Cardiff City Review: Whoa, Hec! Everything But The Game

Arsenal 2 – 1 Cardiff City

There’s only one place to start this morning and bravo, Hector Bellerin.

The winter chorus of scrapers this morning did little to enthuse me with the news not helping at all. It was cheery stuff; Brexit followed by how we talk about death. Perhaps the latter was a match report of last night at the Emirates? I didn’t hang around to find out. Even this morning’s cuppa lacked lustre; a hint of blandness with nothing else to add.

I genuinely don’t where to start about the match. We won and that’s ultimately all that matters, but my god it was bloody awful. Genuinely turgid and as bad as anything witnessed in the early 1980s on a regular basis. To say it was a functional performance is being kind.

Team changes didn’t help. It was a much-changed side from the one which lost on Friday. Emery was conservative in his choice and that reflected the laboured performance. At some point, I’ll be liberal with praise but I’m not being green. That’s Kermit.

Anyway, we were crap. There’s a lot of concern around about the confused nature of our performances. For the past decade or so, we moaned about the team playing the same way and substitutions you could set your watch by.

Now, we’ve got a coach who adjusts his team to the players available and the opposition. I don’t think Cardiff drew the conservatism of the performance. A back four with Lichtsteiner and Monreal out of position in the centre probably drove that. Knowing we concede at the drop of a hat and a makeshift defence? I’d be cautious.

That said, I don’t understand playing Lichtsteiner and substituting him. In a game like this, surely Jenkinson from the start was the choice?

Mike Dean-ies Us Two Clear Penalties

As Unai acknowledged, Cardiff deserved the lead at half-time. We can argue about ‘a better side’ but we weren’t playing a better side, we played Cardiff. With this squad, I do think there is an element of the players being dragged down to opponents levels rather than imposing themselves from the start.

We can look at one stonewall penalty in the first half, as well as one we might have been given by another referee. Mike Dean was nothing if not even-handed, denying Cardiff a stonewall penalty when Monreal tripped one of their players in the box.

Dean found himself with nowhere to hide for the penalty he did award. A clean line of sight meant when Kolasinac was tripped, the spot kick was the only option. It was that or taking charge of Macclesfield’s game at the weekend. Aubameyang did the business with the penalty.

Dean also did us a favour in booking Lacazette for diving. It wound the Frenchman up and he produced a snarling run from the touchline to drill the ball under the goalkeeper to make it 2 – 0. Game over. Ish.

We contrived to make life uncomfortable for ourselves during injury time. Cardiff scored with a decent finish which used the defender as a shield for the shot. Leno was beaten the minute the ball was struck; Ramsey and Aubameyang contrived to miss a late chance to make it 3 – 1 but there was no damage done.

Guen Will I Learn To Keep My Trap Shut?

Few players come out of a game like this with credit but Lacazette’s work-rate was faultless and he was deservedly Man of the Match. Guendouzi endured the first half, got kicked from pillar to post and a yellow card as he walked off for telling Dean what he thought of him. The second half saw the youngster channel his energies into a positive performance and he deserves credit for that.

As is always observed, he tries to do something positive with the ball every time he receives it and takes risks. Experience will tell him how to gauge quite how risky a pass is.

Away from the match, Denis Suarez is due in London today to finalise his loan move with an option to buy in the summer, according to the Catalan press. He looked thrilled to be saying goodbye to the Champions League in photos yesterday or maybe he just doesn’t like Luis Suarez. Mind you, if the Uruguayan was anywhere near my ear like that, I’d be worried he was about to bite it off.

Christopher Nkunku remains as much a mystery today and for the rest of the season as he was when he first surfaced in transfer rumours. His agent reckons a deal with PSG is unlikely. So who else could form the second wideboy we’re chasing but Yannick Carrasco? A loan deal is more likely than one for Ivan Perisic as Inter are playing hardball and demanding an obligation to buy.

The shenanighans ends tomorrow and we can start praying that the walking wounded heal by Sunday.

’til Tomorrow.

