Cardiff City 3-2 Birmingham


, , , , , , , , , ,

Cardiff held on against Birmingham to win a sixth successive Championship match and remain in a strong position in an automatic promotion spot.

Cardiff were positive from the off. Junior Hoilett had an early effort which was saved in the top corner. Cardiff did take the lead in the 12th minute through Nathaniel Mendez-Laing. He received the ball on the left, before cutting inside and firing into the bottom corner from outside the box for his first goal since August.

The Bluebirds scored again in the 23rd minute through Craig Bryson. Following a corner, the ball fell to Joe Bennett who fired the ball along the floor, with Bryson flicking in. Bryson had to go off in the 37th minute because of an injury and was replaced by Loïc Damour.

In stoppage time at the end of the half, Cardiff scored another through Callum Paterson. Bennett crossed the ball in, with Paterson on the end of it to score.

Birmingham came out with more fight in the second half and got back into the game. In the 54th minute, the referee gave a penalty for a foul by Marko Grujic on Harlee Dean. It didn’t look like anything had happened. Craig Gardner converted the penalty.

We should’ve had a penalty of our own when Hoilett was clearly fouled from behind, but for some reason the referee didn’t give it. Sol Bamba was shown a yellow card for his protests.

Michael Morrison could’ve made the game very interesting if he had scored in the 65th minute. From Jota’s corner, he managed to get free, but from point-blank range he fired straight at Neil Etheridge, who managed to keep it out.

Substitute Che Adams also came close, dragging a left-footed strike wide. Hoilett should’ve finished the game when he was one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but he fired wide when he should’ve squared for Kenneth Zohore to tap in.

Maxime Colin’s brilliant finish deep into injury-time into the top corner gave Birmingham slight hope but, in the end we held on.

We remain second in the league, four points ahead of third-placed Aston Villa and only three points behind Wolves, who lost 4-1 to Villa. Birmingham remain 22nd, two points adrift of safety. They have now lost eight Championship games in a row.

Next up for the Bluebirds is a trip to Brentford next Tuesday, the 13 March. Hopefully we continue our winning form and our six match winning run.


Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool


, , , , , , , ,

Marcus Rashford scored twice to give Man United victory over Liverpool which extended their lead over our deadly rivals and strengthened our grip on second place in the Premier League.

Manchester-born Rashford scored both his goals in the first half. His first came in the 14th minute. From David de Gea’s goal-kick, Romelu Lukaku beat Dejan Lovren to the ball and headed it on to Rashford, who ran through, before cutting inside Trent Alexander-Arnold and finishing into the far corner. It was a brilliant finish.

In the 24th minute he scored his second. Once again he bullied Lovren before passing it through to Juan Mata. The ball then ricocheted off a defender to Rashford, whose shot deflected past Lorius Karius.

Just before the goal, Virgil Van Dijk had headed just wide from a corner. Towards the end of the half, Mata had a chance to give United a three goal lead. From Alexis Sanchez’s cross, Mata acrobatically fired wide even though he had time to take a touch before shooting.

Liverpool were better in the second half. Van Dijk had another chance, this time heading over from a Mohamed Salah corner.

In the 66th minute, Liverpool pulled a goal back. From Sadio Mané’s cross, Eric Bailly, on his first start since the 5 November at Chelsea, sliced a clearance into his own net to halve the deficit.

United never looked in real danger of giving up the lead. But, Juergen Klopp was not happy at all about at least one decision where he claimed that substitute Marouane Fellaini had Fouled Mané. It was a debatable decision.

Salah had an effort with the last kick of the game, but he hardly did anything all game and was kept quiet by Ashley Young, who was fantastic.

It was a classic victory from Mourinho, with United only having 32% possession and two shots on target.

Those two shots on target were the two goals which were scored by Rashford. It was Rashford’s first start since 26 December and he’s played less than 100 minutes in the league as a substitute in 2018. He has now scored 12 goals in all competitions this season, making this his most prolific season with United.

United remain second, five points ahead of third-placed Liverpool, who could be over-taken by Tottenham if they win against Bournemouth on Sunday.

Next up for United is the second leg of the Champions League last-16 at home to Sevilla. Next weekend is the FA Cup quarter-final at home to Brighton. Hopefully we can continue our winning form.

Crystal Palace 2-3 Manchester United


, , , , , , , , ,

Nemanja Matic scored a stunning stoppage-time winner as Man United came from 2-0 down against Crystal Palace to go back to second in the Premier League table.

