Cardiff vs Manchester United: Five things we learned
A last-gasp equaliser from Kim Bo-kyung resulted in the spoils being shared between Cardiff and Manchester United on Sunday, in a breathless 2-2 encounter.
The hosts will be delighted with the point, while David Moyes will rue the fact that his side were on the verge of a much-needed away victory.
Here are five things that were apparent in the clash.
Wayne Rooney’s petulance
The Manchester United striker has been in excellent form this season, but his one main negative trait reared its ugly head on Sunday once more: his temper.
Supremely talented and able to win a game single-handedly on occasion, Rooney’s petulance in kicking Jordan Mutch early in the piece could have seen United reduced to ten men with the score at 0-0.
With England’s World Cup campaign in Brazil next summer, Rooney needs to keep his aggression in check, or his hero status could quickly turn to that of a villain.
Jordon Mutch’s brilliance
The attacking midfielder has been one of Cardiff’s top players this season, and has shown real quality on the ball throughout the campaign.
Clearly more than able to excel at Premier League level, Mutch played a decadent through ball for Frazier Campbell to equalise.
Had it been one of the United playmakers who had played the pass, it would have been labelled world-class with the football community waxing lyrical.
Rio Ferdinand’s slowness
The veteran centre-half was exposed by Campbell’s turn of pace, and looked like the weak link in the United rearguard.
The absence of Nemanja Vidic was noticeable, with the Cardiff attack taking advantage of Ferdinand’s vulnerability.
With the defender’s contract expiring at the end of the season, this campaign looks extremely likely to be Ferdinand’s swansong for United.
Marouane Fellaini’s improvement
The former Everton enforcer has come in for criticism since moving to Manchester, but put in arguably his best performance in a United shirt in South Wales.
With Michael Carrick injured and set to be on the sidelines for a significant amount of time, the Belgium international’s importance to the side is set to be increased.
Not as adept a passer as Carrick, Fellaini made up for this with a non-stop work-rate and an aggressive approach to neutralise the destructive midfield ability of opponent Gary Medel.
Caulker’s international chance
Cardiff captain Steven Caulker has been in strong form since his decision to leave Tottenham, and again put in a man-of-the-match showing here.
With Spurs suffering a 6-0 thumping at the hands of Manchester City only hours before Caulker impressed for Cardiff, Andre Villas-Boas may now regret not having the stubborn centre-half to call upon.
With England’s centre-half positions certainly not set in stone for next summer’s World Cup, Caulker could well be an outside bet for inclusion.