The ultimate trajectory of Cardiff’s maiden Premier League season may well have been determined with the 2-1 win against Norwich on Saturday.
The closing of the transfer window and then the crunch match at home to Norwich are hurdles that Ole Gunnar Solskjær successfully negotiated and has reignited the Bluebirds turbulent season.
With the first Premier League win under his belt, the former Manchester United striker can take heart from two FA Cup victories and a series of increasingly cohesive attacking displays. Yet he knows the fans want more.
Solskjær’s transfer window activity will also encourage fans, with five permanent signings, winger Wilfried Zaha on loan and the prospect of more at the time of writing.
His signings so far are predictable yet intriguing - former club Molde have, inevitably, been raided for midfielders Mats Dæhli, Magnus Wolff Eikrem (via Heerenveen), and striker Jo Inge Berget.
The low fees paid makes them relatively risk-free signings, but how they adapt to the Premier League could determine Cardiff’s fate.
Solskjær has removed failures such as Andreas Cornelius, Peter Odemwingie and John Brayford and recruited experienced Premier League campaigners in Kenwyne Jones and Fabio Da Silva.
It appears that Solskjær is gradually shaping a team in his own image, with a freedom arguably not granted to his predecessor. He appears set on a more attractive, attacking style, and that has been borne out through both his tactics and his signings so far.
Fabio will reinforce a suspect defence, whilst Dæhli and Eikrem have already proved themselves capable of weaving pretty patterns from midfield. Yet goals remain a concern- only Crystal Palace have scored fewer than the Bluebirds 17, and only Fulham possess a worse goal difference.
Fraizer Campbell is currently top scorer with just eight, Kenwyne Jones managed only 13 Premier League goals in 88 appearances for Stoke, and fellow new boy Berget has a less than distinguished record in the Norwegian Tippeligaen, netting 30 goals in 121 matches for Lyn, Strømgodest and Molde.
Solskjær must hope his actions last weekend, both on and off the field, can continue to inspire Cardiff in their increasingly desperate charge for survival.
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