inside him and another defender to have clear sight of goal 15 yards out but hit his effort over the bar.

Arsenal were on the ropes at this point and a goal for Cardiff didn't seem far away but the visitors managed to ride the storm and make headway of their own although nearly always through counter-attacking fast breaks rather than measured, quality football and even then, they found City's defence in dominant mood. The only uncomfortable moment came when Peter Enckleman did really well to beat down a Nasri effort.

Arsenal pushed in the final 15 minutes but Gypes was in supreme form while Johnson, Kennedy and McNaughton all put in timely blocks or interceptions. It was a credit to them that the visitors were reduced to diving as Eboue put in an effort that got him 5.5 for technical merit, 6.0 for artistic impression and a yellow card from the ref.

Cardiff had the final say in a fairly pulsating first half with Chris Burke again appealing for handball inside the box as he shot after being set up by Mark Kennedy then Joe Ledley's follow up hit was blocked.


Half-time: CARDIFF CITY 0 ARSENAL 0

The game seemed set up for a storming 2nd half with City attacking the Grange End packed with Gunners and they started well with Paul Parry meeting a Bothroyd cross but failing to get power and direction as the ball went at Fabianski. However it never matched the intensity and tempo of the opening period and was quite the opposite as the went surprisingly quiet. Arsenal gained more of a foothold but it was a tribute to Cardiff's performance that Arsene Wenger was forced to bring on the big guns.

Before the hour, off came Aaron Ramsey seemingly overawed by his return to Ninian and completely overshadowed by Joe Ledley. That should help cement City's current asking price for Captain Joe! Rambo thought he was still a Bluebird as he uncharacteristically passed to Blue shirts, if not out of play, a few times. 5 minutes later, on came the towering Adebayor, I never realised he was such an imposing giant of a man but still Johnson, Gypes and co were first to crosses and balls played in.

In the final quarter, Arsenal created a couple of chances but Enckleman, excellent throughout, was equal to shots by Van Persie who was the only Arsenal man to impress me and then a disappointing Nasri but City came closest as Ross McCormack shot from 25 yards which forced Fabianski into a sprawling save just turned behind.

The closing minutes saw Tony Capaldi replace Chris Burke for only his 2nd outing this season and Jay Bothroyd limp away for Eddie Johnson much to the amusement of the crowd starting an ironic "Eddie, Eddie, Eddie" chant. In between, both sides had a let off.

First Adebayor scuffed a clear opening at goal from 8 yards which you'd back him to convert 99 times out of 100 - even Eddie Johnson would have netted that one - and Ross McCormack came closest of anyone with a 25 yard free-kick that dipped and swerved superbly but bounced behind off the top of the crossbar producing a 15,000 strong "aaaaarrrrrggggghhh" as heads collectively fell into hands. There would have been no way back for The Gunners had it gone in.

Both sides seemed resigned for the replay and if there was any doubt of that, there was the surprising sight of Joe Ledley advancing down the wing in added time but running the ball into the corner to kill the game.

Both sides were warmly applauded off. City fans disappointed with the way the game fizzled out but immensely proud and happy with how they comfortably held Arsenal. The Gunners haven't lost at home in 26 F.A. Cup games so it's an enormous challenge for City at The Emirates but they've showed they can cause problems and I'm sure they will again next week.