Norwich 0-2 Cardiff City

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14 April 2018

Late goals from Kenneth Zohore and Junior Hoilett against Norwich regained Cardiff second place in the league.

Norwich started the brighter in the first half, with Cardiff trying to use their pace on the counter-attack. Dennis Srbeny had an effort which Neil Etheridge saved early on.

Craig Bryson had a couple of efforts in the first half. He fired the first effort over after being set up by Nathaniel Mendez-Laing. The second effort was on target after Gary Madine had layed it off to him. Angus Gunn saved the effort.

Norwich came closest in the first half. Srbeny hit the post from Moritz Leitner’s near-post corner. Srbeny had another effort in stoppage time, which was excellently blocked by Sean Morrison after Bruno Manga had been dispossessed. Manga had started on the bench, but he had to come on for Sol Bamba who was injured.

After the break, the Bluebirds had the first key chance, with Junior Hoilett’s cross finding Manga, who headed across goal and wide.

Zohore came on for Madine in the 73rd minute and he had an effort soon after that, as he fired wide after being found by Hoilett in the box.

Zohore did score in the 86th minute to put us ahead. Following a Aron Gunnarsson long throw, the ball came out to Morrison, who headed over the defence to Zohore whose header was saved, before he slotted inside the near post from the rebound.

In stoppage time at the end of the game, Hoilett sealed the win with a superb volley from outside the box. This was a fantastic response to the last two results against Wolves and Aston Villa.

With Brentford scoring right at the death two draw 1-1 with Fulham, we are back in second place, with a game in hand over Fulham. With Fulham drawing, Wolves are officially promoted to the Premier League.

This was a good performance, especially defensively and we showed our clinical side with the goals late on.

Next up is a home game against Nottingham Forest next Saturday, the 21 April. It is another huge game and hopefully we can go one step closer to promotion to the Premier League.

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Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United

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7 April 2018

A remarkable second-half fightback from Man United to come from two goals down to win the Manchester derby means that Man City must wait to secure the Premier League title.

City were by far the better team in the first half. Bernardo Silva came close to scoring, but he couldn’t poke the ball past David de Gea.

City took the lead in the 25th minute through captain Vincent Kompany with a header from a corner. Leroy Sané took the corner, with Kompany getting ahead of Chris Smalling to head in. Smalling was pulling Kompany’s shirt but, Kompany still managed to score.

City doubled their lead in the 30th minute through Ilkay Gündogan. Raheem Sterling passed the ball to Gündogan, who turned past the defender before finishing into the corner.

Sterling should’ve added more goals in the first half. He twice fired over the bar from very good positions. Gündogan also had a good chance with a header straight at de Gea after being set up by Fernandinho.

In the second half, Gündogan came close again, this time striking against the outside of the right-hand post. United were starting to improve since the break.

In the 53rd minute, Paul Pogba pulled a goal back. Alexis Sanchez made some space for himself before finding Ander Herrera, who chested the ball to Pogba, who fired past Ederson.

Two minutes later the score was level due to another goal by Pogba. Sanchez was involved again, this time finding Pogba with a delightful pass over top, with Pogba heading in.

In the 69th minute the comeback was complete due to Smalling scoring. From a Sanchez free-kick he crossed it over the top to Smalling who volleyed past de Gea. It was very poor defending from City.

City had an appeal for a penalty when Ashley Young went high with a challenge on Sergio Aguero. But, the referee waved their appeal away.

Aguero thought he had scored with a header, but de Gea pulled off another spectacular save to deny him. Sterling once again came close in the last few minutes with the ball deflecting off him against the post, with de Gea reacting to kick the ball away.

In the end United held on to postpone City’s title celebrations. They still remain 13 points clear at the top with six games remaining.

It wasn’t just the scoreline which changed in the second half, it was Pogba’s performance. In the first half he struggled to have any effect and his hair was the only thing getting noticed.

But, in the second half he was much improved scoring two goals and having a much bigger effect on the game. He helped United get back into the game.

Next up for United is a home game against West Brom. Hopefully we can continue our winning form and make City wait another week to win the title.

Cardiff City 0-1 Wolves

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6 April 2018

Cardiff missed two stoppage-time penalties as we lost to Championship leaders Wolves in a dramatic finale.

Wolves had most of the possession for most of the game but failed to create many chances. Ruben Neves had a swerving long-range effort saved by Neil Etheridge. Diogo Jota also had an effort which Etheridge saved well.

We had some decent chances as well. Sol Bamba had a decent chance with a header from a corner, but failed to get a good connection on it. Joe Bennett had a very good chance after being played through by Junior Hoilett but, he fired wide. Yanic Wildschut nearly scored a brilliant goal, but his free-kick was saved in the top corner by John Ruddy.

Early on in the second half, after rounding Etheridge, Léo Bonatini struck the post from a very tight angle. That was one of their best chances.

