92 clubs favourite players – Cardiff City – Craig Bellamy

Cardiff City are playing in the Premier League for the first time and they have a few players that I do like and hope perform well but the man that I like the most at their club is Craig Bellamy.

He definitely splits opinion as a lot of people hate him because of the way he conducts himself on the pitch, always arguing with officials and usually having something to complain about. At times I feel this has slightly worked against him as he does have a bad reputation but when he is fully focused and has the ball at his feet even now defenders are worried and he will play a big part in whether Cardiff can stay up. Manager Malky Mackay has already commented that this may be his last as a player and I can see this being the case especially if they do stay up as he will have achieved what he always wanted to.
Bellamy
Unfortunately I do not think he has enough time to get to 100 Premier League goals in his career and this is down to the fact that he did something that not a lot of top players would do and that is dropping down a division to play for the club he supports. But he does still have 79 goals and that is a decent return for someone that has never been prolific, he has only ever it double figures in the Premier League on two occasions (once for Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City). But it is interesting to note that he may have actually became a better goal scorer when he modified his position and starting playing out on the left wing rather than the main striker. He was harshly treated at Man City in my opinion because he was one of their better players when he was on the pitch and then followed this up with an impressive second spell at Liverpool where he scored 9 goals in 33 games.

One of the few things missing from his career is trophies because he has played for big teams when they were competing and he only has a Scottish Cup with Celtic and the League Cup with Liverpool, he probably could have won something at Newcastle United but he should be remembered fondly by them while he was on the pitch because he scored some crucial goals for them, including some goals in the Champions League and that is a position their fans can only wish to be in again.

Bellamy will also be disappointed with his international career because Wales have never came close to qualifying and now that they are finally producing players that will give them the opportunity he is coming to the end of his career.

He is ending his career in the right way and winning the Championship last season will have been one of the best moments even though he only contributed four goals he was still a major asset and now in the Premier League I am sure teams would rather not see his name on the team sheet as on his day he will give players the run around.

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Cardiff City are promoted to the Premier League

Cardiff City have been promoted to the Premier League as champions under the guidance of manager Malky Mackay.
Malky Mackay
It will be the first time the Welsh club have played in the Premier League and it will also be a great moment for their manager as he gained three promotions in a row towards the end of his career but was released each time. So he will be hoping he does keep his job in the summer but that surely will happen after such a fantastic year. At the start of the season there was a lot of controversy around the club with them changing the strip colour and a few other changes but when it actually came down to what was happening on the pitch, they have been by far the best team in the division and deserve to be champions in my opinion. Cardiff do still have two games to play and there should be a brilliant atmosphere at home to Bolton Wanderers when they collect the trophy. They will be the second Welsh team in the Premier League and their rivalry with Swansea City will be more high profile than ever and just shows that football may slowly be catching up to rugby in Wales these days as the main sport.

Looking at the team though, it may be surprising to see that their top scorer only has nine goals. Heidar Helguson is the man that has got these goals and at the start of the season I backed him to be one of the top goal scorers in the league, it hasn’t quite turned out that way but he has certainly done a lot to help the club get promoted. Along with Craig Bellamy who must be the happiest player at the club as he gets to play Premier League football for his boyhood club.
Craig Bellamy
Cardiff do have some good players in the midfield but the two that stick out for me are Peter Whittingham and Aron Gunnarsson. Whittingham has been one of those players that has looked too good for the Championship over the years but no Premier League club has been willing to take a chance on him yet, so finally the former Aston Villa player can show his talents in the top division. Gunnarsson is a very good player too and his eight league goals is quite impressive, add to this his brilliant long throw the Iceland international will be crucial to the side if they are to have a any chance of staying up.

Defensively I do not think they are great and will certainly need to bring players in during the summer but they do have a good full back in Andrew Taylor, who is decent going forward and also looks solid enough when defending. Ben Turner is another with some potential but it could be very tough for him next season playing against strikers that have better movement and only need half a chance to score.
Andrew Taylor
It will be very tough for Cardiff next season but everyone was saying that about Swansea and they have so far never been in danger of relegation.

