Cardiff and Aston Villa played out a frustrating 0-0 draw in a game that both sides had great chances to win.
Cardiff were much the better side in the first half, providing much of their attacking threat through Craig Noone and Kenwyne Jones.
The best chances of the half came when Cardiff hit the woodwork twice in 20 seconds. Wilfried Zaha played through Fraizer Campbell whose dinked shot was half-saved by Brad Guzan, and it trickled through onto the post. Then the ball broke to Noone, whose shot deflected high into the air, over Guzan, but smacked against the bar.
Zaha had the ball in the net in the closing stages of the first-half, turning home from a corner, but the goal was disallowed for offside.
However, Villa came out after the break a different side, and offered much more by way of positive play. They offered constant threat through Marc Albrighton and Fabian Delph, and it required some superb defending from Cardiff centre-back Ben Turner to keep the scores level.
Also key to Cardiff's clean sheet was goalkeeper David Marshall, who made two absolutely superb saves in the closing stages. Firstly, Delph made room for himself just outside the box, his low powerful shot took a deflection off Caulker, but the Cardiff keeper flung himself to his left to make a fine one-handed stop.
And in the last minute, Marshall superbly twisted his body around to divert an Andreas Weimann effort over the bar, when it looked like it was heading into the net.
Cardiff remain in the bottom three, while Villa move up one place to 11th.
14' - DOUBLE WOODWORK - Cardiff hit the frame of the goal twice inside 20 seconds. First, Zaha plays Campbell through and dinks the ball over Guzan, but the American keeper just gets a hand to it and diverts it onto the post. Then the ball breaks to Noone, whose shot is deflected high into the air, over Guzan, but it smacks against the bar.
35' - DISALLOWED GOAL - Cardiff have the ball in the net, but it's disallowed. Noone puts a corner in from the right, Caulker gets up at the far post, his header down goes to Zaha who turns it home, but he was standing a good three yards offside.
61' - VILLA GO CLOSE - Bacuna breaks into the area from the right, the Cardiff defence opening up uncharacteristically, but he shoots across goal when Benteke might have been a better option in the middle.
77' - BRILLIANT SAVE - Delph makes room for himself just outside the box, his low powerful shot takes a deflection off Caulker, but the Cardiff keeper dives to his left and makes a fine one-handed stop.
90' - ANOTHER GREAT SAVE - Weimann directs the ball at goal from only around ten yards out, and Marshall somehow twists his body round and claws it over the bar. Brilliant stuff.
Cardiff failed to score a first-half Premier League goal for the 21st match this season, while Aston Villa fail to do so for their second consecutive match.
Aston Villa have 28 points, their second-worst points total at this stage of the season in the Premier League era (after 2012/13, 24 points).
Aston Villa end a five-match streak of Premier League matches without a clean sheet - they had conceded two or more goals in six of their last seven PL away matches before today.
TALKING POINT: Attacks draw blanks again. While both sides defended well, their problems at the other end of the pitch showed why they are both struggling. Both sides had chances to put the game to bed, but a combination of excellent goalkeeping and profligate/indecisive finishing kept the score goalless.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Ben Turner (Cardiff): It seemed that every time Villa attacked, they came up against a wall in the form of Turner, who headed everything that came his way and made a few crucial clearances.
Cardiff: Marshall 8; Theophile-Catherine 6, Caulker 7, Turner 8, John 7, Zaha 6, Mutch 6, Medel 7, Noone 7, Campbell 6, Jones 6. Subs: Eikrem 6, Daehli 6.
Aston Villa: Guzan 7, Bacuna 6, Vlaar 8, Baker 7, Bennett 6, Bertrand 6, Westwood 6, Albrighton 6, Delph 7; Benteke 5, Agbonlahor 6. Subs: Weimann 6.
MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Aston Villa
- Wilfried Zaha
- Brad Guzan
- Ben Turner