Often Partisan

Huffing and Puffing… the Palace Review

Here are my reflections on the 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Please note I was watching this game via the miracle of Sky Sports 1.

1) Like the Big Bad Wolf…

…trying to blow down the third little piggy’s house there was lots of huff and puff but no end-product. On their first half showing Blues should have had more efforts on goal – only Redmond’s swerving drive had Speroni worried – and once again, it bit us on the arse as we let Palace back into the game further and further and in the end their goal was always going to be the inevitable conclusion. Blues tried to re-spark it in the remaining few minutes but Palace have a rock solid defence at home and it was just a case of closing us out, which they duly did.

2) Corners

By my reckoning Blues haven’t scored from a corner since late August when Rooney struck after David Murphy nodded down a Beausejour flag-kick to equalise against Watford at Vicarage Road. Nearly four months without a goal from a corner is pretty woeful, especially considering how much we profited from them last year. Tonight Blues did have some good corners – but we just don’t seem to attack them as well as we did last year – I’d like to see more thundering headers from players making a run into the box. We don’t seem to be able to scramble home any when the ball drops in the box either. Definitely something to work on on the training ground.

3) David Murphy

One plus point for me is the continuing resurgence of Murphy in the left back slot. The tackle to prevent Nathaniel Clyne from scoring in the first half is as good as you’ll ever see; overall his defensive work was good and I thought Murphy was probably more of a threat crossing on the left than Redmond. Murph’s return to form hopefully means that if and when Ridgewell does get sold, we won’t really miss him.

4) Nathan Redmond

I said in the comments on the preview piece that I thought Redmond would have a tough time of it if picked to play, and I think I was justified in my comment as I believe Clyne nullified the young winger as a threat – in the second half Redmond barely touched the ball and I think I’d have taken him off sooner to try to change tactics. As fans we have to accept Redmond is only 17, he’s not going to beat the world week in week out and sometimes he’s going to have games like this one. It’s a learning curve, and people need to be realistic when they call for Nathan to start every week.

5) Nikola Zigic

How the worm has turned and the mighty have fallen. Hailed a hero in February for scoring the winner against the Villa, bossing the Hammers out of the semi and scoring in the final, Zigic is about as popular in some quarters right now as a kentucky fried dog turd.  Whilst I think Mr Zigic hasn’t played too brilliantly recently, I think we have to take into account his confidence is low and it’s affecting his game. I love the comments about getting rid of him too – Zigic has 2.5 years left on a cushy deal – it’s going to take someone paying a wedge, whether it being another team or Blues to move on the Serb, and right now Blues aren’t supposed to have the proverbial pot to piss in.

I’m disappointed in the scoreline, but my sky isn’t falling in and I’m not going to cut my wrists over it. Palace have only lost once at home all season, they haven’t conceded a goal to an opposition player in god knows how long (the last home goal they conceded was an og) and they’re set up to defend very well. It’s a setback, yes, but maybe only a small one in the marathon that is the forty-six game Championship season.

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27 Responses to “Huffing and Puffing… the Palace Review”

  • almajir says:

    Please comment on the game here and nowhere else. Thanks

  • Graham says:

    I thought Palace desered the win. We didn’t create any chances and was falling asleep watching the boring tactics employed by Hughton. Should have changed hings much sooner

  • Violent Pacifist says:

    People just can’t accept what we are, an average squad and that’s pretty much it.

    Don’t blame CH, he is dealing with mediocrity apart from a few.

    Get used to it brother, mid table side and no hope of getting any quality in

    Stay loyal, stay true, stay Blue.

  • alexjhurley says:

    I’ll take the positives tonight. Matched palace in all departments, bossing the first half. Overall a point would have been a far fairer reflection of the game.

    Nonetheless I agree lack of threat / cutting edge is becoming a worry. In c.h. we must trust.

  • Letsby Avenue says:

    Not Good.

    Your comments, not the match. :-(

    Ridicule by metaphor and criticism by simile are not the tools of straightforward reporting.

    As you yourself will have said, being at the match, is a bit different to watching TV or 2 minute clips in the web.

    I know you have the excuse of “opinion”, but unless that opinion is balanced, what is the point of taking you seriously?

