It’s time for part three of our Player Reports for 2018/19 and that means it’s the wingers who come under the microscope this time.
Scott Salter runs the rule over the likes of Junior Hoilett, Josh Murphy and Kadeem Harris.
It’s fair to say that Junior Hoilett was one of Cardiff’s leading men last year, picking up the players’ player of the year award during the promotion campaign. 2018/19 has been a tough season for Hoilett, though, who has struggled to step up to the pace of the Premier League.
That goal against Wolves. The 2-1 win against Wolves was a big moment in Cardiff City’s season and in Hoilett’s too. Up until that point, Hoilett had struggled and a fair few fans were growing frustrated with him. Hoilett smashed Cardiff’s winner into the top corner and it served as a reminder of Hoilett’s qualities, with Josh Murphy playing the role of the leading winger in the opening months of the campaign.
The 3-0 loss to Everton was a disappointing game for Cardiff City and Junior Hoilett was one of the poorer performers on the day. He conceded possession before Everton’s first-half goal and failed to track back, which to be fair is unlike Hoilett. A bad day at the office for the Canadian.
Rating – C+
Cardiff’s new signing from Norwich started the season on fire and looked like he could have a massive impact on Cardiff’s season. Sadly, Murphy’s inconsistencies were a big problem and, while he could beat any defender on his day, he spent too long out of games at times.
The early months of the season were positive and productive from Murphy. In the opening few games, he embarrassed plenty of right-backs and caused a fair few to be substituted at half-time. He was Cardiff’s best player against Newcastle. His first goal for the club was a great moment too, in the 2-1 loss to Burnley.
As mentioned, there were plenty of games in which Murphy was poor or ineffective, but his worst moment by far was being called out by manager Neil Warnock for being poor in training. It resulted in Murphy being dropped for the Fulham game – although that was arguably a poor decision from Warnock with Cardiff looking toothless in a game where they needed a win.
Rating – B-
The winger seems to be solar powered – he performs way better at the start and end of the season. Mendez-Laing endured an up and down campaign, with an injury early on forcing him to miss a number of months early on in the season.
Scoring a brace at Old Trafford is a dream come true for many players and it was a long way from League One with Rochdale for NML. His final few months of the season have been really good, with Mendez-Laing scoring some crucial goals, including in the win away at Brighton.
Coming off injured after just ten minutes against Huddersfield in Cardiff’s second game was a blow. It caused Mendez-Laing to miss a number of games and it blunted Cardiff’s attacking threat.
Rating – B-
In many ways, Kadeem Harris reminded Cardiff fans of his ability this season. He came from the unknown to offer a threat to Cardiff at times. I like Harris, he’s direct and causes a constant threat, but it’s hard to see him being happy with a continued lack of playing time.
While Harris scored his first Premier League goal in the win against Fulham, his man of the match performance against Brighton at the Cardiff City Stadium was outstanding. Harris’ pace was a constant threat to Brighton and he set up Callum Paterson’s goal.
In the 1-0 loss against Everton at the CCS, Harris was given the nod ahead of Murphy and Hoilett and it was a big chance for him to impress. Sadly, he was largely a passenger and has struggled for game time since then.
Rating – C
Let us know what you thought by Tweeting us @VFTNinian. Part four: Strikers coming tomorrow.
Scott is a lifelong Cardiff City fan and freelance football writer. Scott hosts the VFTN podcast.