Palace were much better in the first half, as they were quicker and hungrier to the ball, with United too lethargic. It was no surprise when they took the lead in the 11th minute.

It was Andros Townsend who got the goal, with his strike deflecting off Victor Lindelof into the back of the net. Lindelof turned his back on the shot which you cannot do and it ended up cannoning off him into the net.

United were sloppy throughout the first half, with Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba giving the ball away a lot of times. United struggled to create anything as the hosts were simply better.

Palace doubled the lead in the 48th minute through Patrick Van Aanholt. After Christian Benteke was fouled, Jeffrey Schlupp took the free-kick quickly by playing Van Aanholt through and he finished past David de Gea. United were caught off guard and Palace took advantage.

This gave Palace hope of a first ever Premier League win over United. But, in the 55th minute Chris Smalling pulled a goal back. After a corner had been cleared, Antonio Valencia crossed the ball back into the box and Smalling was free to head in. From then on the momentum changed in United’s favour.

Matic came very close to equalising with about fifteen minutes left to play, as his close-range effort following a corner was blocked off the line by Christian Benteke.

But, in the 76th minute United did equalise through Romelu Lukaku. After Sanchez’s shot was blocked onto the bar, the ball fell to Lukaku who took his time before firing into the bottom corner.

Just after the goal, de Gea proved once again why he is by far the best goalkeeper in the league with another wonder save, this time denying Benteke’s header.

It was looking like United would remain behind Liverpool in the table by dropping two points as they failed to break down Palace who were resolute in defence.

But, in stoppage time at the end of the game, the ball fell to Matic 25 yards from goal. It looked highly unlikely that he’d be able to score from there, but he hit a fantastic shot which went into the corner past Wayne Hennessy to break Palace hearts but it was a relief for United.

United move a point above Liverpool into second place, while Palace, who would’ve climbed to 13th with a win, remain 18th.

Next up for United is a big game against Liverpool next Saturday, the 10 March. Liverpool are in very good form so it’s going to be a tough game. We have to play better than we did against Palace.

Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea


, , , , , , , , ,

25 February 2018

Man United moved back into second place in the Premier League as substitute Jesse Lingard gave them victory over top-four rivals Chelsea at Old Trafford.

Chelsea came close to scoring after just four minutes, as Alvaro Morata fired Marcos Alonso’s volleyed cross against the bar, with David de Gea tipping Eden Hazard’s follow-up over the bar.

Alexis Sanchez had a good chance for United when he should’ve shot first time after being set up by Anthony Martial, but he took a touch which let him down and he ended up firing at Thibaut Courtois with no power.

In the 32nd minute, Chelsea took the lead through Willian. From a United free-kick in Chelsea’s half, Chelsea counter-attacked with Hazard playing the ball through to Willian who fired the ball through de Gea. Scott McTominay should’ve followed Willian and de Gea probably should’ve saved the shot but, it’s hard to fault de Gea, who has been excellent all season.

In the 39th minute Romelu Lukaku equalised for United. After Sanchez played the ball to Martial inside the box, he layed it off for Lukaku who finished into the corner. This was his first goal against the top six this season, his 13th Premier League goal this season and his first goal against his old club.

In the second half, Danny Drinkwater had a long-range effort which was saved unconvincingly by de Gea, but United managed to clear the ball.

Lukaku, who had an excellent match, game close to scoring again when his acrobatic effort from Sanchez’s cross was tipped over the bar by Courtois. The momentum was certainly with United.

In the 75th minute, United took the lead for the first time in the match through substitute Jesse Lingard. Lukaku did great work with the ball on the right, before brilliantly crossing to Lingard who headed in.

In the 86th minute, Chelsea had a goal disallowed, with the assistant referee adjudging that Morata was offside from aces Fabregas’s pass. But, replays showed that he wasn’t.

In the end United held on for a massive win to consolidate our place in the top four and to move back above Liverpool into second.

One player who shone in this game was Lukaku who was excellent throughout. He came into the game having scored 12 goals in the Premier League so far this season but none and only four shots on target against the other teams in the top six.

But, in this game he was a massive reason for United’s victory. He scored the equaliser and then assisted the winner. Overall it was a brilliant display as he worked his socks off throughout.

Much of the build-up to the match had centred on the ongoing disputes between Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte. But, in this game, the pair shook hands before and after the game with all seeming fine.

