Cardiff City Stadium

Next Game

Cardiff v Stoke City

Saturday, 19 April 2014, 15:00

Barclays Prem

St. Mary's Stadium

Last Game

Southampton 0 - 1 Cardiff

Saturday, 12 April 2014, 15:07

Barclays Prem

Caulker masterclass

How can Cardiff keep Man City quiet on Sunday? Steven Caulker explains the knack of defending.

Last Updated: 18/09/13 at 15:37

Cardiff City welcome Manchester City to Wales on Sunday as last season's Championship winners experience their first heavyweight fixture since being promoted to the Premier League. It will be a huge test for Malky Mackay's men and, defensively, they will need to be at their best. Here, £8m man Steven Caulker provides an insight into how they might deal with star-studded opponents

Defending is an art form. It may not be the most glamorous element of football but, when properly executed, it is crucial.

Cardiff, who had the best defence in the Championship last season with 18 clean sheets, will be fully aware of that importance ahead of this weekend, when they will attempt to snub out the threat of their glamorous visitors, Manchester City, live on Sky Sports 1HD and 3D on Super Sunday in Wales.

The 2011/12 Premier League champions, now under the management of Manuel Pellegrini, spent almost £90million in the close-season on a frightening array of attacking talent, including Jesus Navas, Fernandinho, Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic.

Add that to the existing talent of the likes of Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and David Silva, who ripped Newcastle United apart on Monday night Football, and it will clearly be vital for Cardiff to be defensively well organised and alert.

Jesus Navas & David Silva: The two Spaniards ripped Newcastle apart

Manager Malky Mackay will be prepping his squad and it will be crucial for them to identify and stop the fluid runs which saw the likes of the impressive Dzeko, Silva and Aguero torment Newcastle when rotating their movement around the pitch.

Denying City space to operate, particularly given the range of areas of the pitch in which Dzeko, for example, touched the ball before shooting in central positions, will be critical and so their defenders will have to be constantly reading the game, communicating and showing concise decision-making.

Edin Dzeko's movement was a problem for Newcastle but he shot from central areas

Cardiff's own summer signing, England international Steven Caulker, will be an integral part of his side's plans and the 21-year-old will need to rely on the instincts which have seen him billed as a rising star.

"First thing first is spotting the danger," said the £8m buy from Tottenham Hotspur. "I constantly check over my shoulder, where the runners are and where the ball could possibly be played.

"The second rule, once I have anticipated and made my movement to close down the ball, is that I expect communication from the goalkeeper and centre-half to advise me on which way to show the attacker.

"Once I reach the attacker, I get myself nice and closed and stay composed. As soon as the attacker takes a heavy touch or goes to cross the ball, I then get the block in and clear the ball away from danger.

"I then communicate back with team-mates to tell them to squeeze up."

PlayerSteven Caulker - Premier League 2012/13
Appearances18
Minutes On Pitch1575
Tackles and Blocks 
Total Tackles Made19
Last-Man Saving Tackles0
Tackles Won %78.9%
Shots Blocked8
Interceptions32
Duels 
Ground Duels32
Ground Duel Success %65.6%

With a tackle success rate of almost 79 per cent and having won more than half of his ground duels for Tottenham in the Premier League last season, Caulker clearly knows what he is talking about.

But he will have his hands full with Manchester City and, playing as the right-sided centre-back, as he did in Cardiff's defeat by West Ham United on the opening day of the season, he will not only need to beware of Dzeko if Pellegrini keeps faith in the same players who beat Newcastle.

Silva squeezed in tight from the left side of midfield against Alan Pardew's struggling squad and so, as demonstrated versus West Ham, Caulker will need to be bold and be prepared to spread into wider areas to help to nullify the threat of the Spaniard.

Caulker was prepared to move out wide to the right against West Ham

This will put extra emphasis on Caulker's demands for communication from his team-mates, as runners such as Dzeko or Aguero will be able to exploit any room which is vacated by the centre-back.

Organisation will therefore be vital for Cardiff but, if they can succeed in their plans, it could be possible to shut off the threat of Manchester City.

Steven Caulker wears the super soft PUMA King. It's in his nature to be the Ringleader - he runs the show. Caulker has filmed exclusive Nature of Performance training videos to help you become the master at denying the opposition space. Head to facebook.com/pumafootball to watch and share

Related News

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

Mike_Christie
Please Stop Telling Us What To Think

H

ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

TheWhiz
Wenger hails important win

I

s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

redbornandbred
De Gea's Europa League target

Footer 365

Premier League: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers targets win at Norwich

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes Sunderland's draw with Manchester City is a "warning sign" for his side.

Transfer news: Schalke's Julian Draxler set to stay put, insists chairman

Clemens Tonnies says it would take "something extraordinary" for Julian Draxler to leave Schalke this summer.

Premier League: Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood rues loss of Gareth Bale

Tim Sherwood feels Tottenham could have challenged for the title this season had Gareth Bale still been in their side.

Mail Box

Mignolet Is The Reason For Liverpool Flying

Mignolet's bad kicking is the reason for Liverpool's success, whilst one man keep notes on F365 mails. Plus England excitement, Arteta and a bad Walsall experience...

City: Bottle Jobs, A Laughing Stock...

There are some harsh words for Manchester City and Manuel Pellegrini in the Mailbox this morning, as well as some rather nicer ones for Tony Pulis and his magic hat...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property