In the 67th minute, Wolves took the lead with a brilliant free-kick by Neves. After a debatable free-kick was given against Sean Morrison, Neves stepped up to fire into the top corner from 25 yards.

But, city didn’t stop trying. Aron Gunnarsson came very close with a long-range effort. As long as the score was still only 1-0 there was a chance.

Wolves should’ve doubled the lead in the 86th minute through Helder Costa. After Neves had played the ball over the top, Costa managed to get around Lee Peltier, only to put his effort wide with only Etheridge to beat.

Then the big action came. In stoppage time at the end of the game, we were awarded a penalty for a foul by Conor Coady on Anthony Pilkington. But, Gary Madine’s poor penalty was saved in the bottom corner by Ruddy.

But, just when Wolves thought that was it, another penalty as awarded with virtually the last kick of the game for a foul on Gunnarsson. But, this time it was Hoilett who failed to score, firing against the crossbar.

The referee blew the whistle straight after that, with Wolves holding on to extend their lead at the top of the table to nine points. The now only need five points from their final five games to secure promotion back to the Premier League.

There was confrontation after the game between Neil Warnock and Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo after Nuno had run onto the pitch celebrating before shaking Warnock’s hand.

We remain second in the league, but the gap to Fulham has been cut down to two points after Fulham beat Sheffield Wednesday. We do have a game in hand though.

Next up for us is a massive game at Aston Villa next Tuesday, the 10 April. Hopefully we can get back to winning ways.

Manchester United 2-0 Swansea

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31 March 2018

Romelu Lukaku scored his 100th Premier League goal as Man United comfortable beat Swansea and strengthened the grip on second place, whilst denting Swansea’s survival hopes.

United opened the scoring in the fifth minute through Lukaku. Jesse Lingard passed the ball to Alexis Sanchez, who played it to Lukaku, who took one touch before firing into the top left corner to finish for his 100th Premier League goal.

Lukaku came close to scoring soon after that, as he had a shot pushed away by Lukasz Fabianski. Lingard also had an effort saved by Fabianski.

In the 20th minute, United did double the lead through Sanchez. Lingard played the ball through to Sanchez who fired into the corner for his second goal for the club since joining in January.

In the second half, Juan Mata came close to adding to the lead, as he volleyed over after being set up by Paul Pogba.

Swansea were second best by far during the first half, but they improved after the break. Tammy Abraham forced David de Gea into a save after being fed by Tom Carroll and turning inside in the box.

Soon after, Abraham was thwarted again by de Gea, who brilliantly saved Abraham’s effort. He is the best goalkeeper in the world.

In the end it was a comfortable afternoon for United. The first half was more like the way we should be playing every game and hopefully it continues.

Lukaku has received so much criticism this season, yet he has scored 26 goals in all competitions and his link-up play has improved with each game.

We remain second in the league, 16 points off leaders Man City. City will have the chance to win the league next Saturday in the Manchester derby. Swansea are 15th, three points above the relegation zone.

Next up for United is the Manchester derby next Saturday, the 7 April at the Etihad. Hopefully we can stop City from winning the league next week and continue our winning form.

Cardiff City 3-1 Burton Albion

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30 March 2018

Cardiff made it eight wins in a row and took another step towards automatic promotion with victory over struggling Burton Albion.

In the 16th minute Cardiff took the lead through Kenneth Zohore. Junior Hoilett was the supplier, with a cross to the near post, where Zohore was to finish for his fourth goal in his last six games.

But, the lead didn’t last long, as Burton equalised in the 21st minute through Darren Bent. Lloyd Dyer crossed the ball low across the face of goal, giving Bent a tap in at the back post.

Craig Bryson should’ve put City back in front, as he fired wide after Nathaniel Mendez-Laing had beaten the keeper to the ball on the wing and crossing it in for him.

In stoppage time at the end of the first half, City did go back in front through Mendez-Laing, who fired into the roof of the net after Zohore had headed the ball on.

Burton had played quite well in the first half, but City were by far the better team in the second half. Sol Bamba and Sean Morrison both had goals disallowed so it could’ve been even more comfortable. In the 64th minute, Callum Paterson doubled the lead. Hoilett crossed the ball in to Bryson, who chested the ball down to Paterson to fire home.

It was a solid performance from the Bluebirds. One big encouragement will be that Aron Gunnarsson was able to return to the team after a lengthy injury, as he came on as a substitute in the second half.

This victory makes it eight wins in a row and it is the best winning run of Neil Warnock’s managerial career. It also makes it twelve games unbeaten.

The Bluebirds remain second in the league, seven points above third-placed Fulham and nine points above fourth-placed Aston Villa, who drew 0-0 at Hill. We also have a game in hand over both teams. Burton drop to the foot of the table, six points adrift of safety.

Next up for the Bluebirds is a trip to Sheffield United next Monday, the 2 April. Hopefully we can continue our winning form or at least get something out of the game.

Cardiff City 3-2 Birmingham

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10 March 2018

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

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10 March 2018

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

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5 March 2018

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

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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

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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.