    “I’m disappointed in the scoreline, but my sky isn’t falling in and I’m not going to cut my wrists over it. Palace have only lost once at home all season, they haven’t conceded a goal to an opposition player in god knows how long (the last home goal they conceded was an og) and they’re set up to defend very well. It’s a setback, yes, but maybe only a small one in the marathon that is the forty-six game Championship season”

    Your final paragraph is one I totally agree with. So why the preceeding stuff.?
    First half Palace had 2 shots on goal to Blues’ 6.
    Full time – (corners again?) – Blues had 11 to Palace’s 5.
    That is indicative of the approach and intent.

    That we fail to punish or deliver is the problem. Not scapegoating and ridiculing.

    We all hurt Am. But in defeat we need support.

    • almajir says:

      I disagree.

      Who’s scapegoating and ridiculing? The fact is we showed a lot of huff and puff, we had a lot of time on the ball – all good, but we can’t stick it in the net. We barely made their keeper work. We haven’t scored a goal from a corner in four months meaning one major offensive outlet isn’t working, and it is costing us. It’s truth.

      It’s all well and good being positive – and I did try and pick out some of the pluses – for instance Murphy impressed me, and I’ll add that I thought at times we pinged the ball around beautifully. Burke continues to look a great acquisition. BUT, and it’s a big but, there has to be an end product.

      The last paragraph is me balancing it up – despite the bad stuff, I’m not committing suicide yet because I know there will be games like this one, and I said at the start of the season I’d take mid table consolidation this season. So far, I’m a happy bunny.

      And it’s Almajir, not Am. AM manages the filth over the expressway… ;)

  • Trench says:

    CH is supposed to be one best young managers in the Lge it time he started proving it doesnt matter about the players he has they may not be good enough for promotion but they shouldnt be losing to garbage like Palase even Barry Fry could mould team out of this lot

  • parkp says:

    Unless blues find a way of sorting out their shot shy attack, the play-offs will be out of reach. For me a £6million player on 65k per week should play every game and score goals. Zigic should be our talisman this season and frightening the hell out of the opposition. It aint worked out that way, far from it. Blues inability to covert their dominence into goals has cost us points and a Europa League exit.

  • alexjhurley says:

    Can I remove my previous comment ?

    It’s just that I’ve read parkp and trench and realised my stupidity.

    What I meant to say was that blues have a divine right to go away to palace and win 5 nil. Anything less means that c.h. is a useless *&%$ and all the players are crap.

    That’s what I should have said, sorry.

  • Matt says:

    I’m a Palace fan and just got back from tonight’s game. I thought Birmingham were the better side in the first half but as pointed out above, creating clear-cut chances seems to be your problem. We’ve been on a poor run (United aside) and carried on in that vein in the first half. I felt you kept possession well and Burke looked good on the right, but aside from the Davies chance from the header you produced very few chances – I can’t remember Speroni making a save apart from the Redmond shot which was never realistically going to go in.

    In the second half I thought we played a lot better and your midfield was less effective. We’ve been struggling to make chances ourselves and I feared we’d miss Zaha tonight, but after the 3 half-decent ones in the first half, we had 5 more good chances in the 2nd. I thought on the balance of play it was very close, but we certainly came closer to scoring more often.

    The point made above with regards to Zigic is a good one I think. While a big fee doesn’t make a great player, there must have been something about him to have commanded that in the first place. When you bear in mind we paid £400,000 total for our 4 strikers, a player of that value needs to be playing a scoring in this league. Maybe he should get a run with King who tends to play better with a 2nd striker as he gets that half a yard he needs more often. I did like Wood the odd time I saw him too.

    Anyway, best of luck for the rest of the season, as long as you don’t beat us at St. Andrews ;-)

  • parkp says:

    I have absolutely no problem with CH. What im saying is, blues inability to convert their dominence into goals is costing them. And yes it cost us at Braga, it cost us at Reading, dropped vital points at home, peterborough for example. It aint the fault of CH, he has the team playing well but finding the back of the net is a problem. And yes the big fella should be earning his 65k per week! I have no problem with CH whatsoever but im saying what i see on the pitch. Blues inability in front of goal is costing us.

