Another season, another six points.

CoymayThere’s usually one or two away matches a season when, for whatever reason, I’m not even able to listen on the radio. Yesterday’s 2-1 win at Leeds was one of those occasions, so, as usual when this happens, I’ll limit myself to a shorter piece containing a few general observations that occur to me.
The first one is to wonder how it is that teams can turn problematical home or away form around, but, so often, it’s at the expense of their previously stronger suit.
It’s just over five months since we beat Leeds 3-1 at Cardiff City Stadium, it was our fourth consecutive home league victory and, when we somehow managed to beat Reading in our next game there, supporters could be forgiven for thinking a promotion challenge built around powerful home form could still be on the cards.
Since then, we have managed to beat only a hopeless Fulham and a disinterested Birmingham in twelve home matches, half of which have been lost. By contrast, while we were seeing off Leeds for the first time, we were on a woeful away run from which we had got just four points, and no wins, from seven matches that had seen us score just five times.
One point and no.goals from our next three away days meant City travelled to Watford in late November with very little optimism, but an Alamo style 1-0 win to go with those five consecutive home wins meant that confidence was probably as high as at any time in the season apart from the opening weeks of the campaign when we were supposed to have the Championship’s strongest ever squad!

I've advocated us doing all we can to sign Conor MCaleny permanently if he becomes available this summer, but, this hamstring injury looks to have ended his season and he does seem awfully injury prone - any club signing him would have to give him a very thorough medical.*

I’ve advocated us doing all we can to sign Conor MCaleny permanently if he becomes available this summer, but, this hamstring injury looks to have ended his season and he does seem awfully injury prone – any club signing him in the future would surely have to give him a very thorough medical.*

As I mentioned before, since then we have shown relegation form at Cardiff City Stadium and yet we’ve been doing fine on our travels – including the win at Vicarage Road, our away record since we went to pot at home reads five wins, four draws and three losses and it’s now seven away matches since we lost.
The manner of Monday’s defeat by Bolton suggests that confidence is an issue for the team when they play at home and yet they can go to Leeds without any City fans there and, by all accounts, be well worth their win – the team that couldn’t buy a goal on their travels in the autumn, had seventeen goal attempts.
Perhaps the lack of away supporters was in City’s favour given how hard they find playing in front of their fans lately? I’m not sure about that though, after all, it’s hardly as if they had no support in the six away games before yesterday.

Plenty of Leeds defenders in shot, but this doesn't stop them becoming the latest in a long list of sides this season to cope with a Peter Whittingham corner as Aron Gunnarsson fires in the winner.*

Plenty of Leeds defenders in shot, but this doesn’t stop them becoming the latest in a long list of sides this season to fail to cope with a Peter Whittingham corner as Aron Gunnarsson fires in the winner.*

Certainly, the loss of atmosphere over the past fifteen months or so at Cardiff City Stadium means that the home crowd are hardly the proverbial twelfth man for the team these days and there have been times when they have turned against the players – for example, Watford, Brighton and Bolton.
However, certainly around by me, the mood has been more one of resignation than anger – okay, that can’t be easy for the players I’m sure, but I’ve seen far worse stick handed out to other City sides in home matches down the years.
No, it’s a mystery to me why we’ve become so bad at home just as we have got things right on our travels, but I would say that I believe the problem is in the team’s collective head rather than anything tactical.
On the face of it, having our remaining home matches against a side that is already relegated and another that looks pretty certain to be playing in League One next season gives us a chance of signing off with a couple of wins, but the team have not carried their away form and confidence into home games before now and I won’t be counting any chickens.
Well, that went on longer than I meant it to – let’s see if I can be more succinct with my second point!
It’s another question actually. Regular readers of this blog will know that I have been a persistent critic of Peter Whittingham this season, but I have to wonder how many goals we would have scored without his dead ball accuracy – where would you place him in your list of best dead ball exponents you’ve seen at the club? I’d rate Jason Koumas above him when it came to free kicks, but I’m not sure I’ve seen a better corner taker.
Finally, I’ve got to say that if you told me in the 70s I could pick one side which City could beat virtually every time we played them, a side that would be unable to beat us in seventeen games over thirty one years, the only reason I wouldn’t have said Leeds United was because I never thought we would end up playing them that often.
No other club treats City supporters as if the soul crew was still alive and fighting these days except for Leeds and yet even in this miserable season, and when there were no City fans present, we still went up and completed our customary double over them. Thank you Leeds United, you were a source of a lot of despair and frustration in the first thirty years of my life, but you’ve made up for that by being responsible for much satisfaction and mirth in the second thirty!

* pictures courtesy of

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4 Responses to Another season, another six points.

  1. Dai Woosnam says:

    Thanks as ever Paul.
    Re your last para…
    Being nearly a decade older than you, I should add that Leeds United were a source of great delight for me in my first decade as I recall the first three years of “The Draw for the Third Round of the FA Cup” broadcasts I ever heard, amazingly had Leeds United v Cardiff City drawn together three years in a row at the same stage…and then even more astonishingly, find that all the games ended in 1-2 wins for City!!

