For Cardiff City, this season will be remembered for all the wrong reasons but there could still be a happy ending come May. Two successive wins against the backdrop of tragedy have given the Bluebirds some hope that instant relegation back to the Championship can be avoided.
With the season now heading towards it’s final throes, Cardiff boss Neil Warnock is using all his years of guile and experience to retain the club’s Premier League status in what must be extremely difficult circumstances.
Until a few weeks ago, the Welsh club were merrily conducting January transfer window business and the capture of striker Emiliano Sala from French club Nantes, the man seen as the answer to a poor goal scoring record and giving the club every chance to stay up. But, with the deal done and dusted, Sala became the focus but unfortunately not on the football field.
Club Statement (07/02/19): https://t.co/ib8zJfWzvC
Forever in our thoughts 💙
— Cardiff City FC (@CardiffCityFC) February 7, 2019
The awful reasons surrounding the tragedy will live long in the memories of all fans around the world, and Bluebirds supporters will never get to see Sala wearing their shirt. For the club itself, having come through some difficult weeks there is focus once again, to honour Sala’s memory by getting enough points to avoid the bottom three come the end of the season.
Last weekend’s last gasp win over fellow strugglers Southampton, lifted Cardiff just outside the relegation zone and at the same time dragged themselves closer to those just a few places further up the table. Besides Burnley and Crystal Palace, everyone else around Cardiff are struggling with indifferent form and Warnock’s men must take advantage over the next four games in which they face mid table teams in each one and three of these matches they have home advantage.
What is against the Bluebirds is the lack of goals and a poor goal difference compared with the other clubs fighting to stay up, these three home games coming up could well define where their season will end up. As mentioned, scoring goals are certainly a problem with Bobby De Cordova-Reid and Callum Patterson sharing four goals each the reliance is going to be on clean sheets and pinching a goal here and there, but Warnock’s side have only shut out teams twice since the turn of the year so the opposition know there is a good chance they will pick up a goal or two.
Fourteen points will more than likely be enough from twelve games providing they can pick up those points from the teams around them, many of which they have still to play and every year there is one team who go from looking safe from the troubles below to getting drawn into the scrap for survival, and with Fulham and Huddersfield looking like they already need snookers Cardiff will be hoping they are the lucky ones to get a shot at another Premier League season.
In Warnock the club have one of the most experienced managers still in the game and he will know it can take every ounce of effort from his players to ensure the Bluebirds are proudly flying the Welsh flag amongst England’s elite.
Article by Trevor Knell