65 thoughts on “Cardiff City Review: Whoa, Hec! Everything But The Game

  1. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    Great post YW and an accurate reflection of the game. Can’t wait for this window to shut tomorrow

  2. Ras says:

    That was the worst first half of Football under Emery I’ve seen.

  3. Alex Ice Cream says:

    Guendouzi Man of the Match for me by a distance. Laca second.

    Gwen is a super talent. This kid has everything – I loved him barking at Leno for not calling for a free kick. At £7m he is the signing of the season. He was stull buzzing about in injury time and putting himself on the line. Our best young player since Cesc.

    The brightest spark of the season.

  4. Noon Gunner says:

    Alex Ice Cream,

    With you there on Guendouzi, Alex. Having him, Torriera and Lacazette in the side (and later Iwobi), taking the fight to the opposition over and over, gave me respite from the gnawing sense of parts not making a whole that YW so eloquently calls “the confused nature of our performances” these days. I’m deflated by this season’s deeper-than-hoped-for woes, but not depressed – yet.

  5. Bill says:

    Accurate review yogi

    It was must win game and we won. Thankfully it was Mike Dean or we might have been behind. The idea that he is anti-Arsenal has always been ridiculous. However, the fans will all conveniently forget what happened yesterday.

    Anytime you start both Elneny and Ozil together in midfield there is always going to be a risk of turgid ball possession tippy tappy football. Elneny has always been Denilson-like and Ozil has morphed into that sort of player as his ability to influence the game has faded with age. Thankfully Emery subbed off Elneny at halftime and hopefully he learned his lesson and won’t start both of them again.

  6. Bill says:

    I can understand why you would have Elneny on the bench since he is versatile and can play fullback or center back in an emergency and does not hurt the team defensively. Realistically there is no good reason to have either Elneny or Ozil on the pitch other then in emergency. Same is probably true of Lichtensteiner.

  7. Totteridge man says:

    A laboured win, but a win nonetheless. The test is the next game at Etihad.
    With the departure of Wenger , who Stan Kroneke respected and listened to and Ivan, the Terrible, Gazidis who Stan Kroeke knew from his days in US, compared to them, both Venai and Raul are relative strangers to Stan Kroenke and hence, cannot convince him to loosening his purse. That is the state of affairs, I hear. What is needed is a CEO, who can talk to Stan Kroenke and that should be his son.
    Dick Emery is on a 2 year contract. He needs to show improvement before then.

  8. Totteridge man says:

    Raul Sanllehi who left Spain does not want to go back there. He will not ask for significant cash in Summer to upset Count Kroenke, which precisely what Count Kroenke wants. Hence ,Raul is safe in his position and that makes the coach safe in his. After all, Raul does not want a non-Spaniard coach to come and shake things a bit. He did not tolerate Sven., which is not surprising. We could be in for a Wenger-like period of non-delivery for quite a few years!

  9. Pete the Thirst says:

    Agree. I would play him over Xhaka.

    Alex Ice Cream:
    Guendouzi Man of the Match for me by a distance. Laca second.

    Gwen is a super talent. This kid has everything – I loved him barking at Leno for not calling for a free kick. At £7m he is the signing of the season. He was stull buzzing about in injury time and putting himself on the line. Our best young player since Cesc.

    The brightest spark of the season.

  10. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Didn’t see the game but the first half must have been bad to compare it with games in the early 80’s.

    Really , YW ?

    REALLY ?

    You can’t write off those years of suffering in such a blase manner , surely.

  11. Blue Yonder says:

    Cardiff would have seemed to be the right fixture in which to right the ship but it’s still adrift and dragging its anchor. 2-1 at home to a team that has little scoring power is disappointing. I had thought Jenkinson would start this game. With all the injuries, he’s one of the few defenders not part of the wounded or walking-wounded. I originally thought Leichsteiner was going to be a useful signing but that hasn’t happened. Yet he continues to get playing time while Jenks sits. Why not give both of them some time?
    You also have to feel for Cardiff: a far from wealthy club, making a club-record purchase of a badly-needed scorer and then losing him in this tragic way before he’s played a game.

