Often Partisan

The Redmond Factor – Blues v Burnley match review

Here are my reflections on the match between Blues and Burnley.

1) Nearly threw it away

When the Burnley goal went in, the first thing that went through my head was how this game was looking like a repeat of Saturday’s performance. Another first half where we marmelised a visiting team, and yet only scored one when we really should have had three or four. However. unlike Saturday we had a game-changer on the bench, and Redmond’s introduction sparked a revival which finished with a goal and three points. However, it was pleasing that we created more chances this time – and our central midfield didn’t shy away as much when called upon to push forwards.

2) Nathan Redmond

I’ve been saying on here for a while that I think the young lad deserves a place on the bench, and for my money the Burnley game has proven that. Redmond’s pace, trickery and unpredictability sparked the fans into voice and gave the Burnley back four something new to worry about. What helped was how well Nathan linked up with Murphy, who had another good game at left back. The goal was as a result of a nice bit of interplay between the two which took out the Burnley defence and gave Murphy all the time in the world to put a ball on a plate to stick in the net. Hopefully we might see a bit more of the teenage winger.

3) Nikola Zigic

Having criticised the Big Zig recently I think it’s only fair I compliment him for his performance. He may not have scored but his linkup play was excellent; he held the ball up well up field and gave us an out ball if we needed to get it out of defence quickly. I’m mystified how some people don’t think he’s a footballer; his control on his chest once again was really good, and he looked to play good simple balls to help us advance up the pitch. More of that please Nikola.

4) Keith Fahey and Jonathan Spector

Similarly, I have to give credit to the central two. Both of them broke up play well, looked for the ball – but more importantly, were a bit more assertive going forwards. Keith Fahey has sometimes looked a bit out of confidence in his ability to shoot but he took a couple of efforts – one of them narrowly fizzing over the bar leaving the Burnley keeper grasping thin air. This assertiveness is what they’ve been missing – when they help push on we look a stronger unit going forwards and it gives more options to players looking to play the ball in.

5) Marlon King

The one down point in the match was King – or rather, King’s miss. From eight yards out with the goal gaping, you’d expect a striker of the calibre of Marlon to stick it in the net but his effort summed up his night really – promised much, delivered little. He looked a bit knackered towards the end and I wasn’t surprised to see Chris Wood come on for him. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Marlon dropped for the next game.

I was worried when their goal went in that Blues would once again fall away and drop a couple of points they easily could have won – however I think Hughton got his changes spot on and Burnley found out to their cost (as we often did last season) that playing for a draw with half an hour left often leaves you getting nothing. Let’s hope Blues can build on this and get a good result at the weekend.

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24 Responses to “The Redmond Factor – Blues v Burnley match review”

  • ScudMuffin says:

    dont agree with spot on changes, should have subbed king earlier. fahey didn’t have to worry about being overridden due to spector doing more of the holding role. also burnley didn’t really look up for it at all for the first half. they got a boost in the second, grew into it from there.

  • BowThai says:

    I agree with you on two fronts.Redmond needs to be on the bench at least. a) we need someone to come on who can change the game/add to it.b) Hes now past training with the first team for experience,what he needs is game time,even if its only 20 mins per game.Also Zigic has always been able to play football,he has a good touch and good vision.He just cant head a ball!

  • JohnR says:

    A very good summary. I agree with you on all points. I also think that King could do with a rest, his confidence must be shot after that ”miss”.
    Beausejour scored a fantastic goal but overall I thought he had a poor game. He really does need to stop giving away silly free kicks in dangerous areas. Surely Houghton needs to have strong words with him. However when he is on his game he is still one of our better players.
    Strange one about Zigic and his heading ability, when defending he gets in some really powerful headers but he fails to attack the ball in the opposition six yard box which is why his headers are weak. Having said that his all round play was much better and he had his best game of the season so far.
    Finally Redmond, he showed just what an attacking threat he is when he runs at the defenders, his link up play with Murphy was outstanding and lead to us scoring a really good goal. I think we just have to accept that he is still a very young player and he will have his good games and poor games. Consistency will come with experience. He has to be on the bench every game as he is a potential game changer.

