Lack of goals a concern for Cardiff

Posted by Mike Morris

Cameron JeromePA PhotosCrystal Palace's Cameron Jerome scores his team's first goal.

Cardiff City produced a dreadful away effort against Crystal Palace going down 2-0 in South London.

After dominating the opening two minutes, Cardiff went on to put in a performance that had "relegation favourites" written all over it. At Stoke last Wednesday Cardiff ground out a 0-0 draw and picked up a vital point. At Palace it was just a grind as The Bluebirds struggled in all areas of the pitch.

City were not unlucky, they were poor in all departments. The defence struggled to contain Cameron Jerome, the midfield could not retain quality possession and thereby deprived Fraizer Campbell of any decent service.

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It might have been different if Campbell's header in those dominant first two minutes had beaten Julian Speroni, but the keeper made the save and from then on Palace never looked back.

Jerome opened the scoring after just five minutes. City gave away possession cheaply and the former Cardiff striker headed Jason Puncheon's cross past Marshall from close range. The goal set Palace on their way to back to back home wins to close the gap on Cardiff, in 16th place, to just one point.

The second goal came from Marouane Chamakh in the second half. The ex-Arsenal striker controlled and fired into the bottom right-hand corner of the net after Ben Turner's defensive header fell to him just inside the box.

Cardiff's performance was littered with errors, poor passing and a lack of quality in all areas. When Palace attacked, Jerome offered pace and strength; when Cardiff attacked it ended up with long, hopeful balls to Campbell, who was left isolated and outnumbered.

Andreas Cornelius added a physical presence in the second half and he produced one of City's best chances when his shot flashed wide. But there was nothing from Cardiff that caused any real concern for Tony Pulis, as he enjoyed wins this week against West Ham and The Bluebirds.

City did see a lot of possession as Palace looked to hold onto their lead, but to be honest it was far too easy for them to defend against. When Palace found space to counter attack they looked far more threatening and could have added to their lead.

David Marshall produced two superb saves from Jerome. Firstly Marshall had to adjust his dive as Jerome's shot was deflected and secondly when Marshall acrobatically kept out Jerome's effort from inside the six yard box.

A really disappointing afternoon in South London ended a week that saw City play three times and not score a goal. Malky Mackay remained calm as he spoke afterwards, but he must be concerned at how easy his team is being shut out.

"Every manager in the Premier League strives to have more goals," said Mackay. "We created chances, but we have to be more clinical and it is something that we realise. Any defeat is disappointing, but I would be more disappointed if we hadn't created anything."

There was some booing from fans, who are getting restless after a third game in a row without a goal. Cardiff are still in with a fighting chance of staying up. But it's games against sides that are battling in a similar position that are needed to be won to give real hope of staying in the Premier League.

Away points are hard to pick up and it's disappointing not to get anything at Selhurst Park. Cardiff are going to have to rely on home form from now until the end of January to pick up points. City face West Brom, Southampton, Sunderland and West Ham at Cardiff City Stadium, while during the same time period the away games are at Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United.

The next fixture at home to West Brom sees a Cardiff side with one point and no goals from their last three matches face a side with no points from their last three outings, but who have managed three goals during those defeats. It's a huge game for both sides at Cardiff City Stadium this coming Saturday.

I hope Malky is not left disappointed again.

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