by Olly Allen
The international break gives us the perfect time to reflect on Cardiff City’s season so far, with the club 11th in the Championship table following four wins, four draws and three defeats. This, you would say, is a fair position for a side who have been rather Jekyll and Hyde in their displays.
At home, the Bluebirds have been formidable and are one of just three teams in the league yet to lose at their own ground. They also have the joint-best defensive record in this regard, having conceded only three goals at the Cardiff City Stadium. Home supporters were also treated to the club’s biggest win in 20 months at the start of October as they saw their team dispatch in-form Queens Park Rangers 3-0. A rare clinical edge was shown that night in CF11, as the Bluebirds had just 28% of possession but took their chances at crucial moments.
Making the Leckwith ground a fortress for the rest of this season will be crucial, especially as their record away from home has been dismal, with performances a lot more worrying. Only three clubs have worse records than Cardiff on the road, with the Bluebirds yet to win outside of the Welsh capital.
Arguably their worst performance on their travels so far came at Reading, where they were defeated 3-0 by a Royals side who have won just once more in the league since then. In truth there could have been more goals at the Madejski Stadium, with the hosts also missing a penalty, as Cardiff looked disorganised, inept and unsure of themselves.
This does appear to have been the low point though, as Cardiff have drawn at Blackburn Rovers, Derby County and Hull City since then before showing at least some fight in a 4-2 defeat at current league leaders West Bromwich Albion.
If you were to pick out the strongest area of the Bluebirds team so far, the midfield trio of Leandro Bacuna, Joe Ralls and Marlon Pack would take some beating. Now free of being forced to cover at right-back, Bacuna is a settled presence in the middle of the park, helping out in both attack and defence. Ralls meanwhile started the campaign in tremendous form with two goals in four games, and summer signing Pack has already shown his quality upon returning from injury.
Ahead of those three, there is perhaps a slight concern over the lack of a regular goalscorer, but that is less of an issue at the moment thanks to the burden being spread around the team – 11 different players have scored for the Bluebirds so far.
Cardiff have a tough period ahead when domestic football returns, as they host eighth place Sheffield Wednesday who have the joint most wins in the league, face an intimidating trip to Millwall and encounter a first South Wales derby in five years against promotion pushing Swansea City.