Cardiff City notes: The transfer with an unexpected bonus, the star playing with a smile again and a glimpse of the old magic

 admin   2020-06-29 12:05   197 人阅读  0 条评论

Cardiff City correspondent Glen Williams runs us through the big talking points from Saturday's 3-1 win over Preston.

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing has got that spark back

Anyone can see that Nathaniel Mendez-Laing is hungry to get back out there and prove to everyone just what he can do.

He has been afforded an unexpected second chance this season, after it looked as though his campaign would be curtailed because of a nasty hamstring injury he sustained against Sheffield Wednesday back in December, but what a boost it has proved to be, having him back.

Two excellent cameo appearances from the bench against Leeds United, against whom he set up Robert Glatzel for the second goal, and up at Deepdale, where he sauntered through the defence and coolly finished to put the Bluebirds 2-1 up.

I don't know what it is, but he really seems to have the bit between his teeth at the minute and even though Albert Adomah did well for long periods against Preston, Mendez-Laing has pressed his case for two weeks running now for a starting spot and it would be a brave call for Harris to omit him for a third successive game.

The manager is probably, understandably, working him back to full fitness, knowing the player's importance if they do get to the play-offs, but he has shown his pace, power and dynamism in the last two weeks and the signs are hugely encouraging.

And, importantly, Harris believes the winger, after a frustrating few months, is playing with a smile on his face once again.

"You're seeing a lad who, now, is playing with a smile on his face," Harris said after the win.

"It's the first time I've seen Mendy coming back from lockdown looking so hungry, so fit, a smile on his face every day. He has just got the freedom to go out and play.

"Sometimes, when you've been through a tough injury period, then you need a break just to take stock and realise what a great life we have got, doing the job we do and dreamt of doing as a kid.

"He has just come back fresh and is a joy to have around the place."

That certainly bodes well moving forward.

The free WalesOnline Cardiff City WhatsApp service and how to sign up

If you're reading this on your mobile and want to sign up for all Cardiff City updates from WalesOnline so you don't miss a thing, open this link, hit send and save our number to your phone's contacts as: WalesOnline Bluebirds.

Alternatively, send BLUEBIRDS to 07880 164693 in WhatsApp. Then save the number to your phone's contacts as: WalesOnline Bluebirds

Your phone number will never be shared with any other users, nor will it be used for marketing purposes.

For more information on signing up, you can read more here.

A glimpse of that old Lee Tomlin magic again

Of course, it was Mendez-Laing and Robert Glatzel who took the headlines as the super subs, given they scored the two crucial late goals, but another replacement showed us a glimpse of his quality once again.

Lee Tomlin has had his own battle to get back to full fitness following a training-ground injury to his knee back in February.

It was thought Tomlin would take longer to get back to his full sharpness and that maybe has proved to be the case.

But, up at Deepdale, he showed he still possesses the key to unlock defences. Yes, Mendez-Laing did tremendously well to burst through the defence and slot past Declan Rudd, but it was Tomlin who produced a beautifully-weighted, disguised pass to put him into the space and on track for the penalty area.

And Preston manager Alex Neil knew the danger Tomlin possesses in those boots of his, returning from injury or not.

"The second goal is just really, really poor defending on our part," Lilywhites boss Neil said after the match.

"It gets worked into Tomlin and we should be tight, stop him playing that sort of square pass for Mendez-Laing."

In fairness, Tomlin has earned that sort of respect across the league for his performances this year.

The unexpected knock-on effect from Brad Smith's signing

While we can all wax lyrical about the verve and energy of the City attack in recent weeks, the team's defence has been superb.

A clean sheet against Leeds is no mean feat, while conceding only one against another top-six rival in Preston away from home is not to be sniffed at, either.

Sean Morrison was superb up at Deepdale, so, too, was Curtis Nelson, who has been the breakthrough star of the season for many.

Dion Sanderson, still the shiny new toy, has also rightly garnered lots of praise for his performances since joining from Wolves on deadline day back in January.

