Saturday, December 11, 2010

Running on empty: Boro 1-0 City

How in God's name are City 2nd in the Championship?

Other than a win away at Scunthorpe way back on 13th November (and they battered us for the second 45 mins of that game remember), we haven't won since we beat Norwich at home on 30th October. In that period we've escaped with a draw (only just) to the bottom side Preston, and now lost to Boro who were one off the bottom - both poor, poor sides, but obviously with more fire in their belly than us.

I listened to today's match on the radio, and it sounded as though City were second best all match. What the hell is Dave Jones saying to his players, because it sure as hell 'aint working?

I feel sorry for all those supporters who made the trip today.

Everyone (players, managers, pundits, me) keeps saying that City have the strength and depth to gain automatic promotion this term. Well at the moment we're returning automatic relegation form - every match. We are lacklustre, unimaginative, and arguably Bellamy apart rarely show any real passion. The spark and drive and flair that should be there with the quality of players like Bothroyd, Whittingham, Chopra, Burke and Co. just isn't there. It was there against Leeds, it was there (for 40 minutes) against Scunthorpe and Portsmouth and Doncaster way, way back in August when everything was rosy. But in the depth of winter it's gone awol big time.

It's clear that:
  • We have no plan B without Jay Bothroyd, and often no Plan B when he's in the side and things aren't going our way. Thank God he's back for next week's match
  • Jones doesn't rate Chopra enough to start him. We were better when he came on in the 2nd period today. I've said before we're a better team with him in it. If the rumours are true, he may be off to QPR in January anyway, and that would be a crying shame.
  • Our central defence is still very, very suspect.
  • Whatever Jones is saying to the player just isn't working. The plain fact of the matter just is that at the moment we're just not good enough.
It's no good churning out the same old cliché's about the opposition setting up to frustrate us, getting men behind the ball, or blaming poor refereeing decisions blah, blah, blah. If we seriously have aspirations to play in the Premiership, we have to learn how to beat sides that do that - and take the rough decisions along with those that go our way once in a while. And we have to learn to be consistent.

Hell, I'd forgo pace and flair for a side I knew could keep a clean sheet and win 1-0, but in all the years I've been watching City, they've never been one you could say that of. It's been a running joke between me and my mate in the Grange end for years when we score (not that frequently lately), that we'll just need another two to be safe. Even our kids both now middling teenagers spout that mantra.

I don't know. I just don't. If City had played to half their potential, we'd be out of sight now. We're not. We're second. Let's not forget that (as Jones is all too frequently reminding us). But we sure as hell won't be second come the New Year if we don't buck our idea up. And if we don't buck our ideas up, and if' we fall right off the pace, then that nice Mr Vincent Tan may well decide he's not going to dip his hand into his transfer wallet, and then where will we be?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I think this is a seminal season for Cardiff City. If we don't go up this year, I'm not sure we ever will. Don't blow it.

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