5 Cardiff City Storylines to Follow as Season’s End Nears
5 Cardiff City Storylines for the Remainder of the Premier League Season
Cardiff City made a splash with new owner Vincent Tan in 2010, and it has been a sideshow ever since the Malaysian billionaire took over. He has not necessarily won over all of the fans by changing the colors of the team and not liking bluebirds all because of his personal interests and possible financial gains. Many of the matches that took place around Christmas showcased fans with "Tan Out" signs written in bold blue.
They have spent some money on reinforcements over the last year, but they haven't all panned out. Malky Mackay is out as coach, and he has been replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjær who Tan says is better than Mackay. Mackay led the team back to the Premier League for the first time in 51 years, but a change was needed.
The Bluebirds are coming off a 2-1 victory over Norwich City that many saw as vital. The then last place team needed three points to start the crawl out of the bottom three. This week is the South Wales Derby at Liberty Stadium against Swansea City. Steven Caulker was the hero in the first meeting of the year, and if Cardiff can win they would be the first team to take the double in the Derby in its 102-year history.
Aston Villa and Hull City will be the next opponents after the Swans, so there is at least a chance at points for the Bluebirds. They will then play a struggling Tottenham squad. The big relegation battle with Fulham takes places on Mar. 8 before traveling to Goodison Park to take on Everton.
It has been a whirlwind at Cardiff over the last three years, and the rest of the 2013-14 Premier League season will be no different. It could be a brief stint in the top league for Tan and his team, but it would really be a surprise to nobody. The brash nature of the owner coupled with the results on the field show they may have been in over their heads.
5. Vincent Tan
What will the flamboyant owner do next? Nate Scott of USA TODAY called Vincent Tan the worst owner in sports in December, and there are many fans of the Bluebirds who would agree. There are rumors that he wants to change the name of the team to Cardiff Dragons just three years removed from his purchase of the team and admitting to not knowing the rules of the game. As long as he's the owner he will be a storyline.
4. Will Kenwyne Jones Show Up Each Week?
Part of the reason Kenwyne Jones is in Cardiff is because he sent a text message to his former manager, Mark Hughes, at Stoke City saying he would not be playing. Jones was fined two weeks' wages and then sent out to Cardiff. His contract ends this season, so he needs to show he is worth another Premier League deal. He does have motivation to play well, and when he is on his game Jones can be a game changer. However, it is clear that his mind can take over and make him less than effective.
3. Does Wilfried Zaha Ever See the Bench Again?
Wilfried Zaha came over from Manchester United just before the January transfer window closed and instantly changed the dynamic of the Cardiff City attack this past weekend. Poor Peter Whittingham was taken off in the 37th minute to make way for Zaha as if he was the sole reason the team was behind 1-0. Regardless it is clear that Zaha has the pace and control to make Cardiff dangerous, especially on the counter attack. Zaha may start the rest of the year and have a chance to live up to that £15 million price tag.
2. What's Next for Craig Bellamy?
Craig Bellamy is a bit of a legend in Wales, and now he is playing for his hometown team. Last week he became the first player to score for seven Premier League teams in their career. A major part of signing with Cardiff was to be near his family. In October Bellamy retired from international football citing his family as the main reason. His contract runs out at the end of this year, but at 34-years-old he has still shown a passion for the pitch. It will be interesting to see what lies ahead for Bellamy.
1. Can Cardiff Stay in the Premier League?
The win this past weekend moved Cardiff up one spot but they still sit firmly in the relegation zone. The rest of the season will be about staying in the Premier League. Vincent Tan will have his eye on the financial difference between the top two tiers, and fans will agree that they want their team playing with the big boys.