Three losses in a row, a lot of goals conceded, and Cardiff City are staring down the barrel. Nothing new there. Cardiff City fell apart at the Olympic Stadium despite having a good opening 35 minutes. West Ham are one of those teams; they’ve grown into the season and should be too much for us. But they are also prone to hitting the self-destruct button from time-to-time…
Cardiff City vs. West Ham United
Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff
9th March 2019, 3pm (GMT)
Referee: Graham Scott
Potential Starting XI
And three things to look out for.
A defensive shuffle. Sol Bamba’s injury is a blow. Of course it is. Our defence looked very sturdy with him and Manga as the central duo. Now, we’re looking at a rusty Morrison alongside Manga with A.N.Other at right back. Peltier is likely to start but that leaves us with Jazz Richards as back-up – a player who deserves more of a chance, frankly. On paper, it’s not bad. But we’re one injury away from disaster.
A change in system. Warnock went for broke against Wolves and it failed dramatically. Wolves played us on the counter attack to perfection, racing into a two goal lead, completely neutralising our threat. One would assume Neil will revert to normality against West Ham – and I would keep Zohore in ahead of Niasse, and bring Paterson and Murphy in on the wings.
Arter back in the trenches. We need a big performance at home. Our fixture list is bitty over the coming weeks due to rearranged games and international breaks. Our next two games are listed as Chelsea and Man City – though the latter will change. The fans will be looking to the players to work hard, get stuck in, and give West Ham a shock. Arter, while his goals and assists column are low, brings that edge that we sometimes lack. Bringing him back in alongside Gunnar and Victor could be the foundation for a win.
West Ham players to watch out for
West Ham have a number of players that make me nervous. Felipe Anderson is pretty rapid. Snodgrass is less quick but has a wand of a left foot. Javier Hernandez scores goals. Lanzini has just returned. It’s hard to pick out a particular player across the board, they have a group of players who make me anxious.
But if I was to pick out one, it’s Declan Rice. No offence to Mark Noble, but Declan seems to be the next generation of Noble. Hard working, great football intelligence, and has the grit about him to succeed. He seems integral to all West Ham do well and shackling him will be a job for Gunnar. If we let him free for a few minutes, he’s going to punish us.
Best case result
After a dismal run, Cardiff have to win. There’s no two ways about it and the fans will be expecting a big performance at home. This feels like the Bournemouth game. It’s there for the taking, if we turn up. Warnock will be reliant on Morrison, Zohore, Victor, and whoever else he brings in, to put in a big performance. If they do, Cardiff will win 2-1.
Worst case result
A fourth straight loss. We contrive to lose a few more players to injury. Zohore misses a sitter. The crowd gets on the players backs. 0-3