  12. C says:

    Just popping in, thanks for the write up Yogi and didn’t watch the match but not surprising at all that Aubameyang and Lacazette scored with Lacazette putting in another performance. Guendouzi put in another quality performance from what it seems…I wonder would Arsenal sell Xhaka and build a midfield around Torriera and Guendouzi with Maitland-Niles behind or fighting with those 2 come summer?

    Suarez is official, we got him. Know some might not like it but with his arrival, if Juve offered the reported 10m, I would do it; better to get something as opposed to nothing.

  13. C says:

    Reports say PSG want Ozil but Ozil doesn’t want to go. So much for no big clubs wanting him 🤨

  14. Bill says:


    With Suarez coming and Mkhitaryan coming back from injury there will not be any minutes left over for ozil. If the report you mentioned is actually accurate then either ozil does not care whether or not he gets any minutes or more likely PSG would want him to take a pay cut

  15. C says:


    If reports are to be true, your wrong: PSG wanted him yo replace the injured Neymar for the rest of the season AND were going to pay his wages.

    😂🤣 its okay to be wrong, if reports are true.

  16. C says:

    Smith-Rowe set for a loan to RB Leizpig until the end of the season.

    Until we meet again mates

  17. YW says:

    Totteridge Man

    > Venai and Raul are relative strangers to Stan Kroenke

    Raul is but Vinai has been in a senior capacity at the club for several years. He might not know Stan very well but I’m guessing he and Junior are well acquainted.

  18. Totteridge man says:

    Ozil likes London, and wants to stay put here in London. Even, if he is left out of the first team, he will enjoy his life in London, collecting his £350K income per week, thanking profusely Wenger and Ivan, the Terrible Gazidis. Both of them would point out that the vocal bunch of fans who met Gazidis in his yearly appearance, urged him to keep Sanchez and Ozil at any cost; Count Stan Kroenke seemed to have agreed too, as he knew that will settle the howl for buying new players, since he could always point out that keeping Ozil with that cost something has to give way- meaning buying new players!! Buying new players for Count Stan Kroenke means selling the existing ones, and getting the money for them to do just that!!

  19. Totteridge man says:

    May be, but Vinai does not have the clout of either Wenger or Ivan Gazidis to ask for additional cash to buy players. As of today, there is no official CEO, and Kroenke acts as informal one, and he too is an absentee most of the year.
    Stan Kroenke does not easily part with money just because the Club should get into top4. If f CL means additional income and more cash for players, he may not like to spend tens of millions for the latter.

  20. Jonnygunner says:

    Cheers Bournemouth……we’re up to 4th 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  21. Totteridge man says:

    Spuds won unfortunately!. I should grudgingly appreciate Poch. He did not have extra cash for players thanks to Miser Levy. Chelski lost, we are in top4 until we go to Etihad. It is left to Dick Emery to work out how to beat the oil club.

  22. Totteridge man says:

    It is commonsense, if you are watching how the club is run. I am merely pointing out the reality based on facts. I have no illusions unlike some.

  23. YW says:

    Stan Kroenke hasn’t put a penny into Arsenal Football Club and never will.

    He’s put $1.5bn of his cash into LA Rams new stadium which will take him several years to get returned. We are lower than a Walmart employee on his list of people to pay.

  24. Totteridge man says:

    I agree with you without any reservation. That assessment is depressing but true; it makes Stan Kroenke unique in a negative sense as the FC owner.

  25. Jonnygunner says:

    Totteridge man,

    Its a club to us but an asset to him.
    At some point he will have to invest…THAT is common sense.If he doesn’t invest and just strips his asset it will flounder.

  26. LSG says:

    Apart from Tottenham’s escapology again, good results midweek for us. 4th on goals scored. Let’s enjoy these heights while they last, eh!

    We were pretty awful in what looked like a half empty stadium. I hope we improve and that fans show some support during the run in. By the looks of it, we will need any and every bit of advantage and luck to scrape into the top 4.

