Few gave Cardiff any hope of staying up in the Premier League this season, with the Bluebirds perhaps having the least amount of on-field quality in the top flight. Under Neil Warnock they have battled incredibly hard, showing that quality will only get you so far, but when the chips are down, you need grit, heart and determination.
The rub of the green has not gone their way this season, not to mention the horrifying events surrounding record signing Emiliano Sala, but even with three games to go, they have the chance to beat the odds and stay up.
Just like in real life, it will be no easy task keeping the Bluebirds above the drop in FIFA 19’s Career Mode. RealSport gives you everything you need as you set up with the Welsh club in the game.
Cardiff receive a three and a half star rating on FIFA 19, made up by a 73 attack, 74 midfield and 72 defence. Things won’t be easy, but there is enough to keep the side up this season.
Cardiff’s default formation is a 4-2-3-1 wide, and for balance, it is the best system to use. Alternatives include a 4-3-3 or a simple 4-4-2.
Nathan Etheridge (77 GK diving) is a big presence in goal, with the back four made up by Ashley Richards, Sean Morrison, the experienced Souleymane Bamba (83 aggression) and Greg Cunningham.
Joe Ralls and Harry Arter are in defensive midfield, with Josh Murphy and Junior Hoilett supplying the width. Victor Camarasa (78 short passing) provides the quality in attacking midfield as the versatile Callum Paterson starts in attack.
On the bench, go for Alex Smithies, Bruno Ecuele Manga, Joe Bennett, Aron Gunnarsson, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Oumar Niasse and Bobby Reid.
Tactics and instructions
When you have the ball, you need to be looking to get the ball out wide and use the pace of wide men Josh Murphy (86 sprint speed) and Junior Hoilett (88 acceleration). When they have the ball, you can stretch defence or look to pick out Callum Paterson (93 jumping) in the box.
Victor Camarasa (77 ball control) provides the spark, and when the wide men get the defence back peddling, the Spaniard can cause an impact. He can then get on the ball to have a shot at goal, or play in other attackers.
Customising your instructions can help your big players have a greater impact, and the first thing you should do is to set both wide midfielders’ support runs to ‘get in behind’. This will ensure Hoilett and Murphy to run beyond the defence.
You can then move on to Victor Camarasa and change his positioning freedom to ‘free roam’, making him hard to pick up for the opposition. Not only that, it may be worth altering his support on crosses to ‘get into box for cross’ to increase Cardiff’s goal threat.
Not many players have a high potential at Cardiff, which means you will want to be using Callum Paterson, Josh Murphy and Victor Camarasa in the vast majority of your training sessions. These three will improve quicker than the rest of the players in your squad.
The Transfer Market
Starting transfer budget: £29 million
Starting wage budget: £82,000 a week
Who should go
Cardiff still have a lot of players who are Championship standard or below, so you can certainly afford to sell them to top up that transfer budget. First team players Danny Ward, Lee Peltier and Stuart O’Keefe can all be shipped on, and they will collect you a combined fee of £1.6 million, freeing up £44,000 a week in your wage budget.
The rest that can go are the younger players, whose futures aren’t promising enough to make it to the first team. Selling Cameron Coxe, James Waite, Lloyd Humphries and Tyron Duffus will give you £250,000 and save £12,000 a week in wages.
Who to sign
New transfer budget: £31 million
New wage budget: £138,000 a week
Starting right back
With a healthy budget for a side battling relegation, you should be able to bring in a number of new signings to strengthen the squad. Right back is the clear weak link in the side, and with some of the Premier League’s finest players left wingers (think Eden Hazard, Sadio Mane and Leroy Sane), you will need to bolster that right side of the defence.
Eintracht Frankfurt’s Timmy Chandler looks to be a great fit and looks to be a bargain at £8.5 million. For wages starting at £29,000 a week you have a 28-year-old in his prime that can play on both sides of the defence and in midfield. A 77 overall for the American contains stats of 83 aggression, 82 strength and 79 sprint speed.
|Milton Casco||30||River Plate||Argentina||76||76||£6m||£18k|
Callum Paterson is one of the finest players at Cardiff, but he isn’t really a striker with a finishing stat of just 70. The Scottish international plays at right back for his country, so you may wish to use as a utility player over the course of the season.
