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April 5, 2014
• Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff (Caerdydd)
Referee: P. Dowd
• Attendance: 27687
J. Puncheon 31', 88'
J. Ledley 71'
That's your lot from me today folks. I've been Kevin Blundell - and will continue to be - thanks for reading and make sure you tune in next time...
Cardiff look down & out to be honest, they rarely threatened to score today and Solskjaer has got a lot of work on his hands if he is to save them from relegation now. Another major defeat in their quest to beat the drop.
Another massive win for Tony Pulis and his men. They now sit on 35 points in the Premier League and are surely going to avoid the drop now - something that no-one could have predicted before Pulis took over.
90' + 2'
Puncheon finds space down the right, again, and goes on a lovely run as he goes in search of a hat-trick. He beats two men and gets in the six-yard box but his shot trickles into the arms of Marshall.
Glum faces all around the Cardiff City Stadium as Puncheon makes it three for Palace. There's just been no urgency in Cardiff's play this afternoon and the decision to sack Malky Mackay looks like the wrong decision with every game they play.
WHAT A HIT! Jason Puncheon isn't up for simply time wasting, he brings the ball out from down by the corner flag, cuts inside, and then unleashes an absolute thunderbolt into the top corner. David Marshall had no chance with that one.
Palace have regained possession (finally) and have no urgency to give it up. They run the ball into the corner to the frustration of the home fans and Palace are all but safe now.
Cardiff still with all the ball out there, spreading passes about in Palace's half, but when they finally put a ball into the box, Theophile-Catherine tries an audacious flick with his back heel and completely misses the ball. Shocking stuff.
That's a nasty collision in the middle of the park between Chamakh and Mutch. Both players go down after what looked like a fairly innocuous challenge by the big man, but the two are back up and hobbling about again. They'll have to continue.
The stats are all with Cardiff today, but they've just not been able to turn all the possession they've had into a goal. Crystal Palace have made 56 clearances today compared to Cardiff's 22, but Palace are the ones with a two goal lead.
Cardiff have scored six goals in the final ten minutes of their Premier League games so far this season, they'll do well to add to that today but with Bellamy on now they have every chance of doing so.
Yellow CardJoe Ledley
Never did I think I'd hear a Tony Pulis side cheered on by 'Ole's' by their support. But that's what happening today as Palace are knocking the ball about with confidence now; Cardiff's players heads have dropped after the second goal.
Yellow CardAdrian Mariappa
Looks like game over for Cardiff now, but then again that's what we thought last week before they scored a last-gasp equaliser against West Brom. Never write anyone off in the Premier League...
GOAL! Heartbreak for the home side as Joe Ledley scores against the club he supported as a boy to put Palace two up. A free kick is nodded towards goal by Chamakh and saved expertly by Marshall, but Ledley is there to tap home from two-yards out.
Yellow CardGary Medel
The Palace fans are absolutely loving this. They're drowning out the home support at the minute and it's no wonder why considering the scoreline. What are the odds on a Tony Pulis statue being erected outside Selhurst Park over the summer?
Yellow CardBen Turner
Solksjaer must be delighted with what Noone has offered so far. The forward has already caused more problems for the Palace defence than Zaha did during his stint on the pitch. If Cardiff are to get a goal today, then surely it will come through Noone.
So close! A short corner from Cardiff before the ball is finally put into the box by Noone, which causes mayhem as Speroni spills under pressure from Jones. The ball is bouncing around in the six-yard box before finally being cleared by Jedinak.
Noone makes an instant impact for Cardiff. The forward stretches his legs down the right and cuts inside before firing in a shot that he's unfortunate to see blocked by Mariappa.
Craig Noone enters the field of play and is just what Solskjaer's men need. He'll give them an end product and plenty of attacking intent rather than the sloppy play in the final third so far.
Cardiff have had 69% of the possession here today. It's all been sterile though because they've failed to even nearly threaten Speroni's goal so far. They really need to bring Bellamy on before it's too late.
Did Man United buy the wrong man? Bolasie goes on another mazy run down the right and takes it past three players before skipping inside and finding Jerome on the edge of the box. The striker's shot doesn't match his team-mates run, but that was another great counterattack by Pulis' side.
That was absolutely woeful from Jordon Mutch. The midfielder lines up a free kick about 30-yards out and looks pretty confident as he strolls up to take it, but he puts his effort about 20-yards over the bar. Pretty much sums up their day so far.
PENALTY SHOUT! Cardiff are furious after Phil Dowd waves away claims for a penalty as Dikgacoi clatters into the back of Daehli just as the youngster is about to shoot. I've seen them given, but it would have been harsh on Palace if it had been given.
Chances wasted by Palace. They break on the counter as Cardiff find themselves way up the pitch and outnumbered at the back, but with team-mates in space either side of him, Ledley decides to shoot but can't hit the target.
Positive start by Cardiff as Campbell surges forward again and breaks into the box. Unfortunately just as he's about to cross he loses his footing and completely fluffs his lines. They'll need more urgency like that if they're to get a goal here today.
Back underway here at the Cardiff City Stadium. Can the home side do what Chelsea couldn't and breach the Palace backline?
One bright spark for Cardiff has been the little magician Mats Daehli. The midfielder has completed 97% of his passes so far, and is constantly looking to make things happen in the attacking third. Strange to think he's only 18-years-old.
Solskjaer is going to need a pretty inspiring speech in that dressing room if Cardiff are to turn this one around, though. They've been completely useless in attack so far and with Pulis' men still on a high from last week's victory, they're going to struggle to get past Pulis' defensive unit.
Disappointing half of football by Cardiff and something's got to change up top because all their possession is sterile if they can't create chances from it.