  • Matt says:

    Oh and to the guy who said ‘garbage like Palace’ – 3rd place Boro and Forest (last game of last season, when they were good(!), nothing to play for) are the only 2 Championship sides to beat us at Selhurst in 14 months. But then you were probably one of the people that thought Clinton Morrison for £4.25m + AJ was a good deal…..

  • skareggae72 says:

    Personally i would take A.J back(unlikely but give it a try Chris-on loan?ok its a long shot)but when it comes to set pieces/corners,if we could play Villa every week we would probably score every time,as they concede every time :-) but this is the championship,i back us to put together a decent run now….

  • pierre says:

    does any body think we should we have gone 4 4 2 after halftime and taken redmond off as he clearly ineffectve.

  • old blue nose says:

    Yes pierre in fact i would not have started Redmond in the first place myself,however ,if he had been switched to the right wing occasionally throughout the game i think he would have had more joy against their left back . Overall i couldnt see us scoring at all by pumping high balls into the area,why dont we try drilling some low balls in for a change no defender likes them coming in at them because a stray boot or shin can deflect into the net. roll on Boxing day,lets go again.

  • ScudMuffin says:

    from what I read, at work during the game, it was fifty fifty and one side nicked a goal. it happens. it reads here like the lads were hammered 5-0 and didn’t put up a fight. the tone…first time I’ve seriously questioned an article.

    teams in this division are a lot better than people give them credit for being. blues weren’t good enough for the prem, that’s why they are in the chapionship. we have a budget squad, even if it is hard working. we can’t expect promotion.

    on a further note I’d rather watch blues stay in the championship. why? well the PL relegation money worries not coming into it is one thing. also I don’t want to see a battle and concentration to play the same 16 teams plus 3 guest stars every year. that’s just dull. I’d rather see an FA cup push than a promotion push. FA cup…mmmmmm.

  • AL-LAD says:

    I agree with Scudmuffin some of the comments on here are mad, let’s all take stock of our situation!!! Beau “rested” and Ridgewell not even making squad we can all assume that deals have been agreed for these guys. To achieve promotion this season is unrealistic, there are lots of stronger teams and squads in the Championship then ours at present, I think even CH is now planning for next season, I believe that CH will put together a team capable of playing good football and earning promotion, but it’s ain’t going to be this season.

  • Denis Thwaites says:

    The football since Calderwood was appointed as CH’s assistant is more inclined towards stopping the opposition playing rather than trying to win the game. We are starting to get into a habit of losing games one nil. I think the next 3 games will dictate how Blues will get by for the rest of the season. If we get less than 6 points then we are in for a mediocre end to the season. There was an inevitability about the game last night in that we had loads of possession in the first half but if you don’t score then eventually teams grow in confidence and can pick you off which is what happened last night. I just hope CH is not too influenced by CC and that he goes back to what we were doing before.

    • DoctorD says:

      Denis — good point I think. Frankly our away record is poor so I wasn’t expecting much from the Palace match, but the two home games against Blackpool and West Ham will be a clear sign of how the rest of the season will go. Don’t forget this is a strong league — it may be England’s second tier but in what other country would a second-string club take 10 points from Europa League group games? In my view, the bottom half of the Prem and the top half of the Championship is much of a muchness. It should be a division in its own right and let the top eight in the Prem bog off and play their own matches against each other.

  • DannyM says:

    Its the same old problem with Blues cant put the ball in the back of the net, I think we are finding our true place in this league, mid table and average, dont expect too much from this team. We Wont be going up this year, which will be a good thing as we would get smashed almost every week in the Premiership.

  • Violent Pacifist says:

    Couldn’t agree more Danny

    Who the f*ck are these people saying play offs at least lol

  • Bluehobba says:

    Im not sure whether 4 42 was the answer but did notice that when a cross went over King, Redmond was nowhere near at the back to help out. With 4 4 2 would we still have dominated in the midfield. As for Zigic why oh why he never headed the ball in instead of chesting it. I couldn’t really fault anyone for effort and Spector had a better game last night and Fahey and Ndaw broke everything up that came their way. Roll on West Ham. KRO

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