Vito Mannone – 7
For 80-odd minutes, Vito repelled anything that came his way, sometimes with some nifty footwork, sometimes with a decent save or two, sometimes with help of the defence. He’s definitely had quieter days at the office, but generally did very well. Some of his passes to Moore or McShane were a tad risky to say the least but none led to calamity.
Chris Gunter – 6
Again, standard Gunter. Always there, always reliable, always unable to pick a man out when glaringly available, in this case Edwards. Still, even though he’s working from his weaker foot does not let the side down.
Paul McShane – 6
Wobbly. Another performance where lady luck seems to shine on Paul, or certainly when I have seen him this season. Where previously we have seen assurance, now his experience and grit gets him through games. Did put in a shift, that is for certain but at times it’s a wafer thin decision that saves the day.
Liam Moore – 8
Simply outstanding and my Man of the Match. Just watching him marshal the defence, communicating, constantly barking out orders yet all done calmly and without drama. Time and again he was there to head the ball away or clear another City attack. Alas, he could not be everywhere on the pitch.
Leandro Bacuna – 6
A decent performance from the Curacao international, though I still feel he’s wasted at right-back. Did very well against Mendez-Laing but tired towards the end, as they all did. Unfortunately he could not get forward as much as we would have liked, especially in the second half.
Liam Kelly – 5
Looked a little lost as the game seemed to bypass him at times. Did put in some very assured passes, but physically was bullied out of the game. Should have been replaced, but received a yellow card for an innocuous tackle where a City player passed him with ease, no doubt in small part due to frustration.
Dave Edwards – 7
Yet again, Dave quietly goes about his business with minimal fuss and be highly effective at the same time. Did not put a foot wrong and could have had a decent chance had his Welsh compatriot chose to pass to him, alas, he did not. Sigh.
Joey van den Berg – 7
A few games ago I gave Joey a bit of a pasting for a pretty dreadful performance but ever since he has stepped up a gear or two. Still has the propensity to give the fans kittens with some of his ball play, but all in all a very tidy shift full of gusto and drive.
Mo Barrow – 6
A definite tale of two halves for Modou. In the first he terrorised the Cardiff back line and was a the centre of everything good about our attacks. In the second half, completely disappeared after being marked out of the game by Peltier – which was ironic as the only time Barrow had any space, after the arrival of the Cardiff substitute, was when he scored our second. Sigh.
Sone Aluko – 5
Another one of those games where Sone shines in very small fleeting moments, but otherwise disappears into the frost of the night. Seemed to be the only player who didn’t quite understand his role in the game but rolled around with no obvious purpose. When the tricks come off they can be devastating, but they are few and far between.
Yann Kermorgant – 5
When your striker does better work defensively than offensively, it’s a problem. It seems that time has caught up with Yann as he struggled to get a hold on the game. Only when deployed as an auxiliary defender late on did he come into his own but that never should have been allowed to happen. Should have been replaced a lot sooner for Böðvarsson.
Jon Dadi Böðvarsson – N/A
Alas, not on the field long enough to make an impression.
Management – 5
A definite learning experience for Stam. In the first half, we performed as well as I had seen in quite some time, but when things started to get ragged and Cardiff’s attacks were getting closer to scoring, Jaap changed nothing. We rode our luck hugely in the second half and it seemed by more luck than judgement that we kept getting away with it. Midfield needed shoring up and City’s wide player needed more attention given to them, but Jaap seemed reticent to change the system.
Yann looked exhausted and even looked to the bench for clarification, but no change was made. Kelly was subdued, tiring and overcome by a more powerful midfield and should have made way for, maybe, the more industrious Clement, but again, nothing from Jaap.
When decisions were made, they were too late, and in the case of Popa, the wrong move. We should have been tightening up, by bringing on Ilori or Blackett, and trying to kill the game off instead of going for another goal.
The lowlight undoubtedly was seeing Yann, totally knackered, having play as a defensive midfielder with the only remit of heading the ball from danger. That’s just not good enough.