From a previous article’s analysis (written by me) on Cardiff’s summer transfer dealings:
“Neil Warnock has worked his magic again, just as he did last summer. He has brought in quality for little money. They have obviously learnt their lessons from their last season in the Premier League when they spent big and struggled throughout. However, one issue is that the squad as a whole lacks Premier League experience, and that is something that I feel they should have looked. Their weekend result highlights this, as Bobby Reid playing upfront, when he is more of an attacking midfielder not a striker, shows a lack of Premier League firepower and experience and because of this they may struggle this season, but they will still cause problems for other teams this year.”
Unfortunately, this small problem of their transfers being players that have not played in the Premier League ever (aside from Josh Murphy who got a couple of games when Norwich were in the Premier League a few seasons ago) is proving to be their downfall at the moment. They have learnt from their lessons when they spent big, but they definitely didn’t buy the right players I don’t think. Their squad is made up of freebies and loan signings, with the odd player who cost a lot of money, but otherwise captain Sean Morrison spent one season in the Premier League with Reading, Harry Arter is the player with the most experience, currently on loan from Bournemouth, and Aron Gunnarson, Junior Hoilett and Anthony Pilkington are the only other players in their entire squad to have played significantly in the top division. Put simply, it is a Championship squad that hasn’t been added to in the right way.
It showed, unfortunately, in their result against Manchester City, which ended 5-0 to the defending champions, that this lack of experience is going to be a major problem for them this season. They had no defensive strength and looked very short on quality at both ends of the pitch to be honest. It is true that this game was never going to be a fair match for them, but Manchester City just cut ribbons through them with their slick passing, and some of the goals were almost Sunday League style. The Sky Blues just seemed to pass ably through the Cardiff ranks like a knife through butter, and if there was any sort of a game plan, then it went to pot inside half an hour, and Sergio Aguero scored the first of the five goals on 32 minutes to prove that point. I mentioned in my article that they would still cause problems, and they will, but in some matches they just don’t seem to be quite there in terms of a definite game plan, even if that game plan is to defend with 11 behind the ball.
All I am trying to do here is not to justify Cardiff’s lack of experience, nor to criticise them for their hammering at the hands of Pep Guardiola’s defending champions, as realistically it was always going to be a case of damage limitation for the Bluebirds, but simply to try and explain why they are struggling so much this season. Their next game, at home to Burnley, who got back to winning ways this weekend against Bournemouth, becomes surely now a must-win game for them if they want to start the turnaround in form now. January will be also be a big month for them, because to have any hope of staying in the top flight, they need to re-jig their transfer policy and bring in Premier League quality in all areas of the pitch.