Often Partisan

Attacking Intent

Birmingham City inflicted Fulham’s first league defeat of the season yesterday at Craven Cottage. Clayton Donaldson’s second half penalty was the only goal of the game but Blues could and should have scored more in what was a good display of attacking intent.

Unfortunately I wasn’t one of the 3,000+ Blues fans who travelled to London and who clearly had a good time while at Craven Cottage, having to content myself with watching a dodgy internet stream at home. It was definitely a shame; although we didn’t have the goals of last year’s encounter in West London Blues certainly looked much more dangerous, winning the ball in good areas up the pitch thanks to some good pressing.

I think a large part of what has improved us has been the purchase of Che Adams. I don’t want to burden Adams with too much – after all, he is only 20 – but with Adams in the side Blues have looked quicker and sharper in the opposition half. While Donaldson has always worked hard he’s needed other players to be closer to him to help him when he does win the ball – and I think having Adams play in the advanced central role it’s given Donaldson the support he’s clearly needed.

I’ve always been impressed with the way Jacques Maghoma can win the ball up the pitch; with Mags pressing on the one flank, David Davis pressing on the other and Adams being quick to pick up the scraps Blues were able to create well; especially with the man advantage in the second half. Blues also showed that they can counter attack well when Fulham had a spell of pressure late on; sub Greg Stewart playing a glorious pass to put David Cotterill one-on-one with the keeper and I was disappointed that the Welsh winger didn’t score.

Having watched some other highlights it does seem that defensively a few teams are struggling this year and I wonder just how much having the growing partnership of Morrison and Shotton at the back can be the foundation for a good season. I like Shotton as a centre-half and I think as he’s had more game time he’s looked more and more like a good signing for Blues; Morrison has been very steady for us too and if they can gel into a proper partnership I think only good things will come from that.

One player I was interested to see not in the squad was Stephen Gleeson. Rowett spoke after the game about how he wanted a different option to Gleeson on the bench in Reece Brown; with Tesche and Kieftenbeld looking better and better in the middle I think Gleeson could be kicking his heels for a little while.

Blues play against Millwall in the Professional Development League tomorrow night at St Andrews; I’m curious as to how that team will line up because one can assume if a player is in that game then they won’t be in the squad for the Reading game on Tuesday – will Reece Brown play or will he be held back?

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57 Responses to “Attacking Intent”

  • Richard Granfield says:

    I was delighted to see Brown on the bench ahead of Gleeson. Brown has been unlucky not to have started games, starts that he richly deserved due to his outstanding form in pre-season and since.
    I am sure that if he continues to work hard his chance will come because he can unlock defences with one pass. Who else have we that can do that?

    • WayCoolBlue says:

      Yep your right Brown is something different. Even if he was put on for the last 15 manumits just to get him involved would be a massive help. I expect he will get his chance.

  • WayCoolBlue says:

    Tesche Ran him self in to the ground and looked as if he was carrying a knock. So there is a chance Gleeson may have to be ready. But maybe if Tesche is rested GR will move Davis in CM and play Greg Stewart out wide. Think that’s what I would do anyway but hope Tesche is fit. Good blog Dan Thanks

  • Jaffa says:

    We look a much better balanced team this season and I put that down to Che Adams.If we can stay relatively injury free then I think we could be in for a good season.

  • WayCoolBlue says:

    Just want to say I know it’s early days but isn’t it fantastic to look at the table and see Birmingham City one of the lowest spenders in joint 3rd and Vile the biggest spenders sitting in 17th.

  • Bluenosebev says:

    A great win indeed! Reminded me of my first away game following the Blues. FA Cup third round at Fulham in January 1952. We won by the same score 1-0 Happy memories

  • Shirley Blue says:

    I have just seen the highlights and it looked like a great performance. There wasn’t much wrong with Donaldson’s penalty. The keeper guessed the right way and pulled off a cracking save – it’s going to happen sometimes. The squad is immeasurably stronger than it was two years ago. Che Adams looks to certainly have given us another dimension. With the four big defenders and Tesche, Davis and Kieftenbeld in midfield we are not going to get bullied too many times. Good attacking options to come off the bench too. I would like to see us get another defender in January to complete the squad and who’s knows.

    • WayCoolBlue says:

      Your right If I was to pick a MOTM for us it would be Mags But the overall MOTM I Would have to go for David Button He made some Cracking saves as well as the pen one. What A good keeper he is.

  • GR could always give players a 15 minutes run out in the PDL at the end ..GR will probably will do that anyway with international duty coming up for those that will move up to the bench , with those going into the first team down time in the first team now …Its goals that count and the pressure blues put on panicked them into giving away 2 penalties , and who cares about possession it’s goals and shots at goal that will bring in the fans ,bring in the sponsorship , and bring in money …

  • Oldbury Blue says:

    I also watched on a dodgy stream, really pleased with the win, I think it was well deserved, I know Maghoma has done well but my only slight moan is that he really needs to work on his final cross/pass but other than that KRO

  • edd77 says:

    Che Adams will be a bargain at 2M be worth 4M January ,and for me the Tesche Kieftenbeld partnership and Shotton Morrison gives us a backbone that all successful teams need ,and then Adams linking the midfield with attack is what we’ve cried out for KRO

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I agree. We’ve lacked that strong backbone in recent years, but with Morrison/Shotton, Tesche/Kieftenbeld and Donaldson/Adams we’re beginning to take shape at last.

