domenica 9 febbraio 2014

Three things we learned about Cardiff City vs Swansea City

Three thoughts from Swansea's 3-0 win over Cardiff.

Garry Monk seemed more ready than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. To sack Michael Laudrup at this stage of the season was a massive risk but Swansea deserved their win and Monk won the chess game. Monk's first game in charge had its peak when former Swansea’s captain introduced Pablo Hernández at half-time. Although Marvin Emnes wasn’t so bad, the Spaniard changed games’ momentum delivering an assist out from his first pass. Both Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge played convincingly on the flanks. Cardiff were beaten tactically and this performance suggested that Monk’s aspirations of getting the job on a permanent basis are high.

Solskjaer still has to do with his side. He has only one win in five league matches since succeeding Malky Mackay as Cardiff manager. The decisions to bench Jordon Mutch and to drop Craig Noone for Kim Bo-Kyung raised eyebrows. If the opting for Peter Whittingham alongside Gary Medel  in the middle of the pitch just behind an advanced Craig Bellamy was based on the desire of game control it simply didn’t work. Leon Britton controlled the midfield as Swansea retained 62% of the ball. Cardiff was forced to play on the counter-attack and rarely produced an end product. Aside from a Bellamy shot that hit the crossbar, Cardiff didn’t come close to equalizing. Wilfired Zaha couldn’t quite make an impact. Cardiff looked vulnerable defensively. Fabio’s debut was a mess with the young Brazilian beaten by Hernandez’s delightful pass while Routledge easily ran past him for the first score.

 The future is not scripted but what psychological impact this result will have remains to be seen. For Cardiff it was a devastating blow. Solskjaer has a lot more to do. Cardiff rarely went to play the ball as Solskjaer likes relying too much on long balls to Kenwyne Jones. The dressing room was devastated as Cardiff’s manager frankly admitted. On the other side, Swansea hammered their rivals in a special day that will live long in the memory. They played the high-tempo, quick passes kind of game Monk wanted from the moment he took the job. Swansea played with intensity and put on the field the hard work which is the first principle Swansea City had over the last 10 seasons, as chairman Huw Jenkins pointed out before the game. Monk had the responses he was looking for

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