Cardiff City recorded their joint-highest victory of the season last night at the John Smiths Stadium without ever really breaking a sweat. In this article, our chief writer John reviews the main talking points to have come from the game. If you're averse to even the slightest hint of negativity, this article may not be for you a it contains comments and statements verging on the hyperbolic. You have been warned...
A Team Of Inverterbrates
After a tough period of months in which Danny Cowley has ruthlessly ripped the parasitic, wage-sucking weeds out of the Huddersfield Town garden we appear to now have an infestation of invertebrates.
The type of players who consistently crumble under the merest application of pressure from slightly scary opponents. Cardiff did nothing special last night to systematically dismantle Huddersfield Town.
In truth, the visitors never got out of second gear for the entirety of the match, they simply did all that was required of them. They defended tightly and won their individual battles through aggression and a greater force of will.
Cardiff’s opening goal, a fine chipped finish from Josh Murphy gave Town the perfect opportunity to raise their levels. There was a hint of offside and gamesmanship in that goal which galvanised the crowd but had no effect on the players.
Adversity, as it so often does in football, had reared its head and instead of using it as a platform, Town’s players used it as an excuse. At that moment, the entire team resembled a group of oversized toddlers on the verge of tears at a perceived injustice.
Unfortunately none of them had the will or good grace to muster a tantrum, instead they sulked and felt sorry for themselves. Shortly after that, they found themselves 2-0 down after one of the most experienced players in the team let his man run free from a corner.
The game was up at that point, everyone knew it, Town’s players knew it and so did the Cardiff players. In the second-half the visitors sat back and waited for their opportunity to pounce whilst our players cycled through the motions, eager for the high-pitched sound of the final whistle.
Men against boys is the phrase often used by experienced ex-pros to describe the encounter last night, but even the most positive of pundits would have found that too light an appraisal of the game. In truth it was a game between adequately motivated professionals and spineless invertebrates with neither the will, nor the inclination to fight for the right to win a game of football.
There are times in life and in sport where what you’re doing in the moment is, for one reason or another not working. In moments like this people often fall back onto something tried and tested that has worked for them in the past.
At 2-0 down last night it was clear that whatever Town’s players were doing on the pitch, it was not working. So, several of the squad reverted to tried and tested tactics and actions from their recent experiences.
The problem was however, that instead of replicating things that had worked in the past, the squad seemed intent on dredging up the actions and tactics that had previously failed them.
The end result was a devastatingly poor blend of all the worst managerial traits of Danny Cowley, Jan Siewert and David Wagner.
Aimless safety-first passing reminiscent of the late Wagner era was combined with the naïve and caution to the wind defending of Siewert and the cynicism of a Cowley outfit. It was not just dreadful to watch, but it was also baffling to understand.
These players know only too well how ineffective and destructive these habits and tactics have been in the past. So why, oh why did they revert to them once again when the going got tough?
Rationally there is no explanation for this whatsoever, it’s akin to treating a headache by bashing your head repeatedly against a door. Also, there has been a turnover of players to such an extent that this should not be happening anymore.
Perhaps the psychological scars of that second season in the Premier League are so powerful and pervasive that they have infected every new addition since. How on earth do we go about addressing this issue? Well, that’s a question for someone with a much greater understanding of psychology than me has to answer.
I am almost at my wits-end when it comes to understanding this team and predicting where they may finish in the table. One week, they look like the competent and talented footballers that they all undoubtedly are.
The next they look like a collection of terrified children being sent onto the pitch as a punishment for some previous misdemeanour. There is however, one worrying indicator as to where this team may finish come the end of the season.
It is their complete lack of fight, particularly against physical and aggressive opponents who ask questions of them. That is worrying because there is perhaps no greater quality needed in a relegation battle than fight.
Between now and the end of the season Town will play in games that boil down to grit, determination and heart. Can we say with any degree of confidence that, as a collective, this team can display all three of those traits when needed?
We should have enough about us to pick up points against teams who are ‘on the beach’ and running down the clock on their season. But when we’re up against a determined outfit battling for every single point, will we want it enough?
The evidence served up so far, particularly in last night’s game and previous matches this season against the likes of Stoke and Preston suggest we won’t.
I have said time and time again this season, both on the blog and in private to my friends, that I think we have enough about us to avoid relegation this season. Last night’s abdication of duty and complete lack of personal pride has forced me to seriously question that assertion…
Until the next time, UTT (please God.)
TerrierBlog is a fan run site and receives no funding from advertising or anyone else, therefore our funding model is based on the generosity of you, the reader. If you would like to support us here at TerrierBlog in the work that we do, you can via our Patreon page.
For as little as $1 a month you can help to secure the future of our sometimes thought-provoking, but often rambling posts. Please take a few minutes to visit TerrierBlog’s Patreon page by clicking HERE.
John, Daniel & Stephan.