Often Partisan

Hispanic Lefties

Whilst tomorrow’s match isn’t a “must-win” by any means, it would be nice if Blues could get at least a point and finally put an end to any lingering worries of relegation. Provided we don’t get hammered (again), defeat wouldn’t be that much of a catastrophe – but it would be nice if Blues could improve on an away record which has seen them pick up just two away wins in seventeen games.

It’s not a game where Blues are expected to get much, despite Newcastle United being only three places and two points above Blues, so maybe the pressure is off. However, Blues are not without their problems; top goalscorer Craig Gardner is suspended, and Nikola Zigic remains out injured, leaving goals at a premium.  Cameron Jerome hasn’t netted for an incredible twenty one league games – a run that stretches back to the 3-2 defeat against Stoke at the Britannia last November, and you have to wonder just how he has the self-belief to keep plugging away whilst the grumbling on the terraces gets louder. With Obafemi Martins out for the rest of the season, this leaves McLeish with Jerome, Kevin Phillips and Matt Derbyshire as his sole strike options unless he really takes a chance and dips down to the kids to bring in Akwasi Asante.

Thus I will not be terribly surprised if we go 4-5-1; in fact it might be the safest option. Going back to the home defeat against Newcastle United, I pointed out that maybe an extra body in midfield would have aided Blues as the Toon bossed it completely in the middle of the park. Furthermore, Blues are going to have to be at their best down the left to nullify the potent attacking threat of Enrique and Gutierrez.

Utilising the excellent chalkboard feature from the Guardian, you can see against Blackpool that the predominance of successful passes were down the left flank, and often the keeper looked to go long in the direction of Gutierrez. Against Liverpool, it was a similar situation:

Clearly, it looks like if you can stop Gutierrez and Enrique from getting the ball in, like Liverpool did, then Newcastle aren’t anywhere near as effective.

The other thing that is killing us at the moment is the preponderance Blues currently have for conceding early goals; in our last three games they’ve conceded a goal within the first seven minutes which has continually put Blues on the back foot – it’s imperative that Blues do their best to start with their concentration levels high, and look to keep things tight until the games settles into some sort of pattern.

The other thing for me is the left-hand side. I’m a believer that Jean Beausejour did more than enough against Wolves to warrant a first team place on the left flank; he showed he could be disciplined, that he could win and hold the ball high up the pitch and that he could support the lone striker role. Furthermore, he’s a naturally left-footed player – something we’ve been lacking of late. Playing our Chilean makes the team more balanced, and gives us options down both flanks.

I can’t see us winning this one; as much as I’d love to see us do Newcastle 5-1 like we did in the FA Cup a few years back, I can’t see us even getting a point. I’m going to go for a pessimistic 2-0 defeat and hope that I’m wrong.

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One Response to “Hispanic Lefties”

  • mez says:

    Beausejour has looked good a few times this season in the bit parts he has been given, as seen when he came on v Wolves. Bowyer appears to have declined this season & looks particularly poor when on the left.

    Gotta be a no brainer to play the natural left footed player with a pinch of pace & flair on the left side to balance the team.

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