Bluebirds don't have quality to survive

Wednesday 12th February 2014 10:05

Fraizer Campbell: Sees a chance go begging

Fraizer Campbell: Sees a chance go begging

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Cardiff FanZoner Ivor Castle fears City don't have enough quality to avoid relegation, despite the encouraging display against Aston Villa.

Cardiff are doomed!

Not because we failed to win this vital home game against Aston Villa but because there simply isn't enough Premier League quality in the team to save them, they are doomed.

The first half on Tuesday night against Aston Villa was excellent and the play incisive at times but the manner in which that dropped off in the second half was due to Villa's, stronger and superior players.

Once again it took two miraculous saves from David Marshall just to hold on to a point that by the end of 90 minutes we just didn't deserve. Despite Fraizer Campbell and Craig Noone each hitting the woodwork in the first period, there wasn't enough quality in the final third to win.

The central-defensive partnership of Steven Caulker and Ben Turner may have played their best games for City on Tuesday evening but they did so against forwards more of their liking in Gabriel Agbonlahor and Christian Benteke. Though both are very useful Premier League players they did not provide the kind of tricky interplay that causes the most problems for the Cardiff central duo.

At full-back Kevin Theophile-Catherine was better than Fabio has been and Declan John continues to learn. I have to say once again the visitors, like so many other teams, were distinctly targeting the flanks as the Bluebirds' weakness. I lost count of the number of crosses Villa got into the Cardiff box and it was thanks only to Turner and Caulker that we survived most of them.

In the central midfield it was a shame to lose Jordan Mutch and while Magnus Wolff Eikrem played sensible football on his introduction and showed some nice passing, the physical presence was missing.

Wilfried Zaha faded again and it's to be hoped he will eventually get match fit and put in a full shift. He is better coming off the bench against tiring defenders than starting. Maybe David Moyes isn't so stupid after all!

Kenwyne Jones does give a different option but he will continue to be a frustrating figure while there is no one else to imitate his whether he is a starting forward or a game changer from the bench.

Mats Moeller Daehli showed some spirit and confidence but he did look small and underpowered against the Villa defenders. He lacks pace and this is why he must be considered a project for the future. His touch and ability is undeniable but how best to use him will be the key.

You can add Craig Noone to the ever growing list of players who are not quite Premier League class despite some excellent first half effort.

Fraizer Campbell is a goal or two short of being dangerous and while he is not the lethal or powerful forward most Premier League teams need, with the right support and as one of a front two he shows enough to suggest he can be a useful player over the course of a different season than this one.

I expect Ollie Gunnar Solksjaer to start Juan Cala on Saturday in the FA Cup and probably rest his full-backs as well. He might even rest Caulker. This would leave a start for Joe Lewis as how could Solksjaer even think of playing David Marshall should he get injured.

I think we will see Whittingham and Kim return in midfield along with Gunnarsson with Eikrem perhaps holding his place. Surely Jo Inge Berget will start up top with Zaha who needs match play also in the line-up. Daehli should get a run out as well.

What this all points to is a distinctly understrength Cardiff team probably exiting the FA Cup come Saturday evening.

By Ivor Castle, FanZone's Cardiff City blogger. Follow @FanZone on Twitter

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