Often Partisan

The Comeback Kids Strike Again – Blues v Brugge review

Here are my reflections on the Birmingham City v Club Brugge Europa League group stage game:

1) A decent result

I thought before the game that a draw would be a good result, and as it turned out I think it was a fair reflection of the game. Neither side were particularly good; I thought Blues were pretty sloppy at the back at times and for a while absolutely toothless up front. Brugge on the other hand completely lost their heads after the first goal went in and I thought their indiscipline was the consequence of a lack of confidence brought about by their recent streak of losing games from winning positions. I can also say that like the away game, I correctly called what the final score would be when talking about it in the stands at half time. Go me.

2) David Murphy

If Liam Ridgewell is back in at left back for the away game against Reading and Murphy isn’t dead or dying, I will not be happy. Once again Murph showed us why he should be in the team – got up and down the left flank all game, played some good touches, made some good challenges and rattled the woodwork with a pearler of a free kick that beat the keeper all ends up. It seems common knowledge Ridgewell wants out – if that’s the case then why stick with him when we’ve got a player in top form who can do a better job?

3) Guirane N’Daw

I’ve heard a few people describe as Tebily the second and I think it’s an accurate, if a little harsh description of our Senegalese midfield destroyer. He’s certainly got Tebily’s physique, and his 30 yard left foot thunderbolt (which was brilliantly saved by the Brugge keeper – absolutely world class save) was eerily reminiscent of Tebily hitting one from about the same range against Peter Cech’s crossbar. However, I think N’Daw has a bit more skill than Tebs did; he’s certainly got a good range of passing when he’s going – he absolutely pinged a couple of cross field passes – and he’s not as much of a bombscare as Tebs was. I’d really like to see N’Daw play in the Championship – I think he could do very well.

4) Jean Beausejour

It was a bit of a curate’s egg of a game for Beausejour – he lost the ball on a few occasions, he ran into blind alleys and didn’t seem as energetic as Murphy behind him. However, he scored one, made the other by winning a penalty and looked one of our best threats at scoring during most of the game. He’s suspended for the Reading game, and I honestly believe the break will do him some good now – he may be off to play with Chile but hopefully he’ll be given chance to recharge his batteries somewhat also.

5) Colin Doyle

I have to say, my confidence in Blues’ longest serving player is gone – I don’t think he’s good enough between the sticks and it seems that his defence doesn’t trust him either – for instance Caldwell heading one out for a corner rather than letting Doyle claim it. Doyle is at a position in his career where he may need to move on to play regular football – with Butland showing lots of promise out on loan it might well be we go with the young Bristolian on the bench in the second half of the season and let Doyle move on.

Overall, it was a good game – but the result leaves our position in the group fairly precarious. Bascially, we need to get a result in Braga – a draw or better as defeat to the Portuguese side and a Club Brugge win in Maribor will mean that they can play out a draw in the last game and we can’t catch them however we do against the Slovenes at home. Win against Braga though, and we’re effectively through. Let’s hope we don’t need to make another comeback to keep our European dream alive.


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19 Responses to “The Comeback Kids Strike Again – Blues v Brugge review”

  • Oldbluenose says:

    With you all the way, re;, Murphy,!!. Think he needs to be played regulaly from now on in,!!.

  • AR says:

    Agree with you wholeheartedly about Doyle, N’Daw & Beausejour; however Murphy’s defending for me is very suspect. He was on the wrong side of his man for the first goal from the corner, & where was he for the second? I know Beausejour gave the ball away but the defence down our left flank was non-existent for that second goal. Overall our defence tonight looked suspect without Myhill, Carr, Davies & Ridgewell. I think not all the blame for this lies at Murphy’s feet, but he contributed to that uncertainty.

  • Wingman Blue says:

    You don’t mention Keith Fahey. He’s not dynamic. Ok, he woke up in the second half, but too often he passes back and the momentum is lost. Occaisionally he can produce a fine tackle or a good pass forward, but he isn’t dependable, neither does he graft 24-7. I wouldn’t sob if he and Liam Ridgewell departed, but Jean Beausejour we must keep. He’s a grafter.

  • Donny says:

    Blues shot themselves in the foot by a silly team selection -yes i know about the priority of the league and CH is doing a fantastic job but I know with Burke and King or Wood starting instead of Rooney we would have won – and why not play a stronger team when you’ve got a full house.