United return to second in the league, 13 points behind leaders Man City, two points above third-placed Liverpool, and six points above fifth-placed Chelsea, who slipped out of the Champions League places due to Tottenham beating Crystal Palace earlier on Sunday.

Next up for United is a trip to Crystal Palace next Monday, the 5 January. Hopefully we can continue our winning form.

Cardiff City 1-0 Bristol City


, , , , , , , ,

25 February 2018

Kenneth Zohore scored late on to win the Severnside Derby for Cardiff and restore the four-point cushion to third place Aston Villa.

It was expected to be a full-blooded affair and after only 5 minutes Nathan Baker was yellow-carded for a foul on Callum Paterson. Cardiff were calling for a red as he was the last man but he was given a yellow.

There was no lack of commitment from either side but, there weren’t many scoring chances. There was a scramble in the Bristol City box, where Gary Madine and Joe Ralls both had shots blocked.

Liam Feeney had the game’s first strike on target when his sliding effort from Sol Bamba’s fine through ball was saved by Frank Fielding.

Callum Paterson missed with a header from a Junior Hoilett free-kick and Greg Halford had low effort from outside the box saved in the bottom right corner. Cardiff had most of the efforts in the first half.

At half-time Zohore came on for Madine who was suffering from an injury. The Bluebirds were looking to increase the tempo in the second half.

Paterson came close to scoring again, as he fired narrowly over after Zohore had headed on Ralls’ cross.

Bristol City had their own chances, with Jamie Paterson having an effort deflected wide by Bruno Manga, but in the end it was Cardiff who were rewarded.

In the 82nd minute, Ralls battled past a couple of Bristol City players to fire a low cross from the left, with the ball falling to Zohore who fired into the roof of the net with a simple finish. Four days after scoring the winner against Ipswich he was on hand again to fire the Bluebirds to another victory.

During stoppage time Aden Flint had an effort blocked but, in the end Cardiff held on to extend our unbeaten run in the Championship to 8 games.

Cardiff remain second in the table, four points clear of Villa in third and only six points behind league leaders Wolves after they lost to Fulham 2-0 on Saturday. Bristol City on the other hand, remain sixth but they are on a run of one win in 10 league games and are only two points ahead of Middlesbrough in seventh.

Next up for the Bluebirds is a trip to Brentford next Saturday, the 3 March. Hopefully we can continue our winning form.

Cardiff City 1-0 Middlesbrough


, , , , , , , ,

17 February 2018

Sean Morrison scored the only goal of the game to give Cardiff the victory over Middlesbrough, as City climbed to second place in the championship.

Most of the first half lacked any quality. Junior Hoilett had an effort saved by Darren Randolph for City and Adama Traore forced Neil Etheridge into a save for Boro.

It was always going to be a physical battle between two teams managed by Neil Warnock and Tony Pulis. As the game wasn’t fluent, it was predictable that the deadlock was broken from a set-piece.

In the 33rd minute, Morrison headed in a Hoilett free-kick to put City in front. That was the only exciting action of the first half.

Cardiff were the better team for most of the second half. But, Middlesbrough did come close through Stewart Downing, who fired narrowly wide from a counter-attack.

Hoilett had a close-range effort saved following a Callum Paterson long throw-in. Substitute Loïc Damour had a volley saved from outside the box, as Cardiff didn’t really look like losing the lead, only adding to it.

This was a very important win for City, especially as Aston Villa lost to Fulham. We are now second, two points above third-placed Villa and 11 points above seventh-placed Preston. We are six Championship games unbeaten. Middlesbrough remain ninth, four points outside the play-offs.

Next up for the Bluebirds is a trip to Ipswich next Wednesday the 21 February. Hopefully we can continue our winning form.

On the day an earthquake struck south Wales, Cardiff City Stadium was an epicentre of inactivity until Sean Morrison headed the hosts in front.

Cardiff are now two points clear of third-placed Aston Villa, who lost at Fulham.

A sixth Championship match without defeat for the Bluebirds also means they are now 11 points clear of Preston in seventh outside the play-offs.

Middlesbrough, meanwhile, remain ninth, four points adrift of the top six.

A meeting between teams managed by Neil Warnock and Tony Pulis was always likely to produce a rugged, physical encounter, and so it proved.

Predictably, it was a set-piece which led to the goal.

Hoilett whipped in a deep, in-swinging free-kick towards the back post, where Morrison rose above Ben Gibson to glance in his second headed goal in a week.