  • AuldBertie says:

    Good summary of how I also saw the game: I concur with most of what you say. I could not believe the King miss and thought it totally deflated the team for a while. It definitely looked a case of deja vu when Burnley equalised. We huffed and puffed until Redmond’s introduction who again produced a great little cameo performance. To have lost 2 points again after saturday would have been a travesty and could have severely damaged morale ahead of some tough away games. Hopefully this will see a run of at least substitute appearances from Redmond. I am amongst those still to be convinced of Fahey and Spector’s worth to the team but last night, a few stray passes aside, I though they both had decent games.

  • skareggae72 says:

    Great to see Zigic having a decent game(also helps to push up interest in him,and also the transfer fee,as im sure he will move on in January).His heading is very much a “mixed bag”,im sure we wouldnt have won the League Cup Final,if it wasnt for some fine headers from the big Serb,so he can do it,although he is likely to make a hash of basic stuff,only moments later,and look like a parks player.

  • AR says:

    I agree with the opinions expressed about Redmond,Zigic,Fahey & Spector (the latter two being merely adequate last night). Where I disagree is about Marlon King. Yes, his miss was awful, but he is a very skilful footballer & if he were dropped,our attack would lack those touches & lay-offs that are so necessary. If Wood does not score, he doesn’t bring much else to the team; King will score & provides an ability to hold the ball up & very good ball control.

  • hammy says:

    fahey was yet again….woefull….gave the ball away again and again….but at least he got a couple of efforts off at last…….this is the last positional element ch needs to address….central mid…..

    well done to the lads for an excellent couple of goals and a hard earned victory….

    and yet again murphy showed hes a far far better option than ridgewell….


    • AuldBertie says:

      I was in the 1875 bar before the match and the screen showed the Blues line-up with Ridgewell in for Murphy and Murphy not even on the bench! Everyone gave the screen a totally incredulous stare hardly believing that CH could make such a decision. Thankfully it was rectified before kick-off and, as you say, Murphy put in another fine performance, certainly better than we’ve come to expect from Ridgewell. His role in the winning goal was superb.

  • Lichfield Blue says:

    I think that Curtis Davies had another good game last night and Caldwell has really come into his own after a decidedly dodgy start. Murphy seems to be growing in confidence by the game and Carr was his usual reliable energetic self. Our problem was principally about [not] scoring as it was on Saturday; however, I agree with AR’s comment on King

    Once they’d equalised, Burnley became tough to break down; I think I’d forgotten what is was like before when teams were content to take a point and the fans inevitably start to get restless which cranks up the pressure further still. Both Beausejour and Burke were not getting past their full-backs and I think we needed Redmond on a little earlier as he gave their right back [who looked pretty good to me] something else to think about. A couple of thoughts come to mind:
    a) Spector is adequate as a holding midfielder but he’s not going to give us incisive forward passing and we may have to start gambling a little more towards the end of games if we need to break down sides. i accept CH’s options are limited just now.
    b) Earlier on this season, CH was playing Beausejour in a central midlfield role and I wondered if he might again try that as an option?

  • Denis Thwaites says:

    I predicted last night on the preview that CH would make only one change ie Zigic for Wood but that it would be interesting to see if N’Daw would be given a chance in central mid amongst all the criticism of Fahey and Spector or whether there really is something in the theory that if he plays then Blues will have to cough up some form of payment to his parent club. Fahey and Spector started and were more prominent last night than they have been with the former looking tidy until he attempted to make a telling pass when it inevitably goes wrong for him. The midfielder that got sacrificed for young Redmond last night was of course Beau who seemed to lose his confidence after a deja vu Peterborough moment where he gave away a dangerous free kick. A mention for Davies again who seems to get better and more assured with every game and Murph who now gives us a lot better balance on the left than Ridgwell does. Big Zig very encouraging game last night but more so on the deck than in the air which is where he shuld be lethal. And finally N’Daw. Not even on the subs bench last night but i bet he starts in Braga.

  • Sheldon man says:

    As with Murphy’s miss on saturday, the King howler certainly changed the game and you just knew that Burnley would equalise. However they stuck to the task and despite edginess in the crowd, kept going forward,. The other game changer of course was Redmond, who was superb and, as someone mentioned, linked up well with Murphy.I like the way the team approach matches in terms of attack, but my biggest criticism is the decision making on the final pass or cross around the opposition box. So often we get in to good positions and the ball is played into ineffective areas without even working the goalkeeper. Beausejour is the worst culprit with crosses reminding me of Jesper Gronkjaer at the moment, despite having a sweet left foot ! Also, his general play was off last night and too often slowed the game from good positions, however I must congratulate him on a reall good finish for the goal.