    I’m not sure Suarez will help much. I would have preferred Carrasco over him or Perisic. I don’t think Nkunku is even vaguely meant for this season, were it to happen.

  27. LSG says:


    In fact, he has taken out some millions and may begin draining funds from AFC again. I estimate the legal costs of his takeover as majority shareholder some years ago and the two years he took a consulting fee (or was it three?) amount to about 6-8m £. Thanks so much Stan for those consulting services. Has he laid any debt on the club in financing his take over of Usmanov and everyone else’s shares?

  28. theskywalker says:

    YW is right. Stand Kroenke will not invest his money in AFC, and no one can question him as the sole owner. At best, there will be money to buy Suarez at the end of the season. I cannot see more than £50 million appearing as new cash in Summer.
    @Jenny How wrong you are!! Stan Kroenke can do what he wants with the club. He is not interested in CL or PL win or top4, which all involves spending substantial money. As has been said , with the departure of Wenger and Ivan, no one in AFC to demand cash from Stan Kroenke to buy players. Vinai and Raul are just employees , and cannot confront their boss Kroenke. Kreonke , the younger is only partially involved in AFC. No hope there.
    In course of time, with the current development of Kroenke’s empire in US, he willnot hesitate to help himself with cash from AFC. He knows, AFC can stay up in the PL, and that is good enough for him as an asset.

  29. YW says:


    Unless someone hacks into KSE’s accounts, we won’t know. There are no loans on the club books but usually those loans to purchase companies are placed on a holding company. AFC would pay the loan repayments so the loan is serviced by us but never on our books.

  30. Totteridge man says:

    A journalist with a minimum brain cells count prattles that the reason when Kroenke is not spending the £200 million cash is we are not in the CL, and cites £800K income loss/wk. The latter at best will work out to be the average price of a good player ( not very good) to buy ! Against it, Kroenke should spend at least 3/4 times that amount to bring in 3/4 good players, to achieve the CL position! These dimwits have no clue about Kroenke thinking, and as the sole owner what his philosophy is for the club. He wants us in the PL, and not interested in frittering away the cash to win fancy silverware or to be in the CL. AFC for him is pure business- less spend and keep the asset for the benefit of his US empire. That simple.

  31. Totteridge man says:

    In our Wenger country ( like Bronte country or James Herriot country), the rumour was going that David Dein regrets introducing Kroenke to the then board.

  32. Jonnygunner says:

    Totteridge man,

    Have you given up offending people that think differently to you ?….or is your thought capacity not that large?

  33. Totteridge man says:

    @Jonny I simply said you were wrong. I explained why.
    Since you are prepared to insult., I say this: You have no grasp of how this Club is run by the owner. I cannot prevent any one from deluding themselves.

  34. Jonnygunner says:

    Totteridge man,

    I’m not prepared to get into a spat-we’ll agree to disagree.You have your opinion and I have mine.
    Time will tell who’s nearer the truth

  35. Wailesy says:

    Careful Totteridge man,

    Jonny’s known to be pretty handy with his hands

  36. Wailesy says:

    I’ll forever be pissed with Dein for bringing Kroenke into our club. I’m sure if he ever feels remorse he only has to look at the cheque Kroenke handed him

  37. YW says:

    Totteridge Man

    > s the sole owner what his philosophy is for the club. He wants us in the PL, and not interested in frittering away the cash to win fancy silverware or to be in the CL.

    Disagree. Stan wants us in the CL as that is the surefire way to increase revenues and contribute to a far higher valuation of his asset. My guess is that once we reach a peak value, probably when revenues from broadcasting start to tumble, he will begin thinking about selling.

    UK TV deals are collectively falling but overseas continue to rise. When they stop going up and if we’re not in CL, that’s when a sale will cross his mind. At that point, Rams stadium will be generating revenues, residentials in that complex will be sold and commercials will be leased. He won’t need us to sustain his borrowing at that point.

    Arsenal is an anomaly in his sporting empire and only good for supporting the business.

  38. C says:

    Can Suarez play against Citeh?

    Midfield and attack:


    I mean were shit at defending anyways even when we try our best and are set up to defend.