Cardiff had beaten Bolton here four days earlier with two goals from set-pieces and this was another functional, professional display.

They had to withstand pressure late on as Boro launched a series of long balls into their penalty area, but Pulis’ side were unable to fashion any genuine scoring opportunities against Cardiff’s resolute defence.

Millwall 1-1 Cardiff City


, , , , , , ,

9 February 2018

Cardiff missed the chance to move level with second-placed Derby as Sol Bamba was a denied a clear goal in a close-fought game.

Cardiff started strongly and opened the scoring in the third minute through Junior Hoilett. After dispossessing Mahlon Romeo, Hoilett carried the ball before drilling the ball into the back of the net.

But, after that Millwall rallied and came close through Steve Morison, who volleyed against the bar. They did score in the 40th minute through Lee Gregory. After a Millwall goal-kick, the ball came to Jed Wallace, who crossed for Gregory, who smashed the ball in.

During the second half, Neil Etheridge had to make a few saves to deny Millwall. Ben Marshall had an effort from outside the box which Etheridge had to get down to push away.

Wallace also had an effort which Etheridge had to push away before grabbing the rebound. Millwall probably edged the second half on a whole.

But, then in the final 10 minutes was the controversy. Joe Bennett was caught late on the edge of the box, with the referee playing advantage while the ball went into the box, but blew for the free-kick just as Sol Bamba was about to shoot. It was a shocking decision which cost us the victory.

There was more controversy with a penalty appeal for a handball by Shaun Hutchinson. Paterson fired the ball, with the ball striking Hutchinson’s arm, but the referee didn’t give it.

In stoppage time, Callum Paterson ran past the Millwall defenders through on goal, but he put his effort wide with pressure from a defender.

Before the game I would’ve taken a point as a lot of big teams have dropped points at the Den. But, after the disallowed goal and the penalty not given, its quite frustrating we didn’t win, especially as Derby and Bristol City drew.

Cardiff remain fourth, four points off second-placed Aston Villa and three points off third-placed Derby but, we have a game in hand on both teams.

Next up for the Bluebirds is Bolton at home next Tuesday, the 13 February. Hopefully, we can get back to winning ways.

Millwall battled to a point on the night veteran Tim Cahill made his second Lions debut.

Australia international Cahill came off the bench in second-half stoppage time, but the veteran forward was unable to make an impact in his first appearance for Millwall since the 2004 FA Cup final.

Leeds United 1-4 Cardiff City


, , , , , , , , , ,

3 February 2018

Cardiff maintained their challenge for promotion with a comfortable victory over 10-man Leeds.

Cardiff started on the front foot and took the lead in the 9th minute through Callum Paterson. After Leeds failed to clear, debutant Armand Traore recycled the ball and crossed in to Paterson who headed in.

Yanic Wildschut then headed just over as Cardiff were all over Leeds. But, soon after that, Leeds should’ve scored as Pierre-Michel Lasogga headed against the bar from point-blank range and Ezgjan Alioski was denied from the rebound by a. Superb reaction save by Neil Etheridge.

In the 41st minute, Junior Hoilett doubled the lead. From a City counter-attack, Paterson ran through, with his scuffed shot ending up being a perfect pass for Hoilett to tap in.

In stoppage time at the end of the first half it went from bad to worse for Leeds as Gaetano Berardi was sent off as he was given a second yellow card for a foul on debutant Gary Madine.

From the resulting free-kick, Sean Morrison headed in Hoilett’s cross to put City three goals up and in full control of the game.

Cardiff were so comfortable at half-time that they became complacent in the second half. Sol Bamba poked into his own net to give Leeds some hope.

But, Leeds could not find a way back and in the 87th minute, Leeds gave the ball way to Hoilett who passed to Paterson who crossed into Anthony Pilkington who tapped home to finish it off.

In the end it was a comfortable result with the game all but won at half-time. Things are looking positive for City, with more players added to the squad in January. Four of those players started against Leeds.

City remain fourth but have a game in hand on all the teams above them. We are three points off second-placed Derby and two points off third-placed Aston Villa. Leeds drop to 10th and are now seven points off the play-offs.

Next up for City is a trip to Millwall next Friday, the 9 February. Hopefully we can continue our winning form and our push for promotion.

Manchester United 2-0 Huddersfield


, , , , , , , , ,

3 February 2018

Man United comfortably beat Huddersfield, as Alexis Sanchez scored his first goal for the club.