    Really pleased that Leeds lost yesterday, as their parsimonious ticket allocation to away fans, brought to mind Wolves and the attitude of their diirector Jeb Moxley a few years back.
    Too busy and rushed to google his spelling…apols if I have got the name of Wolves man slightly wrong.

  2. Tom Lewis-Jones says:

    I am a bluebirds supporter and have been since the late 60’s.I have followed them in both good and bad times.I would just like to say that I now live in Yorkshire but had purchased tickets prior to the boycott for myself and my son.It was as Russell Slade stated a “surreal” day. Lots of police and stewards as if Cardiff fans were there.The game was not a classic but the bluebirds for the 3rd time of watching them play and win at Elland Road was really pleasurable experience.So Russell don’t think there were no fans at all as there were at least two and maybe more exiles savouring the win.

  3. Dai Woosnam says:

    Watching the minute or so that The Football League Show devoted to the Elland Road game, was enjoyable, not least because the previous two hours had seen me watching televised highlights blessedly free from most of the modern irritants that manifest themselves in current televised soccer. So I was in a good mood and went to bed happy.
    But the previous weekend was a shocker. Got me gnashing my teeth and spitting nails. All the things about modern football that I most detest, seemed to manifest themselves at once.
    Take the Charlie Adam goal.
    All this season – to anyone who would listen – I was saying “Courtois is standing too far off his line”. If I could see it, how come his millionaire manager cannot?
    But it is a modern malaise among goalies. They all stand too far out. But who does anything about it? Nobody. They are all sheep.
    And then in the same Chelsea-Stoke game, what does Begovic do? Just roll the ball straight to the opposition, and they score.
    Golly…I recall him scoring with a monster kick the length of the field (admittedly wind assisted) in 12 seconds at Stoke 2 years ago.
    Yet he stupidly follows this modish nonsense of “rolling the ball out”. The same night I thankfully saw a keeper kick the ball out* instead of rolling or throwing…and then it was headed-on by the target man to his fellow striker who scored with alacrity.
    * It is not called a “goal KICK” for nothing !!

    Then we have this ridiculous habit of defending with hands behind one’s back !! How much less mobile does THAT makes one ?!!
    Alberto Moreno of Liverpool was a sitting duck for Bellerin of Arsenal as he waltzed inside him to score.
    Mignolet dived immediately the ball left the Arsenal player’s feet, and his stretching right hand missed saving the ball by the narrowest margin (or was that the Ozil free kick? Maybe it was. I forget what day it is, sometimes.)
    the one incontrovertible fact is that the keeper had time to take a swift step to his right, and THEN launch himself into a dive !! He would have saved it, then.
    But so few keepers use their feet these days.
    There were a few other of my betes noires that evening too, but I am too tired (look at the time next to this posting!) to remember.
    Too much “possession football” (gosh, I despise “possession stats” as all they do is show us which teams send us to sleep with square and back passes), and too many goals result from pass backs when the last man should have pivoted and banged the ball into touch !

    Possession stats are often meaningless.
    Take Fulham’s recent game at home to Leeds. Fulham had 55-45 possession, and 27 shote to the 8 of Leeds.
    Yet, Leeds won the game 0-3.
    It is a wonder I have not had a stroke when I consider how upset I am that “logical thinking” has so departed from The Beautiful Game.
    But what sugared the pill for me that night was seeing Bafetimbi Gomis score his goals !! I promise you the fellow will soon fetch a fee double what Wilfied Bony attracted.

    Off to count the zeds.

  4. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Dai, re your first post, I put a message about those three FA Cup wins on a City messageboard yesterday and one of the replies said that one of the person’s schoolteachers had calculated the odds of two sides meeting in the same tie, on the same ground and with the same outcome and score each time in three consecutive years as more than 2 billion to one.
    As for your second post, I would say that the goals Courtois has prevented by playing as a “sweeper keeper” probably well outweigh the ones he has been responsible for by being so far off his line – I prefer to give that dirty so and so Charlie Adam credit for a brilliant goal. Agree with you about defenders holding their arms behind their back and as for possession stats, I’ve become more neutral about them than I was because you are right that they often do not bear any resemblance to the outcome of a match. However, when a side which is costing a club as much as City’s is turn in such consistently poor possession figures over a long period (City only had Blackpool below them in the last set of Championship possession stats that I saw) then they do become relevant.
    People can only admire the shape and discipline their side displays when the opposition have the ball for so long, they want to see their team in possession and when that team prove to be so poor at retaining the ball when they finally get it back as we’ve been, then it’s no wonder supporters start complaining about a lack of entertainment and enjoyment.
    As for Swansea, I think there is a slight chance that Bony may go the same way as the last player they sold to Man City (Scott Sinclair), but I’d still pick him above Gomis who will be 30 in August.
    Tom, thanks for getting in touch. I see it’s now being reported that there were eleven City fans at Saturday’s match, but I don’t see how that figure can include exiles like you who live in the Leeds area and so, for the purposes of identification for stories like that, would be seen as locals.
    Anyway, glad you enjoyed the match – while everything I’ve read and heard about it agrees with your “not a classic” comment, the highlights I saw on the club’s website had me thinking that we played with more attacking fluency than normal – that’s not saying much mind!

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