Paulinho, Paulinho. His name begins with Paul, he hates the Arsenal.
A tight affair in Wales was settled by an exquisite backheel-cum-tap-in by our £17m signing from Corinthians to give us a deserved victory. After some early nerves and under pressure from the crowd, we settled into the game and ended up dominating large parts of it. If any side was going to win it, it was going to be us. And it was us. We have now only conceded 1 goal in 997 minutes of competitive football, which is a slightly crazy statistic. Below are the player ratings.
Hugo Lloris – 6 – Started off nervously and was slightly fortunate not to get a red card for handling outside the box. It was just about on the line and it would have been a huge call for the referee to make so early in the match; the Frenchman was given the benefit of the doubt. Solid after that.
Kyle Walker – 6 – A decent display from Walker, offering a little going forward and staying composed at the back.
Michael Dawson – 7 – At a stadium like Cardiff’s you need a leader to step up and Dawson did that today. An excellently passionate display is capped off with another clean sheet. Kaboul is going to struggle to dislodge this man from the team.
Jan Vertonghen – 7 – As polished and cultured as he usually is, our defence didn’t allow Cardiff to have a single shot on target across the 90 minutes and that must be commended.
Kyle Naughton – 6 – Was extremely shaky for the first 10 minutes and nearly caused Lloris to be sent off, but recovered admirably and defended well in the second half when called upon.
Paulinho – 8 – An excellent display as he and Mousa commanded the middle of the park throughout, and we are starting to see the Brazilian’s offensive abilities shining through. Capped off a good performance with a superb finish in the dying seconds to give us the 3 points.
Mousa Dembele – 8 – Asked to play a slightly more defensive role in our midfield as AVB respected the ability of Cardiff, and the Belgian responded well to his manager’s call. Cut out Cardiff attacks on numerous occasions and was more incisive in his forward passing, answering his critics.
Andros Townsend – 6 – Looked dangerous and troubled the Cardiff defence but he needs to know when to pass! I hate to have to repeat myself Andros…
Christian Eriksen – 7 – Not as good as against Norwich but Cardiff got men around the ball on every occasion. Still put in a tidy display and is clearly settling quickly into the Premier League.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – 7 – Similar to Eriksen: not as good as against Norwich but still played well and looked dangerous when he opted to shoot.
Roberto Soldado – 6 – Flashes of brilliance and invention but we still haven’t seen the true Soldado. Toiled for 90 minutes and looked dangerous; he is showing all the preliminary signs of being a £26m player.
Erik Lamela – 7 – Another impressive little cameo from the Argentinian as he played a huge part in the goal, firstly winning a header under pressure before crossing into the perfect spot for Paulinho to tap home.
Harry Kane – 6 – An interesting selection and then substitution from AVB, bringing Kane on alongside Soldado, but he did perform well and went close with a 20 yard strike.
Lewis Holtby – 7 – The fresh legs of Holtby made a real difference to our attacking exploits as he reinvigorated a jading Spurs side. A nice little through ball for Lamela contributed to our goal.
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