It’s been a rough week for Cardiff City supporters, the club, manager and players — all because of the inane actions by club owner Vincent Tan. While Cardiff are trying to set up talks between Tan and Malky Mackay to settle their differences, it’s important that Tan sticks with Mackay for the following six reasons:
1. Points total. Cardiff are four points clear of the relegation zone and have a +4 goal difference on the “best” club in the relegation zone – Fulham. As there are two games left in the first half of the season, this is quite an accomplishment considering they have not played consistently. Additionally, their final two games in the first half of the season are at home and very winnable fixtures.
2. Results. Cardiff have not had easy home fixtures – the “easiest” being West Brom/ They have already faced Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, Everton, Newcastle and Swansea. Somehow they have managed 11 points with this grueling home schedule. What does this mean? It means the remainder of the first half and the whole of the second half sees the likes of Southampton (on bad form currently), Sunderland, West Ham, Norwich City, Aston Villa, Hull City, Crystal Palace, Stoke City and Fulham visiting Cardiff City Stadium. Call me crazy, but if Cardiff can take points against those they have faced at home already, those nine fixtures I just mentioned will surely produce an abundance of points – enough to certainly keep Cardiff up this season.
3. Favorable schedule. Cardiff has a favorable schedule late in the season. If you view the second half of the 2013/14 schedule, Cardiff were not gifted a friendly January – at Arsenal, home West Ham, at Manchester City and at Manchester United. However, they were given two stretches of point grabbing fixtures. First, the month of February is home to Norwich, at Swansea, home to Aston Villa and home to Hull City. Second, from the end of March through April, Cardiff are away to West Brom, home to Crystal Palace, at Southampton, home to Stoke and at Sunderland. They finish the season away to Newcastle and home to Chelsea. However, those final two games could be a formality if points are grabbed where they need to be. Having a five game stretch where wins are feasible in every game is crucial. But that is even more the case when those fixtures fall at season’s end.
4. Transition. January’s treacherous schedule gives reason to be optimistic of any team transition – via transfer or simply testing lineups/formations. Knowing that Cardiff will have the ability to be rid of three awful fixtures in January rather than March or April provides a bit of a relief should any loan players or new signings arrive or if players like Andreas Cornelius are finally able to attempt to integrate into the starting 11. Additionally, this provides Cardiff with a benchmark: be out of the relegation zone by the end of January and it is almost certain they will stay up.