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Ole out of his depth

Cardiff City Apr 7, 2014
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A mess on and off the field

Cardiff City Mar 4, 2014
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Feb 15, 2014

Cup holders Lactics humble Premier League Bluebirds

A surprisingly good crowd of over 17,000 saw Cardiff City stumble to a 2 - 1 home defeat against Wigan Athletic and crash out of the FA Cup.

Wigan might be the FA Cup holders but they are a side playing in The Championship and it was alarming just how little effort they needed to put into their defending to keep Cardiff from getting a result of out the game.

The old cliche of now being able to concentrate on the League is little comfort to a home crowd starved of wins at Cardiff City Stadium this season. The FA Cup could have been a bright light in a first Premier League season that looks like being wrecked by the amazing naivety and poor decision making from the people who run the club.

The life and energy is being sucked out of the supporters who have waited a lifetime to see the club at the top level.

Fans have turned up in their numbers all season and have produced amazing away support. They deserve a better club, one that doesn't air it's dirty laundry in public, one that shows class in its dealings with crucial issues, one that listens to the concerns of the supporters, one without owners tampering with its history, a club they can be proud of.

Unfortunately the passionate fans, the ones who go week in week out, the ones who still support despite all the nonsense off the field are having their enthusiasm eroded. What happens on the pitch just doesn't seem to matter as much anymore.

It's a shame the club appears to revel in causing rifts rather than trying to unite support and the supporters.

Back on the pitch the crowd gave a rousing minute’s applause before kick off to football legend Sir Tom Finney who passed away on Friday, aged 91.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made changes and brought in his three Norwegian signings and there was a rare start for Andrew Taylor at left back. New defender Juan Cala started alongside Steve Caulker in front of David Marshall.

Cardiff enjoyed long periods of possession in the first half but for all their passing across the back and in an out of midfield he chances in front of goal were limited. Striker Jo Inge Berget was anonymous and I fail to see how he can even be considered for Premier League place.

In midfield Magnus Wolff Eikrem was OK, but just OK. Peter Whittingham, who was not in the squad at all for the second game running, offers far more. The one gem from Solskjaer’s Norweigian trio is 18-year-old Mats Moller Daehli. He needed better quality support from the players around him but he is an exciting player to watch.

Wigan were content to let Cardiff play and then strike when the chance arose. Slack defending in the right back area allowed Jordi Gomez to cross for Chris McCann to score unopposed.

Cardiff were level soon after when Fraizer Campbell poked the ball home after a goal mouth scramble and Campbell nearly put City ahead when Wilfried Zaha's deflected cross sat up for Campbell to head over.

It was Wigan who took the lead again. Cala was unfortunate to give away a free kick 30 yards out and when the ball was touched to Ben Watson, the man who scored Wigan's goal to win the FA Cup last season, he rifled it past Marshall from distance.

Another goalmouth scramble on the stroke of half time saw City almost level but the ball went for an unproductive corner.

The second half was more like an exercise in attacking and defending with Cardiff given ample opportunity to get the ball forward looking for an equaliser. There was little quality in the final third and for all the step overs and tricks from Zaha and the jinking runs from Dhaeli there was a lack of quality delivery into the box.

Craig Noone came on in the second half and immediately looked more of a threat and one effort from Noone produced a rare save from Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi.

Campbell ran his socks off but was starved of quality supply and I thought the man of the match choice, for Cardiff, was between Cala or Dhaeli. Cala looks like a decent footballing defender rather than a clogger and he ended the game as a makeshift centre forward as Cardiff became more desperate and launched long balls into the box.

Dhaeli is a very tricky midfielder who likes to skip in and around the opposition while he looks for the incisive pass or cross. Sadly the delivery was lacking against Wigan.

The side made too many passes and where they may have been effective with a one or two pass move forward they ended up making a dozen passes in and out of defensive and midfield before losing possession or ending up exactly where they started.

With the cup run over it’s back to the Premier League. Cardiff have twelve games to save their season.

Ironically the next match is against Hull City, the other club in the Premier League with an owner hell bent of trampling over the fans and his clubs history by applying to change its name to Hull Tigers.

Two clubs, two wealthy owners, both have delivered Premier League football yet both have little or no respect from their fans because of their dictatorial behaviour.

Follow Mike Morris on Twitter at @cardiffcitymad