After narrowly missing out on the playoffs last season, and a four-match unbeaten run to begin 2021-22, Mick McCarthy’s Cardiff will have held high hopes for their Championship campaign.
However, four defeats in their last five matches, and a lack of style in possession, means the pressure is beginning to build on McCarthy to turn his side’s fortunes around.
Just one goal scored in the last three, which arrived in the weekend’s 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Blackburn Rovers, demonstrates the Bluebirds’ struggles in the final third as of late.
Frustrations at the side’s reliance on set pieces are adding to the supporters’ concerns over recent results and performances too.
A usually well-drilled and hard-to-break-down outfit was well beaten at Ewood Park on Saturday. The defending was unusually poor, with numerous individual and collective errors contributing to a dreadful display overall.
Although the manager is unlikely to sway from the style of play so suddenly, changes in personnel should be expected in midweek against a tough opponent that Cardiff have only faced twice in the last seven years.
As for the visitors, the start to life under new manager Valerien Ismael has been largely successful with his side sitting in second place after an unbeaten start to the new Championship campaign.
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The new man has reinvigorated the club after their disappointing relegation from the Premier League at the first time of asking last campaign.
A high-pressing style has been brought in, and despite the expectation that time would be required for adjustment, it has been accepted and taken onboard by the players in an impressive manner.
However, concerns had been raised in recent weeks over an apparent lack of a ‘plan B’ when sides had matched up the Baggies’ formation and style and managed to frustrate them and earn unentertaining draws as a result