Great ball over the top by Medel that Campbell does well to bring down on the edge of the box, but he's pulled up by referee Phil Dowd for a high boot. Pretty harsh if you ask me, he's clearly only got eyes for the ball and Dann has made the most of what was minimal contact.
Cardiff with a free kick deep in Palace's half and Medel is the one who puts it into the box again. The ball's cleared and falls at the feet of Taylor who rifles a shot way over the bar. The referee signals for a corner though and the replays show that it got a little deflection on its way out.
It's been unbelievably scrappy so far today. Tony Pulis sure knows how to frustrate his opponents and if they're to stay up this season, surely he's a shoe-in for the Manager of the Year award...
Yellow CardJoel Ward
For all their possession and time on the ball, Cardiff are yet to have a shot on goal so far today. Says a lot about why they're down at the bottom of the league really, they've disappointed for much of the season and don't look like turning this one around at the moment.
Crystal Palace sitting on their lead now and happy to hit Cardiff on the counter. The home side have the ball in Palace's half and everyone is back for Pulis' side. This is what you call parking the bus.
Yellow CardCameron Jerome
Crystal Palace have not scored more than one goal away from home in a single game in the Premier League this season. Can Cardiff find a way back into this game?
GOOOOAL! It's been coming, hasn't it? Jason Puncheon is left in acres of space on the edge of the box after good work by Ledley down the right, and the winger smashes a shot into the bottom corner as Marshall stays routed to the spot.
Chance wasted! Bolasie goes on a mazy run down the left and with Cardiff players struggling to get back he stands one up to the back post, but no-one is there to get on the end of it. He's fuming at his team-mates, but should have looked up before crossing really.
The game is begining to open up now as both sides realise that a point isn't enough here today. Puncheon finds himself with a bit of space outside the box and fires a shot on goal that Marshall saves. Then Cardiff go straight up the other end with Zaha whose cross inviting cross is turned behind by Mariappa.
First real chance of the game falls to Campbell after a cracking ball in by Mutch finds the striker in the box, but his header is turned around the post by Speroni. They took their time, but hopefully that will be the springboard for more chances in this game.
The blue scarves are out and Cardiff City fans are making a point to the club's owner Vincent Tan. As ever, though, he doesn't acknowledge their chants and looks happy as Larry when the camera focuses on him.
Cardiff have controlled the play so far today, completing 79 passes compared to Palace's 32. They've got nothing to show for it yet, but Solskjaer will be happy to see his team playing with confidence.
Joel Ward, now somewhat of a cult hero in the Premier League, has been moved to the left for today's game. He's been given the task of marking the pacey Zaha, which shows just how much confidence Pulis has in him. Is the youngster an underdog for Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad?
Really good play down the right by Zaha and Daehli - it looks like the home side are focusing much of their play down the right hand side today. The two youngsters play a couple of quick one-twos before Zaha breaks into the box and drills in a ball across the six-yard box, but no-one is there to meet it.
Cardiff's turn to attack now. Campbell and Mutch link up well down the left, before the former beats his man and drives towards the box. He decides to try and play in the overlapping Taylor, but his pass is over hit and it goes out for a goal kick.
Ledley brings the ball down on the halfway line and plays Jerome in behind, but Turner is there and makes a well-timed tackle to deny the striker a shot on goal. Palace showing attacking intent so far.
Really positive start by Pulis' side here. It looks like they've taken the confidence they gained from beating Chelsea last week and are now believing they deserve to be in the Premier League.
Cardiff break after a Palace corner, but Bolasie sprints back and makes a wonderful tackle just as the homeside were entering Palace's half. Could have been dangerous if Zaha had been given the chance to run there.
It looks like Campbell is going to play on the left for Cardiff today, with Jones starting up-front on his own and Zaha down the right. You would think Solskjaer will be hoping that the two widemen will support Jones at any given opportunity though.
Early corner from Puncheon, which he sends to the back post where Dikgacoi is in acres of space. But the midfielder can't keep his shot down and fires it way over the bar. Good start here.
AND WE'RE OFF! Expect a fast start from Cardiff here as they go in search of a vital three points against one of their rivals down at the bottom.
Mutch has been directly involved in 41% of Cardiff City's 29 Premier League goals to date - scoring seven goals and registering five assists in his debut season in the top flight.
Five of Cardiff City's six wins in the Premier League this season have come at home and Solskjaer will be looking to Jordon Mutch to inspire his side again.
Crystal Palace have scored just six goals away from home in the Premier League this season, something Pulis will be hoping his players can change against Cardiff City today.
Unsurprisingly, Tony Pulis sticks with the side that pulled off a shock win over Chelsea last weekend and will be hoping his side can build on that win with another three points today.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer makes two changes from the side that started the thrilling 3-3 draw with West Brom last weekend. Zaha and Daehli come in for Fabio and Bellamy, but Solskjaer will be looking for the veteran to come off the bench and make an impact in the second half.
Cardiff City subs: Lewis; Eikrem, Noone, Cowie, Mcnaughton, Cala, Bellamy.
Cardiff City (4-4-2): Marshall; Theophile-Catherine, Caulker, Turner, Taylor; Medel, Mutch, Daehli, Zaha; Campbell, Jones.
Crystal Palace subs: Hennessey, Gabbidon, Parr, Ince, Gayle, Murray, Chamakh
Crystal Palace (4-5-1): Speroni; Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Ward; Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Ledley, Puncheon, Bolasie; Jerome.
Firstly, we'll go through the team news, then some pre-match stats and then on to the big game itself. So strap yourself in and enjoy the ride...
Good afternoon all, I'm Kevin Blundell and I'll be taking you through all the action from this relegation six-pointer at the Cardiff City Stadium today. We should be in for a cracker!
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