Who will be the Championship’s top scorer?

Kevin Doyle may not have scored enough goals to keep Wolves in the Premier League but he will be hoping to fire them back there. The last time he played in the Championship he scored 18 goals in 42 games which is a very good record and if he can replicate that sort of form then he will surely come close to being top goal scorer. In my opinion he owes Wolves as he has only scored 21 goals in 102 games and that has not been good enough and only scoring 4 of them in the league last season is one of the reasons they got relegated.

New Cardiff City signing Heidar Helguson will also be hoping to score a lot of goals in the coming season and at least get them into the playoffs. Helguson is probably slightly frustrated that he is not still in the Premier League as he scored nine times in just 16 games for QPR last season. However, he is 34 now and his best years may be past him and the last time he was in the Championship he only scored 13 goals in 34 games. I think he will be vital to Cardiff this year but will only be an outsider for the Golden Boot trophy.

Jermaine Beckford may have only got nine league goals last year but I think he could get a lot more this season with Leicester possibly pushing for an automatic promotion place. Last season was his first full one in the Championship but he has had a full season in the Premier League so maybe he should have performed slightly better but now he has a good understanding with strike partner David Nugent he could score the same amount of goals he did in League 1.

Huddersfield Town star man Jordan Rhodes has to be a consideration because in my opinion with the way that he plays the game he will score goals at all levels. He has fantastic movement and scores all types of goals which will mean he will be a marked man but if he is given the service he will put away his chances. There are rumours that he could be leaving for Blackburn Rovers and this would only help him to score more goals but even if he stays at Huddersfield I expect him to get over 15 goals.

Finally, Craig Bellamy has to be considered an outsider because he has proved he can score goals in this division in his previous spell on loan at Cardiff City. He will be doing all he can to get his hometown club promoted and what better way to do it than score the most goals in the division. The 33 year old has never reached 20 goals but this could be the year that he does it and he will no doubt prove to be a fantastic signing but if he can add the goals to his game then he will be the signing of the season.

Will Theo Walcott leave Arsenal this summer?

All of the stories of players leaving Arsenal have been about Robin Van Persie not signing a new contract with only a year to go but Theo Walcott is also in the same position.

Walcott has played 243 games in his career scoring 47 goals

The winger has been forgotten about by a lot of people because of their former captains situation but the club probably don’t want to lose Walcott for free either so could he also be on his way this summer? It could be a possibility and I think Arsene Wenger may have been making plans for this anyway with the signings of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud. They may have thought that Van Persie would sign a new contract and then there wouldn’t be much room for the England international with Gervinho another option for the Gunners. But this may have backfired on them massively as now Walcott may think that they are trying to make him sign a new contract because they have failed to convince their main man to sign on so he may feel as though he wasn’t really wanted and isn’t as important to the manager. Last season he was in decent form and it is quite surprising to me that they didn’t give him a new contract earlier with him scoring 11 goals and getting 13 assists in his 46 appearances last year.

He is sometimes hit and miss and his final ball definitely needs improving but I’m sure a lot of clubs would be very happy to have him in their squad. Liverpool have been linked with him the most and with the way they are expected to play under Brendan Rodgers he would fit into their system as he would be very similar to Nathan Dyer at Swansea City. Liverpool are in need of some wingers too with Stewart Downing largely underperforming for long periods last season and Craig Bellamy possibly on his way out of the club so Walcott could be a great purchase.

A little surprisingly Southampton have been linked with him and I actually could see this happening as they gave him his debut and played 23 times for the club at a very young age so maybe he would rejoin them and help them in their battle to avoid relegation. He may want to play in European competitions but maybe he would also enjoy being a big fish in a small pond and therefore somewhere that he knows would be the perfect option for him. If it did happen it would possibly be my favourite transfer of the summer because a few months ago if you said it would happen you would look crazy.

