Cardiff City Stadium, Saturday 18th October 2014, 12:15pm Kick Off
- Cardiff’s form has failed to impress after the dismissal of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in September, gaining victory in just one of their four games since the sacking. Nottingham Forest’s season has stalled in the last month with four consecutive draws prior to the international break.
- The previous meeting between the sides was in the 2012-13 season where Cardiff took a 3-0 victory as they entered the final stages of their promotion season.
- All three of Cardiff’s wins this campaign have come at the Cardiff City Stadium, whilst Forest are still yet to be beaten on the road.
It’s been a tumultuous start to the season for Cardiff, who already have the blood of another manager on their hands. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was given the boot out last month, to be replaced by former Leyton Orient gaffer, Russell Slade. It’s not abnormal for relegated teams to struggle in the second tier, but with Cardiff’s summer outlay fans will be worried by the direction of the club early on into this campaign. The Bluebirds will, therefore, be hoping that the appointment of Slade will stop their slide and bring some much needed stability into the, notoriously, shaky club.
Vincent Tan will never be on many Cardiff fan’s Christmas card list after last season’s horror show and the controversial kit change, but few could argue with the decision he made to show Solskjaer the door. The additions made, in particular, up front were eye catching to say the least. The likes of Adam Le Fondre and Federico Macheda joined a host of new faces in South Wales. From the outside it looked like Solskjaer was too persistent in bringing in players he had been associated with before; he coached Macheda in the United youth team and made multiple purchases from Molde such as Magnus Wolff Eikrem and Mats Moller Daehli.
Following a mad couple of years, Cardiff will now want some consistency from the players, staff and, of course, Vincent Tan. It seems as though Tan wants to make himself the centre of attention, like so many owners in the modern game. Hopefully for Cardiff, he will have learnt that all of this publicity often makes the club look rather silly; he must now take a back seat and back Russell Slade. One thing that Tan cannot be accused of is his willingness to support his manager financially and with Russell Slade now at the helm, Cardiff can make inroads to regain their Premier League status.
Nottingham Forest ended their barren run without a goal two weeks ago against Ipswich, but they couldn’t put behind them their winless run, which has now stretched to 4 games. The Reds had to show the grit and determination which has allowed them to soar into 2nd position in the Championship; twice they came from behind the level, with the second equaliser coming in stoppage time via Michail Antonio. Stuart Pearce’s men will have been grateful for the fortnight break, which allows them to regroup and, hopefully for them, come back sharper and stronger than ever.
Forest have, however, suffered some heavy blows, not least Andy Reid’s lay off of an extra 10 weeks. The Irishman has become a talisman for the Trentsiders, his absence was a contributing factor to Forest’s goalless spell. With the quality he can provide from wide or in a more central role, he will be sorely missed. Pearce endured more disappointment over the international break, this time regarding transfers. On-loan Jack Hunt was being lined up for a permanent transfer to the City Ground in January, however Crystal Palace Chairman Steve Parish has stated that Forest will have to pay double the fee the Reds are willing to offer, after interest from a number of clubs. The marauding full back has been vital in Forest’s promotion chase so far and would be a fantastic addition if they were to capture him permanently.
Antonio’s last minute equaliser not only saved a point for the Reds, but also maintained their unbeaten record in the Championship. Whilst they continue to avoid defeat, the wins have dried up, their last coming against Fulham at the City Ground five games ago. Remarkably, Britt Assombalonga remains the top scorer in the league, despite his recent dry spell, which shows how fantastic his form was prior to his slip. Forest will be praying on him to rediscover that goal scoring touch on Saturday; him and Antonio have been the main source of goals for the Reds and are being counted on at the moment. Other players will need to step up in the coming weeks and prove their worth to the Forest squad, we haven’t yet seen the best of Henri Lansbury and Jamie Paterson ,albeit with limited opportunities, this campaign, maybe Saturday could be a turning point for them both?
Can Cardiff set the Slade regime off to a flyer with a home victory? Or will determined Forest continue in their stout opposition to defeat? The new manager bounce is always a key factor in games like this, Cardiff players have a point to prove and, due to this, I think they’ll come away with a 2-0 win.