Bringing in someone you can count on to score goals is crucial, and you should look at the Brazilian Luiz Adriano. He 31-year-old Brazilian is now at Spartak Moscow, and with an overall rating of 78, he will be your main man over the campaign. The forward has stats of 83 jumping, 82 positioning and 80 finishing, exactly the kind of stats you need at the bottom of the table. You can pick him up for around £13 million with wages starting at just £880 a week.
|Santiago Garcia||27||Godoy Cruz||Uruguay||78||78||£12m||£17k|
|Graziano Pelle||32||Shandong Luneng||Italy||78||78||£13m||£21k|
A whole host of players have contracts expiring at Cardiff this season, but you are likely to only extend two of them. Bruno Ecuele Manga is one of just three recognised first team centre backs at the club, so you will certainly need him beyond the end of the season. Aron Gunnarsson will be on the bench week-in, week-out this term, and if you have any injuries in central midfield, he will be the man to come in.
It’s less clear for Ashley Richards, but if you sign new right back, you may not need him anymore. Either sell him before the season is out, or just release him at the end of the campaign.
Brian Murphy, Cameron Coxe, Stuart O’Keefe, James Waite and Tyrone Duffus are all short on quality, so you can afford to let them go at the end of the season.
No objective at Cardiff is above a medium priority, meaning you shouldn’t get too down if you fail an objective or two. Your financial goal is the most important, for which you will need to keep player salary growth under 10%.
For brand exposure, you must sell out half of your home games this season. Winning regularly and scoring plenty will get the crowds coming in.
Youth development involves you having to sign one defender to your youth academy. Not only that, you must sign one youth player to your first team and play them in five matches. The dream here would be to sign a centre back to the academy, train them for the first half of the campaign, and bring them into the first team fold in the second half of the season.
Lastly, and surprisingly, domestic success has a very low priority. Here you need to avoid relegation from the Premier League and reach the last 32 of the FA Cup.
Beat the drop
As you can see, you are short on quality as you embark on Cardiff’s Premier League journey. That said, you do have a surprising amount of cash, and it is plenty to see the Bluebirds away from the drop zone. The second season will be equally as challenging with your loan players leaving you, but if you stay up in your first two campaigns, you can think about climbing the table or targeting a cup competition. Just far can you take ‘little old Cardiff’ on FIFA 19?
Full Cardiff player ratings
|Brian Murphy||25||GK||Rep. Ireland||64||64||£100k||£4k|
|Souleymane Bamba||33||CB||Ivory Coast||76||76||£3m||£35k|
|Bruno Ecuele Manga||29||CB RB||Gabon||74||74||£4m||£33k|
|Greg Cunningham||27||LB||Rep. Ireland||73||73||£3m||£29k|
|Joe Bennett||28||LB LWB||England||72||72||£2m||£26k|
|Ashley Richards||27||RB LB RWB||Wales||69||69||£800k||£16k|
|Lee Peltier||31||RB RWB LB||England||68||68||£500k||£14k|
|Matthew Connolly||30||RB CB||England||66||66||£400k||£10k|
|Victor Camarasa||24||CM RM CAM||Spain||76||80||On Loan||£17k|
|Joe Ralls||24||CM CDM||Englan||74||77||£6m||£30k|
|Junior Hoilett||28||LM LW RM||Canada||74||74||£5m||£36k|
|Harry Arter||28||CM CDM||Rep. Ireland||74||74||On Loan||£45k|
|Aron Gunnarsson||29||CDM CM||Iceland||73||73||£3m||£30k|
|Josh Murphy||23||LM ST RM||England||72||77||£4m||£24k|
|Nathaniel Mendez-Laing||26||RM RW||England||72||72||£3m||£28k|
|Loic Damour||27||CDM CM CAM||France||69||69||£800k||£16k|
|Leandro Bacuna||26||CDM CM RB||Curacao||68||69||£800k||£14k|
|Kadeem Harris||25||LM RM||England||67||70||£800k||£12k|
|Stuart O’Keefe||27||CM CDM||England||65||65||£500k||£10k|
|Aaron Bolger||18||CM CDM||Rep. Ireland||59||79||On Loan||£1k|
|James Waite||19||CM CAM||Wales||53||69||£100k||£2k|
|Callum Patterson||23||ST CM RWB||Scotland||74||78||£7m||£33k|
|Bobby Reid||25||ST CF||England||73||75||£4m||£33k|
|Oumar Niasse||28||ST||Senegal||73||73||On Loan||£61k|
|Rhys Healey||23||ST LW||England||63||70||£500k||£7k|