Finally, Chelsea could be interested in him as they seem to want to buy a winger with the constant speculation that they are trying to get Victor Moses. With it being reported that Wigan want between eight and 10 million they may switch their target as I think they will get Walcott for the same price and he has already played for a big club so he knows all about expectations and playing in the big games.

Who will Victor Moses play for next season?

Victor Moses’ future at Wigan Athletic is in doubt after a lot of interest in the winger over the last few months but the club are standing firm.

Moses has played 72 games in the Premier League

Manager Roberto Martinez clearly wants to keep him and owner Dave Whelan will not sell him unless it is right for the club which could well mean that Moses has to stay at the DW next season whether he likes it or not. I don’t think it would be a bad thing for him to stay as he has only had two full seasons in the Premier League and is only 21 so why not stay and get more experience which he would not definitely get at another club. Plus, if Wigan can build on their good end to the season they may not be in a relegation battle next season so it could be a good place to be. Moses only missed one Premier League game last season and he must enjoy being classed as one of their best players and maybe he should show some loyalty to the club as a lot of clubs were interested in him when he was at Crystal Palace but nobody else took the chance. Last season he scored six goals and got six assists which shows he does have the quality to be a success and would flourish at a top six club.

The main club chasing him are Chelsea who are reportedly putting in a final bid to test Wigan and it is believed to be around £7.5 million which may be slightly too much for him and Wigan may have to accept the offer. They may try and hold out for £10 million but if the final offer is true then I think they will accept if they get the chance to loan a player off Chelsea too. Moses shouldn’t join Chelsea and I hope current teammate Franco Di Santo tells him that first team opportunities are hard to come by and at this stage of his career he has to be playing games. I can’t see him playing ahead of Eden Hazard and Marko Marin so he would spend a lot of time on the bench.

Arsenal may be a better option for Moses as they are looking likely to lose Robin Van Persie this summer and Theo Walcott seems reluctant to sign a new contract so there could be a place up for grabs. Arsenal would have a lot of pace in their team if they could sign him and their front three would look very threatening with Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud. However, is Moses good enough to be first choice for a team that is competing in the Champions League and may be expected to challenge for the title?

So maybe he needs to be looking slightly lower down the table if he wants to leave and Liverpool could well be interested in him as they need a replacement for Dirk Kuyt. With Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing failing to deliver in their first season they definitely need more of a threat from a wide position. Rodgers likes to play 4-3-3 so he could easily fit into that formation but I think this transfer will all depend on Craig Bellamy’s future, if he leaves then Moses would be a great signing.

Which club will Craig Bellamy play for after the summer?

Craig Bellamy is currently taking part in the Olympic Games with Team GB but that hasn’t stopped the rumours of him leaving Liverpool.

Bellamy has scored 165 goals in his career

The Welshman in his second spell at Liverpool may not be in new manager Brendan Rodgers plans which would surprise me to be honest, because the former Swansea manager likes to play 4-3-3 and Bellamy in the past has shown that he can be effective from the left wing in particular. Bellamy may not be able to play as many games as he used to but at times last season he was one of their most effective players and can still chip in with some goals. The 33 year old played 33 times last season and contributed 9 goals which isn’t too bad as he a lot of his appearances were off the bench. I’m sure a lot of teams will be looking at the former Manchester City player because he does still have a lot to offer and could even push a team onto the next level if he is used properly.

The team that is heavily linked with him is QPR and maybe it is just the papers putting 2 and 2 together and getting 5 because obviously current manager Mark Hughes seems to get the best out of Bellamy whether it be at international level or when the pair were at Manchester City. One thing that does make me think that this transfer will go through is the fact that QPR do have a bit of money and will unlike a lot of teams will be able to pay his wages. The big question would be whether him and Joey Barton would get on the dressing room as they are both big egos and are very similar in a way. They both have a will to win but sometimes that spills over.