    CH could have then rested a whole first 11 for the Braga game which in all honesty we will lose becuase they are a better side than us. We then could look forward to Maribor at home knowing a win would send us through.

    We are now reliant on Maribor doing us a favour and at the very least getting a draw against Bruges. If Bruges win that one its all over and it will be very annoying becuase of the great position Blues got themselves in.

    I was even looking at what champions league teams we might get in the knockout after the win 2 weeks ago – I never learn…bring on Reading!!!! Hurrah!!!!

  • AR says:

    “Why not play a stronger team when you’ve got a full house”. What has a full house got to do with team selection? Several players were knackered against Brighton & this is why we rested so many for part of the match to-night.

    • hammy says:

      couldnt agree more AR……were at a stage where its do or die…..its been great fun, but lets go for it….

      clough used to just send his players home, no training, just play games, when the fixtures mounted up, and this is what we should be doing…..

      if we dont put out our best 11at braga its adios amigo’s…..

      back to the team….FAHEY….how the hell did this guy ever make pro????…..woeful cowardly player….no spine no bottle……again last night, as always, a passenger………..

      i cannot, for the life of me, understand how this guy gets to pull on a shirt…..

      NDAW looked much better…..ZIGIC not his best game…….CALDWELL….worsed game ive seen him play for us……MURPH….superb……DOYLE….worrying……..KING, WOOD, and BURKE, as always looked the part……BEAUJO….although he wasnt at his best, where would we have been without him last night???…..a key player for us……

      and even with us not firing on all cylinders, we came back from 2 down, and really, could have won it…..well done to them all!!!……barr FAHEY…..

  • skareggae72 says:

    My heart misses a beat whenever the ball is passed back to Doyle.If Doyle,Ridge & Zigic all left in January for £ i dont think it would harm us too much.Dont sell Beausejour (comparisons Jean Beausejour/Louie Donowa?)

  • Ted says:

    I utterly agree with Mr. 72. However, I still think Zig may improve with game time. Jean is the man and cannot be sold under any circumstances! Kro

  • figo says:

    Murphy is first and foremost a defender who can’t defend. His positionining is appauling and lost his man for the first goal. Second goal the ball again came down his side and did not get back. Nice free kick but ultimately paid to defend I don’t think he gets a regular run because both managers have seen his defensive short falls.

  • Tony Gough says:

    Bit dissapointed with a draw(and team selection) as expectations are now so high but a draw keeps us in the right direction.Almajir,i havent posted before,anywhere but as an exiled Bluenose id like to thank you so much for your superb site.We expats suffer from lack of good info and general Blues stuff(but not Blue passion) your site gives us that and much more!I have Bluenose mates in Aussie,Brazil,US,Canada,Spain and of course here in Thailand who follow your site,like me with fervour and look forward to your comments.Please keep up your great work,im sure its so time consuming for you but it means so much to us.Im comming over for the Braga game,then on to another 5 games.I just cant miss the Blue Boys in Europe.Here i come-thanks so much. KRO.

  • Blue Steve says:

    Completely agree Almajir. The were quite few changes and as time passes with our relatively new squad we are getting a better idea of new players abilities. I would like to see N’Daw start at Reading I thought he had a decent game. I was not impressed with Rooney or Doyle last night.

    Like you say we now need a point in Braga really which will be very tough. They beat Maribor 5-1 at home last night. Maybe with our first choice back 4 this will be attainable though. KRO

  • ScudMuffin says:

    hmm…Murphy not picking up his marks was the reason two balls ended up in the net. attacking yes, motm no as I. expect him to pick up marks. Doyle was good, cauldwell clearing the ball out with a header was down to a defensive Cock up and the Bruge player chasing the ball down. cauldwell had the choice of obstructing/fouling in the box, beating the attacker to the ball or leaving Doyle to risk fouling the attacker giving away a penalty and getting sent off in the process. iirc it was Murphy who let that ball through.

