Despite finishing eighth in the EFL Championship last season, Cardiff City’s form in the Championship so far has been disappointing. While initially, they registered two draws and two wins in their opening four fixtures, they have registered just one win in their following seven games. The Bluebirds are placed twentieth in the Championship table, separated from the relegation zone by a margin of three points.
Cardiff City last won at home in Championship against Millwall in August, since then they have failed to secure a victory at home. In their previous game in the Championship, they were left frustrated by Reading who narrowly edged out the game 0-1. The former Bluebirds forward came back to haunt his former club scoring the only goal of the match. Before their game against Reading, they were dismantled 4-0 at home by West Bromwich Albion.
The Bluebirds have scored only twelve goals in their eleven games in the Championship this season. In addition, they have conceded nineteen. Their lead striker Keefer Moore has been struggling to find the back of the net this season. So far, he has registered only one goal. Moore was arguably the most important player in the Bluebirds’ squad, scoring twenty goals in his debut season. The striker was on the verge of moving to Wolves in the summer, but the Welsh side managed to keep hold of him. Cardiff City manager Mick McCarthy believes Kieffer Moore’s goal drought can be attributed to him contracting COVID at the start of the season. Lack of quality service is another issue that McCarthy might need to address if Cardiff are to put their season back on track.
Let’s analyse Cardiff City’s stats this season to understand just what exactly has gone wrong for them.
Despite having better attacking stats than Reading in their recent game, Cardiff City were unable to find the back of the net. They had higher xG than their opponents and the majority of the attacking metrics were led by the Bluebird’s players. Former Cardiff man Hoilett scored the only goal of the match. The home crowd’s anger was visible, as Cardiff tried desperately to rescue a point later on in the game. Ryan Giles led the dribbles chart with twenty dribbles while Kieffer Moore led the aerial duels wins chart.
Cardiff City did not shy away from shooting the ball at the opposition goal, as indicated by their twenty-one shots, more than ten times their opponent’s. Ryan Giles was Cardiff’s most threatening player. He delivered a brilliant cross just before the break which Aden Flint shot over the crossbar. Sam Bowen’s shot was blocked during the initial stages of the second half, as he appealed for a penalty stating his effort had hit Liam Moore’s hand, but his appeals were denied by the referee. Marlon Pack shot wide from 25 yards as Cardiff tried desperately to gain the upper hand and introduced Rubin Colwill. They took the majority of their shots from inside the opponent box. Despite heavily outnumbering their opponent in terms of shots they had just four shots on target.
Cardiff City are placed fourth in terms of successful passes into the final third and third in terms of successful passes into the final third per 90. This indicates that Cardiff are looking to play forward when the opportunity arises, but are lacking the accuracy required to find the back of the net this season.
In terms of average challenge intensity, Cardiff City are ranked seventh in the league and their PPDA puts them in sixth spot. The above two metrics indicate that Cardiff City are applying the defensive pressure effectively. Their overall defensive stats are much better than teams at the bottom of the league.
Cardiff City are struggling so far this season and the pressure has started to mount on manager Mick McCarthy as he tries to fix his side’s goal-scoring issues. There will be multiple areas that Bluebirds could address in terms of recruitment when the winter transfer window arrives in order to improve their performances in the second half of the season. But before all that McCarthy needs to motivate his side so that they put across a string of decent results on the board.