Cardiff City will be linked with Bellamy until he retires because they are his boyhood club and I’m sure he wants to see them in the Premier League and will help them in any way he can. It is obviously not a problem for him to drop down a division as he has done it before. In the 2010-11 season he played 35 times for the club scoring 11 goals but this time it may be more difficult as I don’t think Liverpool will just let him go out on loan for the full season like Manchester City did.

The most surprising rumour I have heard is that Rangers are interested in him. Even before what happened to them last season, this would not have happened in my opinion because he has played for Celtic before and I just don’t think he would want to play in Scotland again. Now, it is even more ridiculous because there is no way they can afford his wages and why would he want to go play in the Third division of Scotland? He has too much to offer to go there and even if they were still in the SPL it would be a terrible way to end his career.

Is Jordan Henderson a flop for Liverpool?

So Liverpool beat Manchester United 2-1 and this should have been important enough to write about but something else caught my attention and that is why does Andy Carroll get so much stick because of his price tag when Jordan Henderson doesn’t get slated anywhere near enough.

He simply has not been good enough, when it comes down to it, he just doesn’t perform in the big games and remains an anonymous figure for virtually the whole game. You could put it down to nerves because he is only 21 but when you play for Liverpool you have to grow up quickly, and yes he would have been under pressure and although he didn’t choose to be bought for the price he was, he still has to live up to it.

£20 million for a young player is extortionate especially when he has only had two full seasons in the Premier League and yes he was quite impressive for Sunderland last season but he isn’t good enough at the minute to be playing for a top side and he should have stayed in a mediocre Sunderland team and been a big fish in a small pond but fair play to the lad he was ambitious and did want to improve his chances to play for England. However, this move seems to have put his career in reverse as he is not playing very well and if stayed at Sunderland he would have stood out and caught the eye of Capello yet again.

He has got one cap for England when he started the game against France which yet again he failed to perform and looked like a fish out of water. Yes again you can put it down to nerves but the best players thrive under pressure and he failed to deliver unfortunately and now it seems he is way down the pecking order.

The 21 year old has been given a great chance of competing in the world’s best competitions in a very good side and he has scored a Premier League goal against Bolton Wanderers but this has been his only meaningful contribution to the side. However, in his defence most of Kenny Dalglish’s signings haven’t exactly lived up to their price tag. Andy Carroll, should never have been bought for £35 million and will never be worth that much although he probably should have played better than he has so far. Charlie Adam, another player like Henderson that performed for a team with lesser ambitions than Liverpool and hasn’t quite recaptured his form. A debatable one is perhaps Luis Suarez because the Liverpool fans think he has played brilliantly and is one of the best players in the Premier League yet his stats would say differently, he has only scored five goals and only has three assists this season. I know it’s not all about stats but when I have seen him play he has missed numerous chances and seems more interested in arguing with officials and opposition players which got him in trouble and got given an eight match ban after an incident with Patrice Evra. He reminds me of Craig Bellamy but if they were both running through one on one with the keeper I would be far more confident in scoring if it was Bellamy.

So who is to blame Kenny Dalglish or the individual players?

Big mistake from Mancini

Roberto Mancini has let Nedum Onuoha join QPR in this transfer window which could prove to be yet another terrible decision and could come back to haunt him as Craig Bellamy has done so recently.

It is unbelievable that Onuoha who is largely underrated by Mancini has not seen much first team action this season after impressing on loan at Sunderland last season it seemed that he at least deserved a chance, at least as backup. When Vincent Kompany was sent off against Manchester United he must have hoped that the Italian manager would have at least played him in one of the Carling Cup semi finals against Liverpool just to see if he was able to fit into his defence.

