The Premier Welsh Derby

The first all Welsh Derby, as it happened…

The first all Welsh Premier League derby. A much anticipated match in the minds of the people of South Wales, and with its reputation it was bound to make the headlines.

Cardiff City lined up with David Marshall in goal, Kévin Théophile-Catherine ,Steven Caulker(C), Ben Turner in defense, Andrew Taylor, Craig Bellamy, Peter Whittingham, Gary Medel, Jordon Mutch, Don Cowie in midfield and Peter Odemwingie leading the attack.
Subs: Hudson, Campbell, King, Noone, Gunnarsson, Maynard, Lewis.

Swansea City lined up with Michel Vorm in goal, Angel Rangel, Chico Flores, Ashley Williams(c), Neil Taylor in defence, Jonathan De Guzman, Leon Britton, Jonjo Shelvey, Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge in midfield with Michu up front.
Subs: Amat, Bony, Tiendalli, Canas, Pozuelo, Tremmel, Vazquez.

The match began with good pressing from both teams, closing each other down quickly, stopping opportunities and chances being created. Michu had a good chance early on where he controlled the ball well with his weaker right foot, but the ball was too high when he made contact and sent it flying over, had he scored it, it would have gone down in the history books as a cracker. Michu and Shelvey were working together well pressing the Cardiff defence, not giving them time on the ball and forcing them to hoof the ball long. Nathan Dyer managed to find space on the right hand side a couple of times, and Ashley Williams found him with a great cross field ball, but nothing came from the advance. Another good ball to Dyer was played by Rangel, nearly identical to that of Swansea captain, Williams. It was clear to see that there was a weakness at left back for Cardiff, and Swansea were trying their best to capitalise on this.

Cardiff had their first real attack when Peter Whittingham whipped in a free kick from the right, Caulker went up for it with Chico Flores, and at first look seemed to be fouled, but the replay showed otherwise. Cardiff looked dangerous from set pieces, with the likes of Caulker making a nuisance of himself in the Swansea box. If Cardiff were going to score, the most likely way would be through a set piece. Swansea’s best attacking outlet thus far was Nathan Dyer, his speed and menacing runs in behind Andrew Taylor were looking promising, but no clear cut chances were being created. Swansea were certainly looking more comfortable on the ball, with Cardiff trying a more direct route with the long ball approach. After 23 minutes, there were no prizes for guessing who had the most possession, Swansea were dominating possession with 57% of the ball.

On 25 minutes Craig Bellamy had a free kick in a dangerous area, but it was deflected off the Swansea wall for a corner; of which nothing came. A lot of Cardiff’s attacks were going down the right with French defender Kévin Théophile doing a lot of the running. Conversely, Routledge was doing some good work of his own down the left, and managed to wiggle his way into the Swansea box on 30 minutes, trying to create a chance for Michu, but still to no avail. For a newly promoted side, Cardiff’s defence was resilient and looked like it would take something special to beat them today.

Michu had dropped into a deeper role on 35 minutes, as Swansea tried to break down the Cardiff City back four. In all honesty, there was not much action to speak of, with only two shots on target on 40 minutes, both coming from the visitors. At half time, Swansea looked the better side, but this match was not even a shade of the type of match it promised to be. This game reflected the weather hanging over the Cardiff City stadium, a gloomy dull affair. The introduction of the powerful Wilfried Bony for Swansea would surely help break down the Cardiff defence?

Cardiff began the second half the brighter, showing intent by moving the ball quickly towards the Swansea goal. A fine ball by Peter Whittingham to Jordon Mutch was cut out by Flores, it was so nearly through the eye of the Swansea needle. A poor corner from Whittingham was headed away on 46 minutes, not making the most of the aerial threat posed by the Cardiff centre backs. There was a good chance for Odemwingie after he won a free kick not far from the penalty area, but he couldn’t quite make good contact with the ball. Cardiff began to really go at Swansea.

On 50 minutes Whittingham shot high and wide after some good work from Théophile down the right hand side. Another great piece of work from Théophile down the right resulted in his cross being headed back by veteran Craig Bellamy, but it was just too high for Mutch. On 54 minutes Mutch was substituted for Aron Gunnarsson. Cardiff were making it difficult for Swansea to play there lovely slick style of football, as Cardiff were pressing hard when they had possession. It was clear to see the two contrasting styles of the team, Swansea were trying to advance through possession, whereas Cardiff were playing through the long ball. Since the opening 20 minutes, the percentage of possession had switched dramatically, with the home side now with 58% in the second half. If anyone who was going to score at this point, it was Cardiff. Théophile was really working hard down the right hand side and won a corner for the home side on 61 minutes. The corner was delivered by Bellamy and headed in by Caulker who got the better of Chico Flores. 1-0 to Cardiff, scored by the former Swansea defender.

64 minutes saw the introduction of Swansea summer signing Wilfried Bony, however was this change to late? Cardiff had their tails up now, and were clearly demonstrating how much that goal meant by upping their game. Foul on Bony on 73 minutes saw Swansea win a free kick not far from the penalty area. It was Jonathan De Guzmán with the delivery, but nothing came of it, it was offside anyway. Frazier Campbell replaced Peter Odemwingie on 75 minutes, the match was getting more competitive at this point, with only 15 minutes to go, the Swansea pressure started to build. Cardiff were defending well, with 10 men behind the ball, it seemed wherever Swansea went there was a red shirt. 81 minutes saw Wayne Routledge substituted for forward Alvaro Vazquez, on loan to Swansea from La Liga side Getafe, with 9 minutes remaining of normal time, this was the wise thing to do.

Bellamy managed to get into the Swansea area and produce a dangerous cross for Campbell to shoot, but was blocked. As Swansea were piling the pressure on the Cardiff box, the box was full of red shirts, emphasis was on defending what they had, a precious 3 points, and all important bragging rights were at stake here. Kim came on for Don Cowie on 88 minutes. A de Guzman free kick won by Flores tests Cardiff keeper Marshall, but the hero from Carrow road was not to be beaten.

90 minutes were on the clock, 5 minutes of extra time, if there was a time for a late equaliser, this was it. Swansea just couldn’t get the better of a resolute Cardiff defence and on 92 minutes, Campbell ran clear with only Vorm to beat, but Vorm brings him down outside the box, if it wasn’t all over already, it certainly was now. Red card for Vorm. Free kick to Cardiff, Right back Rangel in goal. The shot was comfortably parried, out for a corner. Cardiff kept the ball in the left Swansea corner, and when Swansea finally recovered the ball, it was full time.

In the end, Cardiff were the worthy winners. They took advantage of the chance they had, and defended solidly. No doubt Michael Laudrup will be disappointed with the result, with more than just points on the line. Malky Mackay will be ecstatic with the win, as they earn three more points to help in their battle of Premier League survival, and the title of winners of the first top flight Welsh derby. Come the next derby at the Liberty Stadium, revenge will be on the minds of the Swansea 11, expect a fiery encounter.

MOTM: Steven Caulker, and not far behind Kévin Théophile-Catherine

By
Full time Swansea University student, Sports enthusiast, Lover of football, Arsenal through and through. Follow me on twitter @DomSFarr.
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