  39. Jonnygunner says:


    I can’t see why he wouldn’t be eligable to play C…..but I may stand corrected.

  40. lari03 says:

    Hi C,

    I bet Ozil won’t be on the team sheet against City.

  41. lari03 says:

    Lol… an even number, which is odd for an outfield player to choose as his favourite. Hope he lights up the EPL for the Arsenal.

  42. C says:


    I thought there was some sort of deadline that a player must be registered in order to play but I could be wrong.

    22 carries with it the ghosts of Clichy, Le Coq and Yaya Sanogo

  43. C says:


    Morning, knowing the way things have been going, he might not be but thats just what I would do.

    Play Suarez in the right midfield role he covets alonside Guendouzi with Torriera anchoring the midfield and Ozil being the final pass to our finishers.

    Then again, I would also play Maitland-Niles at RB over both Jenks and Lichtsteiner because I think defensively he is more sound, has the pace and quickness to match Sane or Sterling nd against Citeh’s high press he is a much better passer and more comfortable on the ball then the other two. Emery will probably go with Lichtsteiner 🙄

  44. thrillbo says:

    First off — Trump does this global warming bit every winter and it is getting old. Not sure what he is saying in the summer when entire states endure months of 40°C temperatures with no rain… Probably is still saying some shit. Hector is just saying what a lot of people know , trump is a child. Sadly here in the US we have large populations of folks who see this guy as the shining example of a great leader. Most of those people are likely lining Stan’s pockets too because you bet they shop big at walmart each week. Load up on the coca-cola, frozen pizza and potato chips.

    Onto the match, have to echo the praise for guendo and laca. Both so hard working, cardiff was definitely trying to push Guendo around but he eventually got the better of them. If I was guendo I would be looking forward to playing cardiff again knowing you beat them. Get straight into their ugly fat mugs and start talking trash from the off. My thoughts are similar on young Mateo. I feel that he has played some brilliant passes, the likes of which we havent seen since Cesc era. I’m talking about the cesc to RVP over the top thru ball, laid on a dime , one touch, chocolate peg finish into the net… Guendo has pulled a few of those this year and is always looking to push forward or play that killer pass!

  45. LSG says:


    Yes, we are in the dark and the full takeover makes it even harder to figure out what he has done or will do. But we can say that he took out some millions when he thought he could do so before uncomfortable questions at AGM stopped the practice. Why wouldn’t he now? We are in trouble.

  46. LSG says:


    Agree with this analysis, YW. The only concern is that he hasn’t sold any of his other teams. Always seems interested in keeping it long term. Maybe he feels having a London club will always maintain value over what he paid as long as it stays in top half of table. Useful collateral. I just wish he would sell and cash out—take his share profits and leave.

  47. LSG says:

    Hope Arsenal is the anomaly in his portfolio that he is willing to sell soon.

  48. LSG says:


    I like the look of that midfield (or Rambo at top of diamond to help press…) but Emery seems to love Xhaka as much as Wenger did. I think Torreira should be the deepest mid. He’s good but not best further forward on the right.

  49. LSG says:


    I would play Mustafi at RB with Kos and Monreal CB’s. We won’t produce much threat up the right anyway without Bellerin.

  50. ferkov says:

    Citeh be a good intro for Suarez. We might get a beating, but at least he shouldn’t get a physical one.
    Went to game on Tuesday. Cold and miserable . We were woeful. Thankfully they were worse . The crowd was .. Cold. Never really warmed up. Still not much love in the Stadium.

  51. Dukey says:

    We signed any fecking fucking bloody God damn mother fukin defenders yet? Oh well let’s hope this Suarez fella can bail us out. !

  52. Dukey says:

    I think it might be a bit cold tonight. How will us English cope with -1 Celsius. Tough times ahead. Hope everyone is ok in Blighty .

  53. C says:


    I wouldn’tbe opposed to Mustafi at RB especially if Emery tells him not to puah forward. Play with a back 4 and Torriera sitting and let the other 6 attack when we have a chance.

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