But remarkably, Mancini stuck with Stefan Savic who ultimately cost City a place in the final of the competition with two shambolic performances, firstly getting bullied by the out of sorts Andy Carroll. If Carroll was in any type of form he would have destroyed him even more, he won most things in the air and brushed him aside with ease. In the City manager’s defence everyone is allowed a bad game and he may have been nervous because of how big the game was. But then he followed up this performance with another shocker against Tottenham and when he misjudged a simple long ball it allowed Jermain Defoe to score and allowed Spurs back into the game. Fortunately, City won the game with a last minute penalty and he was let off the hook.

In the return leg against Liverpool, Onuoha was once again left out and QPR were in talks with the young defender and therefore this basically signalled the end of his career at the Etihad Stadium. But before the deal was completed Savic had another chance to prove he was good enough for the Premier League or at least a more competent defender than the QPR bound man. But he struggled against the pace of Bellamy and he can’t have been completely confident when his own manager didn’t trust him 100% and changed the formation to five at the back so he had extra cover when he inevitably made a mistake. He was still a liability and got hauled off at halftime which must make the supporters of the league leaders worried as they have spent a lot of money yet they have no decent cover in the heart of their defence which is one of the most important positions on the pitch.

Kolo Toure is passed his best, therefore, the club only have two players that have real quality in this position in Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott. Even this is quite surprising as last season there were a lot of question marks over Lescott as he had failed to live up to his price tag.

If Man City do not win the league, I will blame Mancini because everyone can see where they need to improve and it’s not as if they have little money to spend. He needs to buy a centre back sooner rather than later or it could cost him his job. I’m not saying Onuoha could have won them the league but surely he would have played a lot better than an out of depth Savic and an out of form Toure.

The most hated player in the league Craig Bellamy but I like him

Love him or hate him Craig Bellamy always turns it on in the big games and yet again in the Carling Cup semi final second leg against his former club Manchester City he made the difference.

He rarely plays two games in a week anymore due to injuries and fitness worries but every time he steps on the pitch you knwow exactly what you are going to get from him. He will keep moving, keep chasing and keep shouting and encouraging his teammates. He is everything you would want in your team because he will work right until the last minute and he thoroughly deserved his man of the match in the game as he made Stefan Savic look very poor, however in all honesty he is a very poor player and Mancini is making a huge mistake not buying another centre back as he is not capable of succeeding in this league.

Just watching Bellamy, you can see why fans of opposition teams hate him because he moans and shouts and gets your team’s players wound up which can lead them to retaliating and getting themselves in trouble with the referees. But we will not focus on the negative side of his game because he gives Liverpool so much, his pace is still frightening even though he is getting to the end of his career and his finishing is still up there with the best and he can score with both his left and right foot.

I am going to slate Mancini yet again because he let Bellamy go and why? Probably because yes he is a very big character and will probably be hard to manage but everyone has known this since the start of his career. Mancini let him go, he plays brilliantly for Liverpool and City at times look like they need something different in their squad which Bellamy would have given them. But, Mancini isn’t the only manager that the Welshman has clashed with as he had a very public fallout with Graeme Souness when he was at Newcastle which led to him getting sold by the club, where at the time he had formed a formidable partnership with club legend Alan Shearer.

Throughout his career he has scored memorable and important goals, none more so for Newcastle when in the Champions League the team needed to beat Feyernoord to qualify from their group. He opened the scoring after a flick on from Shearer and he expertly finished with his left foot, Hugo Viana then made it two and it seemed they were on their way through but the Dutch side scored twice and were back in the game and the Toon were heading out of the competition but Bellamy had other ideas when in the very last minute he scored from the tightest of angles to make it 3-2. It will live long in the memory of every Newcastle fans.

Even at City he scored goals that will be remembered with his double against Manchester United which should have at least got them a draw, however they did go onto lose the game.

I cannot think of a more hated player in the Premier League but it’s not only because he can be annoying and argumentative, it’s because he is one of the few players in the league that can change a moment in the blink of an eye.