Jose Mourinho made some big changes to the team for this game. Paul Pogba was replaced by Scott McTominay and dropped to the bench for the first time since he returned to United in August 2016. Phil Jones, who scored an own goal at Spurs on Wednesday, wasn’t even in the match day squad. Anthony Martial was also dropped to the bench.

It was an uneventful first half, as United failed to break down Huddersfield. Jesse Lingard had an effort early on which was saved by Jonas Lössl.

After 20 minutes, United should’ve had a penalty when Scott McTominay was flattered in the box by Terence Kongolo. McTominay had to have treatment but he was able to continue.

Sanchez had a long-range effort saved by Lössl as United were restricted to half chances during the first half. Despite enjoying more than 76% possession, the home side lacked fluidity and creativity in the first half.

It was more eventful in the second half, and in the 55th minute United took the lead through Romelu Lukaku as he volleyed a Juan Mata cross into the back of the net for his 19th goal this season.

In the 67th minute, United were awarded a penalty as Sanchez was fouled in the box. Sanchez stepped up to take it, with his low shot being saved but, he tapped in the rebound to score his first goal for the club after his transfer from Arsenal in January.

In the end it was a comfortable victory on an emotional day with the Munich air disaster being remembered 60 years since it happened. There was a minute silence before the game.

Players wore black armbands, while fans also received a commemorative book and pin. Before the game, supporters were invited to pay their respects under the Munich plaque at the south-east corner of Old Trafford.

On the actual day of the anniversary on Tuesday, there will be a service inside the stadium, with a minute’s silence at 15:04 GMT, which is the precise time of the crash.

United remain second in the league, with the gap to leaders Man City narrowed down to 13 points, as they drew 1-1 at Burnley in the early kick-off.

Next up for United is a trip to Newcastle next Sunday, the 11 February.

Cardiff City 0-2 Manchester City


, , , , , , ,

28 January 2018

Cardiff failed to cause a shock by beating Premier League leaders Manchester City, as Man City comfortably won to progress into the FA Cup fifth round.

There was a record attendance of 32,339 watching at the Cardiff City Stadium but, the excitement that there was before the game was muted eight minutes in through Kevin De Bruyne. After Bernardo Silva had a shot saved and then Ilkay Gündogan was fouled, De Bruyne stepped up and fired under a jumping Cardiff wall.

Junior Hoilett was inches away from levelling the game as his long-range volley was spilt by Claudio Bravo, but he managed to get back before the ball did go over the line.

In the 25th minute, Bernardo Silva thought he had doubled the lead with a thunderous effort but, the assistant referee disallowed it as he thought that Leroy Sané was interfering from an offside position. He was interfering but it was hard to see whether he was offside or not. VAR probably would’ve sorted the decision.

In the 37th minute, Man City did double their lead. It was Raheem Sterling who scored it after a wonderful cross from Bernardo Silva found him and he headed in. There was some static defending by the Cardiff defence, which gave Sterling so much space.

Right at the end of the half, Leroy Sane was on the end of a challenge by Joe Bennett which injured him badly. There was no intention from Bennett of injuring Sane, he was just trying to stop him from getting into the box to create an opportunity to score. But, it was a poor studs-up challenge which means that Sane could be out for a month.

The second half was pretty comfortable for Man City, but Cardiff did have a couple of efforts. Hoilett had a brilliant effort which skimmed the top of the goal and Kenneth Zohore fired high and wide with a decent chance.

Man City also had more chances, with Sterling only being stopped from scoring by a well-timed tackle from Sean Morrison. Silva also had a good chance but, he didn’t place it right and Neil Etheridge was able to save.

Etheridge had to make another save, this time to deny Danilo. Cardiff ended the game with 10 men after a silly foul by Bennett got him a second yellow card and he is now suspended for the game against Leeds next Saturday.

This was a fixture which produced a memorable upset in 1994, as Nathan Blake’s spectacular curling effort gave Cardiff, who were then struggling in the third tier, a 1-0 win at Ninian Park. But, there was never really the prospect of a repeat of that upset as Man City eased to victory, despite Cardiff’s best efforts. Cardiff couldn’t deal with the quick movement and passing of Man City.

Cardiff’s attentions will turn back to the Championship, with a big game away at Leeds next Saturday, the 3 February. Hopefully we can keep our promotion push up.