What a season it has been for Cardiff City, who have had to battle against the threat of relegation for most of the season. Of course one cannot talk about Cardiff’s season without mentioning the tragedy of Emiliano Sala’s plane crash when the Nantes player had just been signed by Cardiff.
One wonders if Sala would have saved Cardiff from the drop? It is a possibility given that the player had vastly improved in front of the goal in the past 12 months and was becoming a really good striker. He would have scored goals for Cardiff and could have earned the club those couple of wins that they have been missing. His passing remains one of the great shocks in modern footballing times.
As for the players that Cardiff manager Neil Warnock has had to work with, overall the club have been poor this season and their league position doesn’t lie. However one can think that Cardiff have also been unlucky. The offside goal that Chelsea scored, took 3 points effectively away from the side. And, when they were losing 1-0 to Liverpool, the Reds 2nd goal, a penalty looked soft and finished the game off, it could have ended a draw on a different day.
Cardiff look down, everyone seems to agree and when you are massive odds on with the bookmakers, well that is supposed to seal the deal. But the club do still have hope, because in 17th place Brighton have been decidedly awful since 2019 came through the front door of the AMEX Stadium.
Chris Hughton’s side have been for the less of a word, boring to watch. Sometimes boring is needed in football. When they are playing a superior team then they have to try and park the bus as it is called. But overall even when they have been playing teams with the same qualities as them they have become a team afraid to lose, celebrating a draw like it’s a win is always a bad sign with 15 games to go of the season.
Hughton is one of football’s good guys and knows his stuff about the game and is very down to earth. But the way his team plays it seems that they won’t be missed if they go down. At the same time Brighton are favourites to stay up and currently they are 4 points ahead of Cardiff with just 2 games left to play. That is a massive lead, and it is even bigger. You see Brighton have a much superior goal difference so in effect that lead is 5 points with just 6 left on the board. How do Cardiff do this, and come back?
Well the good news for them is Brighton will have to travel to Arsenal next. Now Arsenal are in dreadfully poor form but one must think this will not continue especially at home. Note 3 of the clubs four recent defeats have come away from home. If Arsenal do oblige then Cardiff must find a way to win again. They were, for example, poor at the weekend when they lost to already relegated Fulham.
The same weekend Cardiff will play Crystal Palace and the only hope for that game for Warnock and his team is that they are at home. Though the Bluebirds have won just 1 game from their past five in front of their home fans.
If Cardiff win and Brighton lose the league will look like this; 17th Brighton 35 points, 18th Cardiff 34. Then it is game on for the final day of the season. Only there is a problem for both teams.
Brighton will be at home against Manchester City who will be more than likely needing to win for the league title. Cardiff will be away against Manchester United who will be looking to finish the season on a high after some miserable form. Both sides on paper could lose, which would change nothing.
The problem for Cardiff is that they will need to win their last two games to survive, and that, at this stage, will be a miracle. Just like who will win the league or claim those final Champions League places the relegation battle looks as exciting as ever and could well go down to the final game of the season, which could in turn affect the league title out come. Who needs Hollywood?