      I think Maghoma was very unlucky not to score, a great shot was stopped by some equally great defending. Also, I’ll look forward to seeing more of Greg Stewart. He looks to have an excellent touch and that pass to Cotterill was inch perfect and should have resulted in a goal.

      All in all, things are looking bright.

      • WayCoolBlue says:

        It’s Hard to think that some supports said Stewart is garbage and we should have just used Wes Tomas instead of letting him go. What they don’t know is he was averaging 16 goals a season in the SPL with 11 assists all from the wing. I Said then he will be a good player for us and I stick by that same as I did when we signed mags another player a lot of supports didn’t think was up to much. But he as now shot most of them up. Stewart given the chance will be even better.

  • Danno a nogo says:

    How many blues games do you actually go out and watch? Almost every other game review begins with “I wasn’t at the match…”

  • Swedish Bluenose says:

    It was because of Che Adams’ attacks we got the two penalties. It feels like he is already a first-11 player. I like it! Just hoping Greg Stewart will get a chance as well.

  • Brummie Brian says:

    A good comment Dan,i agree 100%

  • ian says:

    i want Rob Teache take it pen Not Donaldson he missed pen twice time !!!!

  • rhees says:

    Got to be happy at present future looking a lot brighter
    Watched vile game there was nothing to frighten us there.
    Long way to go yet obviously but I’m enjoying the ride so far.asusual Dan great post enjoyed reading it and interesting points to ponder

  • Colin Carberry says:

    I, too, only watched it on an Interweb feed, but it really was a breath of fresh air to see a Rowett team really getting in the opponents’ faces, pressing the ball in midfield, forcing errors then intelligently using Maghoma as the Out Man. Evans caused them no end of problems with his aggression and directness, Tesche really made things happen with his runs from midfield whilst at the back Morrison and Shotton looked calm, composed and well-organised. The best team performance I’ve seen from Blues for a VERY long time. Very encouraging.

  • River says:

    Get Greg Stewart on I say he is quality his final ball is superb,looking forward to seeing the scot in action,I watched his progress 2yrs ago when at Dundee and his assists and goals were aplenty.

  • River says:

    Oh and thanks Dan for another great post

  • Stan Moye says:

    Great day out for me and the Mrs, went on the official coach, but living in Wales we had a two hour journey each way, but well worth it. Craven Cottage is like stepping back in time, fantastic atmosphere generated by the Blues supporters, good selection of food and drinks and helpful staff, all rounded off by a great TEAM performance, could and should have been more, but three points all the same, loads of things to be positive about. We looked very strong and in control for large periods of the game, not sure why we played in red, and the players coming over to us at the end was much appreciated. Fantastic day out, well organised by the Blues too, well done.

  • ChrisG says:

    I think the final piece to the jigsaw could be Royse Wiggins forcing himself into the team & hopefully proving a better LB than Grounds. You mentioned the partnership of Morrison & Shotton Dan & have to agree they’re starting to play well together, it’s amazing how much of a difference it makes to a player when they’re played in their best position, I was at QPR last season when GR played Shotton at RB and he was diabolical but now he looks totally assured in the centre of defense

  • Jazzzy786 says:

    Adams has looked class since he’s come here. Finally we have a half decent partnership up front. The defence is looking solid and the midfield trio looks excellent. It’ll be a long time before the likes of Fabbrini, Gleeson and Caddis get back in the side. I’m glad to see Brown being picked ahead of Gleeson. If its working don’t change it.

  • theguvna says:

    I went to the game, I love our trips to Fulham for so many reasons and never miss this game.

    Notwithstanding the fact that Fulham had ten men for half the game, we thoroughly outplayed them.We harried them and constantly won the ball back high up the field. Fulham, to their credit, tried to play out from the back, but weren’t good enough to do it under the constant pressure from our front players.

    Che Adams has added a different dimension to our attacking play and looks a cracking player. He twists and turns, and runs powerfully at defenders. There’s a lot more to come from this lad.

    Mags was lively, but as someone else said, he needs to improve his final ball. He gets in good positions but often wastes the opportunity by crossing poorly.

    For me, man of the match was Ryan Shotton.he was immense. He headed everything away and was an absolute rock. He looks a top defender at this level. My only criticism of him is that he has an error in him, which can occasionally be costly. On Saturday, he was magnificent and together with Morrison, theywere virtually impregnable.

    When I walked out after the Wolves game, I was so dispirited. Not just because we’d lost at home, but the manner of the defeat. We appeared demotivated and lacking conviction. Some players were more guilty than others. Is it any coincidence that our upturn in form and increased urgency has coincided with the omissions of Gleeson and Cotterill?