  • Sheep says:

    Excellent article, as always.

    Big Zig, like many very tall players, is never going to the most determined-looking and physical player. Firstly, refs will always treat him much more harshly because of his size. If he pushed and held defenders the way the Burnley defence pushed and held him last night, he wouldn’t last half a match without a red. He can’t go in like Horsefield used to; he’d be penalised constantly as defenders would go down screaming blue murder, and refs would always take against him because of his size.

    Secondly, he’s bigger than a human is designed to be. The extra strain of his weight and the potential leverage a bad fall or knock could get on his long bones could lead to injury much more easily than for a shorter player; big lads know this instinctively and avoid the roughest collisions and tangles.

    He therefore doesn’t throw himself at headers in challenges with opposition defenders; this isn’t his strength and could never be his style of play. All this means he doesn’t always look like the sort of up-for-it trier we like on the Tilton. But he is still a very effective player, much more so than he is usually given credit for. He played a part in the build up for the first goal, selflessly put King through for what should have been an easy goal, and he showed great alertness and intelligence for the winner by leading two defenders out of the way so that Burke was unmarked when Murphy slotted it to him.

    We have been getting in very well down the wings recently, but goals haven’t flowed as freely as we would have hoped. We look most dangerous when we put in low hard crosses; this suits Zig’s and King’s style of play much better than higher looping crosses.


  • AR says:

    I hesitate to make any sort of criticism about CH, because I think he has done a brilliant job. But does anyone else think that he delays the introduction of a substitute too long. (last night for example Redmond). Also if I was N’Daw I would wonder what I had to do to break into the team in central midfield.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    I was on the Colin Tattum webcall yesterday and a lot of calling for Redmond to play a part. Delighted to see him come on and play so incisively. Beausejour once again overstriking the ball, caught in possession too often, stray passes and giving away pointless free kicks in dangerous positions. Would still play him at this stage for his strength going forward, his ball winning skills and creativity. Agree with comments about CH procrastinating over substitutions, it should not have taken 35 minutes for CH to realise King wasnt involved in the second half. Some despair to see Beausejour off whilst Fahey stayed on. Some concern at the Blues failure to attack the ball for a second game despite a good service of accurate crosses. All in all remain optimistic. The team is gelling every match and cant wait to go to Blackpool on saturday!! KRO.

  • Trevor Honnor says:

    Last night, Redmond made a massive difference and Burnley looked petrified when he got the ball. Rightly so! He was brilliant and very direct. He deserves more time on the pitch. Stating the obvious I know.

    Spector and Fahey in the middle were by far our weakness last night. They may have provided some protection for the back four but we didn’t need both of them sitting so deep for so long.

    Saying that, I think Burnleys goal was a shot from outside the area where I would expect to see a holding midfielder (anyone actually) charging out to block/tackle. I don’t remember seeing anyone do this.

    As the game went on Fahey started showing up in the Burnley half but seemed clueless (confidence perhaps?) when he had the ball. He gave it away when he attempted anything other than a 5 yard pass to feet. I’ve already forgotten Spectors contribution but compared to the likes of Zigic, Murphy, Carr, Burke and Redmond it wasn’t very much.

    We desperately need someone in the middle who can pick out a pass and get one of our wingers running into the channels. Our back four doesn’t need that much protection (2 holding midfielders) against teams like Burnley, at home.

    We aren’t playing negative football but we are starting to create less chances per game and I suspect our strikers are suffering in front of goal for it. If they have 10 – 15 chances per game and score 3 then everyone is happy. They aren’t getting this and I believe it stems from a weakness in midfield – especially in the opponents half.

    Having said that, I would take a 2-1 against anyone at the moment.

  • Bluehobba says:

    One thing ive noticed about this Blues side is that they keep playing for the 90 minutes. A credit to Chris Hughton.

  • DoctorD says:

    The perfect tonic for the Blackpool game — don’t forget Barry Ferguson and Kevin Phillips will be in their team for sure. I’m intrigued how we will deal with the old boys.

  • jeff says:

    redmond lifted the crowd.he did well .please dan get the opta stats for fahey.im sure his ball retention ratio is way above average.if c.h wanted him playing behind the forwards bombing the box all game i think thats what we,d see.fahey actually sets alot of our tempo

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