Cardiff City 2 (Hoilett 35, Glatzel 71
Leeds United 0
Oh for crying out loud Leeds! We were supposed to come out firing on all cylinders today, we would be fitter than any other side and raring to go they said! Well, yeah we were, but we were also conveniently forgetting that this Leeds side is not perfect, far from it, and, if we were told beforehand we would lose this game we could all have predicted exactly how it would happen.
We have two issues, two issues that we have all known about all season but two issues that, largely don’t impact us too badly.
The first issue is that our defence and indeed our defending is not actually that strong. People point to how few goals we concede and that we were on a run of conceding just one in our last five games. But that hides the real facts. We don’t concede many because we always dominate the possession of the football, put simply, we don’t give the opposition many chances to hurt us because they are fully occupied trying to stop us. When we do though we typically give away bad goals; a sloppy pass is lurking in most of our back four, a goalkeeper clanger, a bad tackle giving a penalty away, any or all of the above. And so it was again today, two sloppy passes and Cardiff were clinical in the extreme in punishing us. Two goals they scored from only 7 attempts; what they have though is blokes who know where the goal is! We don’t!
And that’s our second issue, and one that no one can deny. We are one of the poorest teams in the Championship for finishing our own chances. Yet again today we had 17 attempts and yet only a paltry 3 hit the target – and that ignores countless poor final balls that ought to have resulted in even more shots. Put simply, for all our domination of games we just don’t score the number of goals we should. Usually we do manage to find one, yet in only three of our last 16 games have we managed to score more than a single goal. When we add that problem to the first one, it means that any of those defensive mistakes we make can, now and again, mean we don’t have the wherewithal to counter them and we’ll lose the game. Our team makes so many chances that it is a crying shame we have not had a natural born finisher in the side; whatever Patrick Bamford may or may not be, he is not, has never been, and never will be a prolific taker of chances. With so few options left now though, we must all pray he takes a few over the next eight games.
And that was the story today; Phillips makes a casual blind pass that’s intercepted and Cardiff hit the target and score; Cooper makes a silly casual pass that’s intercepted, one pass, and bang, another great Cardiff strike. If we could strike at goal like that we’d be promoted by now!
Our two issues are always more likely to be costly against the better sides and Cardiff are certainly one of those. To some extent we played right into their hands, into the hands of Neil Harris whose Millwall teams played the same way against us and often got the same rewards. The question now is, can we put a mistake free game together against another good side, Fulham, and nick one of our inevitable bundle of chances. If we can’t, I know a man who will; Aleksandar Mitrović, and that might make the final few games heavy with pressure.
Cardiff City Leeds Utd
Possession 31% 69%
Shots 7 17
On Target 2 3
Corners 2 10
Fouls Committed 17 12