Leandro Bacuna is the worst player I’ve ever seen in my life. Remember that?
Only a few weeks ago, some were going in on Bacuna, as he was left to carry the can for an inauspicious start. Fast forward a month and he is very much back in fashion and our Player of the Month for September.
Neil Warnock would probably agree with us too, feeling the need to single him out for individual praise on Saturday. “He got slaughtered early on in his career for us,” he noted. “They always pick on one don’t they, but he’s been outstanding the last four to five matches,” continued Warnock. “He was my man of the match again today and has been the last few weeks. He covered every blade of grass.”
I knew Bacuna would divide opinion. He always has. He’s not a traditional Cardiff type either. He’s very laid back and appears to amble about, but don’t let that fool you. He may be economical, but he’s sharp enough to make it count. I think Will Vaulks will in time prove to be a fan favourite, but Bacuna is in the side on merit and will take some shifting.
Bacuna seemed a strange choice when he arrived in January, especially on such a lengthy deal, making him the only player at the club that has a contract running through to 2023. His versatility may well have proved his most attractive quality, making him essentially a deluxe Greg Halford. He quickly showed just what he is capable of though.
In the win at Southampton last season, Bacuna emerged from the bench to replace a flagging Aron Gunnarsson and didn’t put a foot wrong. He proved a calm, intelligent presence and helped take the sting out of a game they went on to win. He performed the same function at Brighton with the same result.
The truth is that Cardiff are not really the best fit for Bacuna, rather than the other way round. If Cardiff have aspirations of evolving in to a more aesthetically pleasing side, they need more players like Bacuna, not less. His doubters are starting to warm to his qualities and Cardiff definitely play more football when he is in the side.
Bacuna, like Cardiff, is improving with every game and I don’t think that is a coincidence.
Cardiff’s first goal at Hull was one of the highlights of the season and Bacuna was at the heart of it. Exchanging passes with Marlon Pack on the left, he drove forward and fizzed in a cross that allowed Robert Glatzel to poach a deserved equaliser.
Now that Cardiff have a fully fit selection of midfielders to pick from, they have a wealth of available options. Bacuna is likely one of the first names on the team sheet these days though and his place looks pretty solid going forward. His critics are now gladly eating their words as Cardiff gradually get back on track and creep up the table. Should that continue, everyone wins.