Friday, January 21, 2011

Cardiff City - half time/term report

OK, I've been meaning to do this for a while, but things have got in the way.

Here's my half term report on the main City squad players. I should point out that this is wholly subjective, and entirely based on what I have seen (and heard) of the team this season to date.

I'm not doing the whole squad, just those who I think have either played enough to warrant a mention, or who I care to mention anyway. You can of course feel free to argue otherwise. That's the point of opinion.

David Marshall ('keeper): 7/10
Has looked good in spells, and dodgy at times. Personally, I think his confidence has suffered a bit after a solid start. Still one of the best keepers we've had for a while.

Tom Heaton ('keeper): 8/10
The better keeper for me. Had to wait for his chance, but has been brilliant in several games IMHO. Still prone to the occasional lapse (aren't all keepers), and to be fair, both he & Marshall have had to put up with a pretty dodgy defensive unit in front of them.

Kevin McNaughton (Defender): 9/10
"Nauts" has been outstanding (again) this season. Early injury plagued him, but once those hammy's are warmed up he's generally performed consistently in an inconsistent defence. Can play either flank or centrally. Pacey, never gives up. Contender for player of the season so far.

Lee Naylor (Defender): 5/10
OK going forward, but frankly very dodgy in defence. Beaten far to easily. Teams worked him out very early on in the season, and we are consistently attacked (and beaten) down the left. To be honest, only still there because there's no one better in the wings.

Gavin Rae: (Midfielder): 5/10
Few opportunities, but I still rate him. Works hard, goes about his business without being flashy.

Mark Hudson (Defender): 8/10
Huds took a lot of stick early doors. He's not quick...alright he's slow, but he's generally assured, and has got better and better as the season has gone on. Lacking anyone consistent enough to partner him. However, neither he nor Gyepes (see below) even come close to scoring at set pieces.

Gabor Gyepes (Defender): 6/10
The big Hungarian is far to inconsistent, and prone to silly mistakes. When he's good, he's good, when he's bad he's awful. Neither he nor Hudson even come close to scoring at set pieces.

Peter Whittingham (Midfielder): 7/10
Not found the same form (or goals) from last season, and back to blowing hot and cold again. There's no doubt he's quality, he just needs to produce it consistently.

Michael Chopra (Striker): 7/10
Chops is crucial to our team. Not scoring enough goals, but his movement on the pitch makes a hell of a difference when he's in the 11. Needs to play from the start and regularly.

Jay Bothroyd (Striker): 9/10
Jay has been outstanding until his injury in December. Goals, hold up play, laying off - he's blossomed this season. He needs to buckle down and keep doing what he's doing. I'm sure we'll lose him if we don't go up, and it'll be a big loss.

Stephen McPhail (Midfielder) 6.5/10
Can be class in midfield, but too often for me innocuous or injured. He should be running games, not taking part in them.

Chris Burke (Midfielder) 7/10
Another hot and cold player. When he's doing what he does best - running at defenders with the ball at his feet, he scares the living daylights out of them. Whether we don't feed him enough, or what I don't know, but too often he's not in the game, and defensively he's not strong enough.

Paul Quinn (Defender): 4/10
Frankly I'm not sure what DJ sees in him. Has never impressed me. Too easily beaten, distribution is poor.

Andy Keogh (Striker) 7/10
Another one that works hard but doesn't quite produce enough end results. Doesn't seem "greedy" enough to me. Too often want to try and put someone else in, and for a striker, his shooting is terrible. Plays best with Bellamy.

Seyi Olofinjana (Midfielder): 7/10
A rock at the start of the season, lost it a bit in the middle, and slowly coming back to his best. On form breaks up play, passes it simple and scores the odd goal. Solid. Very solid!

Daniel Drinkwater (Midfielder): 7/10
On loan from Man U and the class shows. Well it did in the early season, but then injured and hasn't looked the same player since. Match time maybe?

Darcy Blake (Utility): 7/10
Darcy can play almost anywhere - and has often been asked to! Not tall enough for a central defender though. A good player, who needs to play regularly. Still young and the best is yet to come.

Adam Matthews (Defender): 6/10
Not sure what Adam's done to get so few games. Even at his age I rate him above Naylor and Quinn. He's pacey too and gets forward. Will we get the best of him before someone else snaps him up?

Chris Riggott (Defender): 8/10
Bear with me. I'm rating him 8/10 on the basis of one game. When he finally played he looked just what we were after. Someone to partner Huds who was composed, level headed and could defend. I really, really, feel for him. He's clearly desperate to play, but it sadly looks as though his persistent injuries will scupper his City career almost before it's started, and quite possible his playing career full stop.

Craig Bellamy (Striker): 8/10
Bellars brings Premiership quality to the Championship. Sometimes. Occasionally, he's just ordinary. But only occasionally. He's passionate, gives it all and is a wonderful talent - albeit with dodgy knees. When he's on the pitch he creates space because there's always two people on him. It's been great to see him in a City shirt. I just hope he's able to pull us up to the Premiership.

Dave Jones (Manager): 8/10
I've said on many occasions Jones is the best manager City have had since I've supported them (since the mid 80's if anyone wants to know) and I stand by that. Yes, occasionally he's intransigent (Google it), bloody minded, and downright moody. But hey, he's a football manager, and to be fair some of the crap written of him, questions he's asked, and so on would hack most people off.

There's no doubt that he had a bad run from November to the New Year, where it looked like (as it often does with him) that there's no "plan B". But despite that God awful run, we're still right up there. We've still got Bothroyd (just), we've got loan players (and good ones) in from Man U, Man City and and Arsenal. We've never had it so good at City, and sometimes we just need to remember that.

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