  • Smokinjon says:

    RE needing a point at leat in Braga, that too is my fear. However, do not underestimate Maribor at home. In European competitions, I believe they have only lost 1 at home in the last 10 games, ours really was a good result there!. Braga have already dropped 2 points there and there is no certainty that it will be a walkover for Bruges. I still have a feeling 10 points may be enough, though we must stop conceding soft first goals :)

  • Denis Thwaites says:

    Excellent article. The reflections made mirror my own. Doyle is an accident waiting to happen. He was glued to his line last night and when he did come off it he made the wrong decisions and spread panic through the defence. Myhill has improved massively in recent weeks and should have played but think CH must probably thought I will give Doyle a game to help his confidence Unfortunately he is beyond that now. Murphy is beginning to win me over. He may make a few mistakes but he gets up and down the wing and for me just needs more games. Ridgwell is disinterested and either hopeless or negative in the opponents half when asked to deliver a cross. The first goal last night was not a direct fault of Murphy’s. The initial errors were by Pablo who got caught out and then Caldwell, The ball should have been cut out long before it got to Meunier who I agree then reacted first. N’Daw I agree should be tried in the Championship although I think he might end up being sent off if he plays orthodox midfield. For me this guy has everything but pace which is a vital commodity even at Championship level. If CH can wants someone to sit in front of the back four and break up the play and then give it simple he is the man for the job. Beasejour who was awful against brighton started off in the same mode last night and was totally responsible for the 2nd goal. I am a big fan of Beau and my faith was restored in his second half display in which he was back to hiss best. Fantastic comeback in a game which at half time I though was beyond us and yet after the 3 subs were made I thought we could have gone on and won. Another 6 changes at least for the Reading game I guess!

  • ScudMuffin says:

    Gonna disagree on the first goal no being murphies fault, the man he was supposed to be marking put it in the net. While Beau did start off that run that led to the second goal Murph let his man get away from him, ball went in the net. I don’t care who starts it, the defence and the keeper stop it. Yeah, Pab and Caldwell got cault out, they didn’t let their marks shoot though. Like your thought of Ewok as a CDM. Still don’t think Doyle was anywhere near as bad as people are making out.

  • Denis Thwaites says:

    I don’t want to be found guilty of over protecting Murph but for me it was just a case of slack defensive work all round for the first goal and not down to one man. Also my take on Doyle is that “In Bruges” everytime we conceded a corner Myhill came and plucked the cross out of the air and they never had a sniff from a corner whereas last night they looked like they were going to score everytime we conceded a corner. The reason for me was Doyle not having any confidence to come off his line and in my opinion he caused panic within his defence. I am sorry given that he is a long servant of the club that he would be better served by moving on but personally MT at 40 something would still do a better job between the sticks. Putting the individual criticism aside what I should say is that how proud I am to be a blue nose watching these games in Europe. Credit where credit is due CH keeps shuffling the pack and his teams keep on delivering. I did not imagine we would get to 7 points after 4 games in this comp so whatever happens now for me is a bonus but its hard not to wish for more now we have got this far.,

  • AR says:

    Can anyone throw any light on the fact that Redmond is not being used? I know he’s only17 but Burke has played a lot & could be tired. Does anyone know in what position Elliott played for Burnley? He doesn’t look happy out wide.

    • bluenoseneil says:

      Elliott was both a wide man and a central midfield player for Burnley and it’s his versatility that I think CH likes and we can use. It doesn’t hurt to have those utility players available to us (Spector, Fahey, Murphy and Beausejour are all adaptable).

      Re: last nights game I was in the Kop and watched Beau lumping about in the first half, and said to my Dad he needed to come off. Glad he didn’t as the 2nd half display won us a point.

      Rooney and Zigic looked totally ineffectual as a partnership (too slow!!), and King and Wood should’ve been on the pitch 10 mins earlier to make a real impact.

      I was impressed by N’Daw and Murphy in particular. When it comes to Murph I think he is better going forward than Ridge this season and for that reason he may be the better option. Then again we have Wood, KIng, Burke, Beausejour et al all capable of getting us goals. Perhaps he needs to sit…a little?

      Redmond isn’t getting games because Beau is a better player and CH knows better than us to rush the kid into the limelight when he has an international player to pacify, who quite honestly shouldn’t BE in this league. It’s easier to let the kid down, isn’t it?

      I think we can beat Maribor but Braga away I fear will be tricky. I think we may need to rely on Bruges slipping up.

      For the time being let’s muller Reading and Peterborough and get ourselves up that Championship table!!


  • Thedoctor says:

    One thing that might come into play in the final Europa League table is that we have a better record overall against Bruges than they do (an away win and a point at home). What that means is that if we both come level on points, then we will be above them in the table. So if we lose in Braga and beat Maribor, while Bruges beat Maribor and lose to Braga, we`ll be above them. If if if…

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