    • Shirley Blue says:

      I think Kieftenbeld, Davis and Tesche give us the right balance in midfield in this division. They can all get stuck in which is necessary in a physical league but can all get forward too when the opportunity arises. Gleeson and Cotterill are both good technical players but perhaps both are a bit lightweight when it comes to a battle. The same could be said for Fabbrini. They were all shoe-ins before so it shows that the squad is slowly but surely improving.

  • Lich Blues says:

    Another great day in Fulham yesterday, a great day out. I think Che Adams has made a huge difference to us as we now have more of a link between midfield and attack with the Don getting far more support to allow his hard work to be more effective.

    I think Teche is great in midfield and I certainly wouldn’t drop him. The midfield just looks so solid with him on the pitch.

    As for the defence, Shotton and Morrison are rock solid at the moment. A pleasure to watch. My only real concern in defence is Spector. A couple of times yesterday (late in the second half) he was caught completely unaware by the Fulham winger and a shot flashed accross the goal. Thankfully neither effort resulted in a goal.

    Having said all that – we look far more balance and cohesive as a team at the moment. We just need to take more of the chances.


  • Hillfield Blues says:

    Shottons addition as a partner for Morrison and the Tesche,Kieftenbild pairing in midfield has given us a spine of which the whole team can benefit.
    Gleeson has always been too lightweight and although Davis is honest he lacks ability with the ball.Cotterill is inconsistent and when he’s not switched on he gives the ball away in dangerous areas far to often.
    I think our new found solidity through the middle of the team promotes our attacking options and Che Adams is like breath of fresh air up front.I wouldn’t discount Fabrini’s role now our style is slowly evolving into a 4-4-2 which gives him more of an opportunity than when we just played on the counter.

  • I believe the two up front should train as a pair in passing , the two central midfield players , and also the two centrebacks should do the same , two create a solid spine ..then the whole team , should train on laying the ball off to fullback and wingers , and the two wingers should train together crossing to each other , with the whole team training to block shots and passes and all passes and good positioning to shield shots at goal ect , but for me the training in pairs makes it . ..

  • Dave Mann says:

    And a pair of wins back to back and a pair of clean sheets makes a good pair also William so ime all for it mate .. another win at Reading tomorrow and home win against the Owls live on Sky Saturday would be another great pair of results so let’s keep it going and keep those combinations ticking along . KRO

  • Charlie says:

    Anyone know good streaming sites to get blues away games? Never able to find one myself KRO

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    It’s looking like a much better transfer window than January. TTA have released significantly more money no doubt as a result of more due diligence (Ewan Chester) and the impending positive outcomes from the EGM. One couldn’t blame them being reticent beforehand when as creditors (albeit secured) to liquidate those assets ie Is not easy to do in the short term. The EGM results sees them acting in a difference way.

  • Maggs says:

    There’s been a bit of criticism of GR recently. Superb performance v Fulham from tmhe team that he has built. Time to give credit where credit is due

  • The Flying Pig says:

    Great day out at Fulham, spoilt slightly be being barred from entry to the pubs after the game, with one Doorman telling us “there’s been trouble, with 200 arrests and we’ve been told not to let you lot in” – I didn’t see any bother at all.

    As stated elsewhere Adams has been key to our better showings in the past couple of games. He floats around and the opposition find it hard to pick him up. A special mention too for the ‘Pole in Goal’ who pulled off an outstanding save from Crainey (who looked like a quality player).

    Specs was probably our weakest player, he looks bereft of confidence again after a couple of great tackles (perhaps goal saving ones) in the games v Dogheads and Norwich.

  • GR is doing all right , but needs to be kept on his toes . Jutkiewiczis is next in line to the Don for penalties followed by Kief and Fab …according to stats…

    • BhamCityJulian says:

      Beware that Jutkiewicz has not scored any penalties whilst on the bench :-)

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Rowett has said that Donaldson will continue as penalty taker, but if he misses again, that decision will be reviewed.

      The thing that baffled me, was that Donaldson said he never practices taking penalties… and Rowett seemed surprised. :-S

  • Gerrard hehir says:

    Great victory. Early days yet, but never the less a great three points. Fulham are no mugs! Lets just keep momentum going and let everyone talk about the big boys spending sugar daddy’s cash.
    Theres going to be ups and downs remember. Dont get too excited with a couple of victories, dont get too downbeat about a couple of losses! Keep right on people. Gr we trust.

  • Andrew says:

    We will never score many with Donaldson up front. Time to give fabbrini or brown a chance in place of Donaldson. Think his ‘qualities’ are overhyped sometimes and should be deployed occasionally not every game

  • Dave Mann says:

    Donaldson will stay in the team if he keeps scoring the goals that won us the last two games Andrew so you might have to wait a while mate . KRO

    • Andrew says:

      Like i said over hyped, hes good but not our best option, and the goals he scored are sitters really. yes winning goals but anyone could do so

      • Dave Mann says:

        Who’s our best option Andrew ? .. Donaldson was on the bench last night and Lukey jukey player up front and mist a sitter from six yards , Fabbrini is out of favour ..0-0 last night mate .. Like you said we score more goals when Donaldson is not playing :-) KRO

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