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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cardiff Calling....

After the heady news this week it comes as a bit of a surprise that we have to return to playing football and although players will often say that boardroom issues never affect them, perhaps we are about to find out what impact the arrival of sackloads of money will make to our performance. Perhaps someone should dress up as a sheikh to encourage the team to find their best form.
So its off to Ninian Park, where last season we won 2-0 back in the distant days of December 2007, to continue our good record against the Bluebirds and to complete the double over them after the win at the Valley the month before, and when automatic promotion was the foreseeable aim. With 11 wins in 30 League games there, and with 14 defeats and 5 draws its one of the best places to visit for the Addicks. We've been there 8 times since the heavy 1-6 defeat in 1971, and won 4, drawn 1 and lost the remaining 3, scoring 13 goals in the process.
And with our defence keeping a clean sheet for the first 25 minutes in every one of our 10 games, we face a team with the third best defensive record in the fizzies and equally determined not to give a goal away, that appear to save themselves till the end and have therefore scored 5 of their 11 goals in the last ten minutes. With only one defeat in the 10 games - a home loss, 1-2, to top of the table Birmingham - and unbeaten away from home with 1 victory and 4 draws, they disappoint at home with only 2 wins, 2 draws and that one defeat.
They have a couple of players getting the goals number 44 McCormack and one Jay Bothroyd who have formed the strike force for the last three games. Both scored in their last home game, a 2-1 win over high-flying Coventry, and although that was McCormack seventh of the season it was the first from Bothroyd. Scottish born McCormack is only 22 and has already played, and scored, in the Champions League with Rangers before he moved on to Motherwell. They also have Irish international Stephen McPhail and Stepney boy and ex-Orient Darren Purse in the squad.
As for the Addicks, what can we expect on this the dawn of a new era? Well, Weaver will be in goal and Varney will be up front and Mark Hudson and Linvoy Primus will handle the defence. As for our other core member, Nick Bailey, injured against Ipswich, nothing has been heard and the half-time substitution of Jonjo Shelvey against the Gills this week could be a sign that he'll feature at Ninian in his place. And perhaps Pards will be even more conservative, putting in Holland in a 4-5-1.
Youga, Ambrose, ZiZi and Bouazza all played the full 90 last time out and will all probably start. And after his stirring second-half against Ipswich, Jose Semedo will surely get the nod over Cranie.
Team: Weaver, Semedo, Hudson, Primus, Youga; Ambrose, ZiZi, Shelvey, Bouazza; Todorov, Varney.
Prediction: Strangely enough five of the best six forecasters on cafcpicks foresaw a defeat when mapping out our future - the other saw a draw - and this even after last seasons double. But will the appearance of the Emirs money make a difference or will we draw 0-0 as forecast by most. And will we fail to win two in a row since that memorable 3-1 win over Ipswich last December which, of course, followed the 2-0 win at Ninian Park.
Of course, anyone who's been around here for any length of time will tell you that after the good news this week it'll be typical form for the Addicks to lose 0-2 or something. Given Cardiff's record this year, a draw would be a good result and I can't see Pards sticking his neck out to win it, for a defeat at this moment wouldn't be good news for him so expect a stalemate with honours even, 0-0 probably.

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