A new experience.
Coming into this piece, the only two things I knew about this team were that Cardiff is a Championship side and that Craig Bellamy played for them last year. That's it. I'm sure most of you guys can't say too much more than that either so why not take a deeper look and "investigate" (if that's what you want to call it). Hopefully this will get us all better prepared for the bright lights and excitement that Wembley brings to the upcoming weekend.
The first thing to examine is Cardiff's position in the table. Fourth place with a game in hand over pretty much everyone. That's not bad as that has them in a playoff for promotion but it's not something that blows me out of the water at first glance. The only Premier League team that they beat to get to the Carling Cup final was Blackburn. Their recent form is very poor, losing three out of their last four including a 3-0 loss away to Ipswich Town on Saturday. So far I'm liking the match up for Liverpool.
Now to a general glance at Cardiff's best players. Scottish international Kenny Miller and midfielder Peter Whittingham are tied for the most goals with nine apiece. Whittingham also leads the team with eleven assists.
After a deeper look, it is obvious that Cardiff's strength lies in its attack. They are in the upper third of the table in goals scored and look especially deadly when playing at home. The player that creates nearly all of the danger is Peter Whittingham who is an extremely versatile midfielder. He came up originally through the Villa system as a winger, but after a move to Cardiff was used more centrally. He has the ability to drop back but usually adventures forward, pairing up with in-form striker Kenny Miller. One of Whittingham's most valuable attributes is his free kick abilities from the corner flag, the spot, and also bending it around the wall. Hopefully there won't be any recurrence of the free-kick Brighton scored over the weekend. 22-year old Aron Gunnarsson is another impact central midfield player who has five goals and three assists this year.
I can't say definitively what formation Cardiff will employ but my guess is a 4-2-3-1 to both try and pad a sometimes leaky defense with two defending midfielders and also support Kenny Miller in the attack. The key for Liverpool is to minimise the impact of Cardiff's midfield and take advantage of a beatable defense.
Hopefully that serves as a good enough overview of the opponent for you guys. Can't wait for the big game!
Also, I'm thinking about getting LFC tv so I can watch the reserve team. If anyone has it let me know if it's worth it.
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