Cardiff v Southampton
9th December 2018
A loss in the pouring rain at Cardiff. Not the start Hasenhüttl wanted.
arfurdent's Thought's on the Game
Not really a full match report as I cannot face watching the game again, sober. So impressions and thoughts of what I saw.
It was an interesting team selection with the inclusion of Romeu as defensive midfield cover. Contrast that to the attack which was distinctly lightweight with only Austin up front.
As expected Cardiff played a lot of Route 1 balls and were very physical. Initially the ref picked up on a lot of Cardiff’s antics, but seem to lose interest as the match wore on.
Valery looked very exposed by the through balls and it was no surprise he was taken off at half time.
Armstrong again had a good game as an attacking midfielder, good enough that maybe he could be turned into a very effective 10, or the so called false 9.
Saints midfield initially got in to mix it with the very physical Cardiff players, but seemed to be worried about the defensive issues behind them and the lack of any sort of physical presence in the box to service. It meant they played a holding game, while looking for someone to link up with. Højbjerg then seemed to drift out of the game.
Austin is basically a goal poacher and the lone striker role is not his thing. His lack of pace made it easy for the Cardiff defence to nullify him.
The centre of the Saints defence seemed uncertain how to play and link up. Given the past eighteen months, that was not actually surprising. But as the second half wore on they seemed to be wandering around like headless chickens. The whole team's confidence is really shot. Targett like Valery struggled with the Cardiff long ball play, basically because he was isolated with little midfield cover.
Cardiff were generally poor as a set of individuals, but you could see the usual Warnock organisation holding them together. Like him, or not, he is manager who knows how to build castles on quicksand.
Saints showed promise in pushing forward, but the lack of presence in the box meant a lot of sideways passing that the Cardiff midfield realised was vulnerable to interception, allowing a long ball break against a disjointed defence.
The substitutions were basically like for like and unlikely to change the tactical balance.
To start with the team tried to push forward and compete, but worries at the back seemed to disrupt the play with little outlet up front.
Cardiff had sussed out Redmond’s style of play and let him run a bit, before boxing him in with nowhere to pass.
This may sound overly critical, but I have an abiding image of two centre halves standing in the rain wondering what was happening to them. What worries me, is that this sort of performance no longer hurts, or even annoys.
I look forward to the new manager getting to work on the squad. The fitness levels need to increase. The defensive awareness also needs a lot of work. There were times you could have driven a milk float through the centre of the defence without them noticing.
I just do not subscribe to the often made comments in some quarters that the squad is not good enough to achieve mid-table safety, provided the fitness and tactics improve.
Given the scale of the work needed, it is going to take at least two to three months before things are likely to improve. The damage of the past couple of years is not something easily undone. One bonus is that we have a number of top six games in that period which you can almost write off. Hopefully the green shoots of improvement will become evident by the time of the Burnley away game in the first week of February.
Despite the awful weather and the even worse performance on the pitch the support from the travelling fans was as ever immense and a pleasure to behold and be part of. It was a good day out with a great curry at Wetherspoons. The Welsh trains were totally horrible.
Redmond will thrive in Hasenhüttl's high pressing game
5 Ecuele Manga
4 Morrison - Booked 19'
3 Bennett Booked 66'
19 Mendez-Laing (Hoilett 67')
7 Arter (Ralls 90'+1)
11 Murphy (K Harris 85')
43 Valery - Booked 28' (Stephens 45')
14 Romeu - Booked 74' (Ward-Prowse 80')
10 Austin (Gabbiadini 75')
23 K Harris
Saturday 8th December
- Paterson 74'
Referee: Jonathan Moss
- Cardiff 37%
- Southampton 63%
- Cardiff 13
- Southampton 12
Shots on Target
- Cardiff 4
- Southampton 1
- Cardiff 7
- Southampton 7
- Cardiff 9
- Southampton 10