But across the other side of the backline, there has been a lift in performances.

It has felt like a real slog for Joe Bennett this year. He has been picked every single match he has been available, which, in the Championship, is an arduous and tiresome task.

It looked as though he was running on fumes back in January, no doubt the reasoning behind Neil Harris signing Brad Smith on loan from Bournemouth.

But while we thought the Australia international would ease the burden on Bennett, step in and take some of the slack, it has served only to ignite the fire in the left-back's stomach.

Tom Barkhuizen started well for the hosts up at Deepdale and Bennett also gifted a sloppy pass early on which set up a Preston chance.

But, testament to him, the defender grew into the game and reasserted himself over on the left flank.

We have not seen him at his marauding best going forward as often as we would have liked this term, but since Smith was recruited, it's fair to say Bennett has stepped up his game to another level.

Read More
  • Cardiff City notes: The transfer with an unexpected bonus, the star playing with a smile again and a glimpse of the old magic news 第1张 Cardiff City and Nottingham Forest come to impasse over Albert Adomah contract as Neil Harris hits out at EFL
Read More
  • Cardiff City notes: The transfer with an unexpected bonus, the star playing with a smile again and a glimpse of the old magic news 第2张 Neil Harris' high praise for Cardiff City goalscorer Robert Glatzel as selection dilemma looms ahead of Charlton clash

Why Cardiff City's squad depth plays to their strengths

There are still seven games to go, of course, but with each passing fixture, there is a growing feeling that the Bluebirds' squad depth has a big part to play moving forward.

For Harris to have the luxury of calling upon Tomlin, Glatzel, Mendez-Laing and Marlon Pack is invaluable, while the likes of Neil Etheridge, Aden Flint and Danny Ward wait patiently on the bench. Sol Bamba didn't even travel!

It speaks volumes about the quality, and depth of it, within this squad and you just feel that will be vital when the season hits crunch point.

“We showed good character after Preston equalised to go and win the game ourselves," said Joe Ralls, the scorer of Cardiff's first goal against Preston.

“To a man, subs included, it was a really good team performance and a great way to keep building on the win over Leeds.

“We’ve got such a good squad and the lads on the pitch give absolutely everything. If you do run out of gas, you know the boys can come on to replace you.

“We’re going to need everyone in the squad for the rest of the season, so hopefully that continues.”

Cardiff City notes: The transfer with an unexpected bonus, the star playing with a smile again and a glimpse of the old magic news 第3张Robert Glatzel has scored twice off the bench in the last two games (Image: Getty Images)

Are we finally seeing a change in style?

This Cardiff City side just seem to be so flexible and it is bearing fruit at the moment.

They are lauded for just how comfortable they are without possession, but against Preston they showed a maturity and composure, in horrendous conditions, with the lion's share of possession, which is a rarity for this side.

Under Neil Warnock, it's fair to say the style of football was far more direct than under Harris.

The midfield have a far more pronounced role with the ball under the incumbent manager and the likes of Will Vaulks, Leandro Bacuna, Pack and Ralls have all played their parts and adjusted their games accordingly.

It's not Barcelona football, no one expected it to be, but it could mean that we are finally seeing that little evolution in the brand of football being played.

Possession was equal between the two sides up at Deepdale, which hasn't happened too often this season, and the manner in which Cardiff used the ball certainly pleased the manager.

"We are trying to adjust," Harris said after the match. "I'm really pleased about some of our passing moves and the way we moved the ball.

"Some of our play was outstanding and it got us into some really good areas.

"Did we quite have that killer instinct in the final third? Maybe we did in the last half hour, but that's testament to Preston's defensive stability as well.

"I was really pleased with the way we played."

本文地址:http://wisinfrared.com/post/390.html
版权声明:本文为原创文章,版权归 admin 所有,欢迎分享本文,转载请保留出处!

 发表评论


表情

还没有留言,还不快点抢沙发?