As Aron Gunnarsson is Cardiff’s only World Cup attendee – though I do take some glee from Cornelius being there – we thought we’d watch how his stock rises and falls in a feature called ‘Is he Gunnar move?’
With his contract almost up in Cardiff, I don’t think any Cardiff fans begrudge him the opportunity to try and make a move elsewhere. By the same token, we all would love him to stay.
Argentina is quite the team to make a World Cup debut against, especially when coming back from an injury. But Aron seems to carry the hopes and dreams of the Icelandic fans across his shoulders. And he revels in it.
First half verdict
Iceland were very much under the cosh for the first 45 minutes. Penned back in their own half for much of the game meant that Gunnarsson had a job to do defensively rather than offensively. But he kept things ticking over with simple passes and he kept the ball moving for Iceland. He does the simple things well and he rarely gave the ball away and launched a few attacks with quick thinking. A couple of key defensive moments – one being a great tackle to stop Messi in his tracks and a few long throws added up to a solid if unspectacular 45 for Aron. One thing you can see though is his leadership and prospective employers will look at how he talks to other players and leads by example.
Aron would be forgiven for not being his all-action self after several weeks without football. Once again, Argentina dominated proceedings but Aron was never out of position and kept his defence protected well. A couple of misplaced long throws were outweighed by two great stops on Messi. He seemed to have the Argentine number 10 marshalled pretty well and he didn’t let him out of his sight.
Overall, his stock may have risen after his 75 minutes against one of the better teams. He didn’t crack under sustained pressure, he kept things moving and orchestrated his back four and midfield four expertly. Is he Gunnar leave? At this stage, it’s probably Gunnar happen.