Welcome to the final part of our player reports for 2018-19. Charlie Cottrell casts his eye over Cardiff City’s forwards.
The big yin Mr Paterson, our buckfast-swilling cartoon character of a right-back turned centre forward, was perhaps our best attacking outlet for large portions of the season. Says a lot really, considering he’s a right back. Despite his limitations, Paterson strove to give the people what they wanted: 110%, and a wicked Movember moustache.
As the rain belted down on a cold December eve beneath the lights, sodden City fans watched on as Paterson picked up on a fatal back-pass error by Southampton centre-back Jannik Vestergaard. Our man swatted the Dane away like a petulant child and then, after allowing himself time to think up his next Fortnite celebration, bundled it past the keeper from ten yards out in what was a key 1-0 victory.
A nasty ankle injury incurred on international duty for Scotland cut short what was a pretty fun season for Paterson. With no more opportunity to wiggle his hips and throw his arms around in some ridiculous fashion, Cardiff and indeed the Premier League had one of their box office showmen pulled from the show prematurely. A real shame, but no doubt he’ll bounce back.
Rating – B+
On the peripheries for pretty much the entire season, Zohore only clocked ninety minutes twice throughout the 2018/19 Premier League campaign. Some could argue he wasn’t given a fair crack, others might say he’s lazy and/or not good enough. All things considered, I’d probably sit on the fence and say both sides have got a point.
His ninety-plus-something-ridiculous stoppage time winner against Southampton was cause for some of the most hectic away limbs Cardiff City fans have enjoyed in recent years. Snatching a six-pointer at a crucial time in the season saw Ken proclaiming “I’m back!” to the crazed frenzy of away fans, and as the coolest man in the ground he really did appear to have cracked his breakthrough moment. Shame.
The first half of the season was extremely disappointing. The chances he was given he really didn’t take, and in many ways his presence was the Yang to the big Yin of Paterson; he really didn’t look arsed a lot of the time, and if Cardiff fans love one thing, it’s a trier. Talk about not playing to the crowd.
Rating – D
I’m an enormous advocate of Bobby Reid. I’ve argued nail and tooth over him, but ultimately this season just wasn’t his time. He didn’t fit Warnock’s system, but the opportunities he was given I felt he took pretty well. Five goals and two assists in 27 appearances, with 11 of those from the bench. Here’s hoping he’s a key feature next season – surely a dead-cert with lovely, lovely Camarasa out of the picture.
Two goals in a 2-0 victory against Bournemouth in what was an emotionally charged occasion, the first home game since the tragedy of Emiliano Sala. Several of his goals this season showcased his predatory ability to play off the last man, and his second goal against Bournemouth was a fine example. The boy’s got wings.
I think City fans’ accumulated frustration over Reid came to a head during our away tie with Fulham. About as must-win as a game gets, Reid sat on the bench and watched on as Warnock opted for Rhys Healey as the key, game-changing substitution. Giving Reid three measly minutes at the end would no doubt have added insult to injury. With all due respect to Healey, he was playing in League Two for the first part of the season. One can only imagine what was going through Reid’s head at that point. I’m not sure what more he had to do to get a game.
Rating – A-
Truly an enigma of our beloved game, I found it hard to decipher whether Niasse was a good signing in January due to the bizarre mixture of Everton fans’ online reactions. Would he be a donkey, or would he run his socks off for us? With the dust settled, the best analysis I saw of Oumar was that he’s really difficult to second-guess as a defender because he has absolutely no idea what he’s going to do next. Ever.
He started off with some promising performances, running hard and causing defenders all sorts of grief with his pace and unpredictability. Against West Ham, he almost scored a couple of great goals and was a real headache for their centre-backs. The problem there though, I’m afraid, is almost.
Time after time, Niasse failed to deliver what is asked of any striker: goals. Ironically, whilst his performance against West Ham was in parts great, it was his lack of finishing that stood out. One howler in particular, the clichéd ‘he’d done all the hard work!’ sort of chance where he put the ball not in the back of the net, but in the back of the Canton Stand, was abysmal. It was perhaps at this point that thirty-thousand Cardiff fans, and possible Oumar himself, surmised that he couldn’t score a goal for Cardiff City if he were the only player on the whole pitch. A worse finisher than the Game of Thrones writers.
Rating – E
Proprietor of one of the most amusing fan chants (‘Daddy Cool’ – innovative and fun, props to the OG who got this one going), Ward rarely mustered a look-in this season. Various injuries kept him sidelined, but it’s difficult to fault his dogged effort and at times he looked like a player with goals in him.
A goal against Arsenal in the early knockings of the season, in what was one of the most entertaining games of the 2018/19 campaign. Despite losing 3-2, Cardiff twice equalised, with Ward’s perfect header wrapping up a delicious set-piece in the August sun and sending the CCS into a whirlwind of joyous mayhem. A genuinely golden moment.
Little to choose from here, really. Watched on helplessly as the Manchester City robot machines dissected us in the pissing-down rain, though this was no doubt a low point for us all.
I feel a bit sorry for Rhys Healey. He’s definitely a talented kid, and was thriving in League Two before coming back to Cardiff in January. It’s not his fault that Warnock fed him to the dogs, but ultimately there’s only so long we can continue to defend the exposure of his boyish qualities in the man’s world of the Premier League. He’s twenty-four now, older than Josh Murphy and the same age as Paterson. Not cut out for the top flight, and Neil should’ve known better.
Despite the lack of end product, it’s great to see an academy player come through the ranks and play for Cardiff in the top flight. His finest moments this season weren’t with the Bluebirds, though. He bagged eight goals and three assists in eighteen games for MK Dons in League Two.
Bearing the brunt of Cardiff fans’ dismay as he entered the Fulham game instead of Bobby Reid. An unforgivable move from Warnock, and whilst Healey ran around trying to seem useful he looked affected by the frosty reception and was bullied around by what was undoubtedly a shoddy Fulham defence.
Rating – E