Cardiff City 1-0 West Bromwich Albion: Whittingham’s header the difference (video)

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In a game that will never be consider a classic in treacherous conditions at the Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff held on for a much-needed 1-0 win against struggling West Brom.

The game-winner came off the head of Peter Whittingham in the 65th minute as he bravely nodded home Craig Noone’s cross to give the Bluebirds just their fourth win of the season.

West Brom tried to get back into the game but found Cardiff’s ‘keeper David Marshall in inspired form as he stopped superbly on several occasions late on. With the massive three points the Bluebirds rise to 14th but the Baggies are now just two points and two places above the relegation zone in 16th.

Cardiff started the brighter of the two sides as the home side forced the issue early but whipping in a barrage of crosses to test the Baggies defense.

Both sides tried to push forward in the Welsh capital and West Brom nearly went ahead in bizarre fashion, as Cardiff defender Andrew Taylor almost comically put the ball past his own ‘keeper Marshall. His attempted block cannoned off his leg and went towards Cardiff’s goal but Marshall was alert to quell the danger.

In the 36th minute West Brom swung in a set piece and just as Billy Jones looked to be heading the Baggies ahead, Steven Caulker flicked the ball away superbly at the back post.

In truth, this wasn’t a classic game as both teams have been struggling and are in poor form and you could tell that from the lack of inventive play going forward in a goalless first half.

After the break Gareth McAuley had his effort cleared off the line by Gary Medel as the away side pushed forward to attack for the first time period in the match.

That near miss sparked Cardiff into life and Noone’s cross found Whittingham in the box who headed home bravely to put the Bluebirds 1-0 up in the pouring rain in South Wales. The Baggies pushed forward and Youssuf Mulumbu’s strike from distance deflected off Taylor and whizzed just wide of Cardiff’s left hand post and out for a corner.

Two penalty shouts for either side was then turned down as Peter Odemwingie was upended by Jones and then Shane Long was taken out by Ben Turner, both sides will feel aggrieved. West Brom forced the issue late on as they threw the kitchen sink at Cardiff to try and grab a point at the Cardiff City Stadium.

West Brom thought they’d equalized late on but Marshall made a terrific sprawling save to deny Long’s header across goal with a fantastic stop.

That save proved pivotal as Cardiff hung on for a fantastic win.

LINEUPS

Cardiff:
Marshall; Theophile-Catherine, Turner, Caulker, Taylor; Whittingham, Medel (Gunnarsson, 87), Mutch, Noone, Odemwingie (Kim, 90); Campbell (Maynard, 82)

Goal: Whittingham (65)

West Brom: Myhill, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Mulumbu, Yacob (Sinclair, 74), Amalfitano (Berahino, 73), Sessegnon, Brunt, Long (Vydra, 88)

Rapids name Robin Fraser as head coach

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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) The Colorado Rapids have named former Major League Soccer player and longtime assistant Robin Fraser as their head coach.

Fraser steps in for Conor Casey, who’s been the interim coach since the team fired Anthony Hudson in May. Colorado is 7-14-6 and at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Fraser’s first match in charge will be Saturday at the New York Red Bulls.

The 52-year-old Fraser has served as an assistant coach at Toronto FC since 2015.

Fraser was the fourth overall pick in the 1996 MLS player draft by the Los Angeles Galaxy. Over his career, Fraser suited up for the Galaxy, the Rapids and the Columbus Crew. He said in a statement Sunday he considers Colorado home because he’s so familiar with the soccer community.

Rapids general manager Padraig Smith said Fraser has a “deep knowledge of what it takes to be successful in MLS.”

Pochettino upset with attacking stars, speaks on Eriksen status

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Mauricio Pochettino might’ve understood Tottenham Hotspur dropping points last week at Man City, but he didn’t plan on not taking anything from Newcastle United on Sunday at home.

“You need the capacity to step up in this type of situation but we didn’t show that quality today,” Pochettino said. “When the ball arrives in the last third you need something from the talent and quality we have there and today we didn’t have that.”

[ RECAP: Spurs 0-1 Newcastle | Bruce reacts ]

So that’s pretty straight forward, but Pochettino was less happy to answer the question of why he didn’t start Christian Eriksen. Some (read: this writer) have questioned the philosophy of putting a man you may sell for $50 million on the bench. Either put him in the Starting XI and risk him, or leave him off the 18.

“When you lose, the players who don’t play are the best. With Christian we win and we lose a lot of games. I accept that situation is like this. If we won 3-0 today no one talks about different names.

“I cannot find excuses about the transfer window being open to justify that performance or the result. We cannot find the way to be solid and to have consistency for different reasons. I am going to be happy in 10 days after we play Arsenal when the transfer window closes in Europe and to have the player involved until the transfer window again in January.”

We’re not gonna read too much into it, but it does sound a bit like Pochettino is daring teams to bid for Eriksen. Would it make sense for him to hold onto Eriksen until January before cashing in?

Newcastle’s Bruce heard criticism, happy to beat Spurs

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Steve Bruce heard a lot of the criticism from fans upon his hiring at Newcastle United, and it rang out louder after the Magpies started 0-2 including a loss at newly-promoted Norwich City.

[ RECAP: Spurs 0-1 Newcastle ]

He may well hear plenty more down the road, but the childhood Newcastle supporter was feeling relieved and maybe redeemed after a fortunate and wonderful 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday. From the BBC:

“We came to this fantastic stadium, this fantastic club and we performed. I mean, to say I ‘cannot even do a warm up’ is mad. I have managed 900-odd games and over the years you would think there would be some sort of respect but I go back to the fact that whoever took over from Rafa Benitez was going to get the abuse.”

Newcastle faces struggling Watford at St. James’ Park next week, and another result will ease a lot of nerves (though certainly not all of them.

Wolves snatch late point versus Burnley

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Raul Jimenez’s penalty seven minutes into stoppage time gave Wolves a point with a 1-1 draw against Burnley on Sunday at the Molineux Stadium.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Wolves now have three draws in three matches, while Burnley has four points.


Three things

  1. We’re paying rent in Ashley Barnes‘ world — Known most for his combustible, some-would-say dirty nature, the Burnley striker now has four goals this early season and more than one, including Sunday’s opener, have been bangers.
  2. Nuno’s men could use a break — Wolves fought well, but you can tell the Europa League schedule has heavily taxed their spirit. How tired are they? Here are the thoughts of an exhausted Raul Jimenez, and you can read the “Thank you, God” inside them –> “I think [the penalty] is the right decision. When I get in possession he tried to kick the ball, then he kicked me. It came at a good moment for us.”
  3. Don’t ever bet against Sean Dyche — We’ve written it 100 times. The big man can get a result from anywhere, at any time.

Burnley was easily the better unit over the first 45 minutes, and was rewarded with a goal even after VAR ruled one out.

Barnes chested a neatly-headed flick into shooting position and unleashed a missile that zipped past Rui Patricio for a 1-0 lead.

Both sides began the second half brightly, with Morgan Gibbs-White lashed a shot offf the outside of the netting and Barnes unable to get purchase on a ball over the top of the Wolves back line.

But Erik Pieters cut down Jimenez in the box late to set the Mexican international up for a win.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]