Often Partisan


My reflections on the Wigan vs Birmingham City. Please note I watched the game on an internet feed.

1) Desire. Or rather lack of it

One thing I’ve noted over past weeks is that Blues have a strong work ethic, and always play as hard as they can up to the final whistle. Today, we didn’t – we seemed to give up with about twenty minutes to go. I’m not sure if it was McLeish telling the team to settle for a point, or a tired, fatigued team struggling to keep energy levels high, or the team itself becoming complacent and just dropping back further in the expectant knowledge that they could keep Wigan out. Whichever scenario it was, it doesn’t bode well. We’ve got two weeks off now – McLeish needs to give them the hairdryer, whatever it takes really, to make them believe in themselves once more.

2) Tightness of the league

I think the most disappointing thing is a win would have seen us 13th tonight; even a draw would have kept us out of the bottom three. The way Wigan started, I thought that they were ripe for the picking, and after going one up I thought we could do it – but Blues never did push on, and they let them back in the game with an avoidable error from Foster. I think again it’s that word – complacency – I think it had set in early on as the players thought “yeah, piece of pish this is” and stopped working as hard. Points are never on the board until the game is won; Blues should know this and if I was McLeish I’d be ramming that point home.

3) Another denied penalty

I don’t want to blame the ref for what was an abysmal performance, especially as overall he had a good game, but he missed a pen when Alcaraz shoved over Curtis Davies. There was no attempt to get the ball, it was just the Paraguayan blocking off Davies from the path of the ball, and it should have been a spot kick. Of course, there is no guarantee we’d have scored it, or held on – but at 2-1 it would have been a wholly different game. Moments like this decide seasons, and it’s annoying that once again, we haven’t got a decision. In saying that, Ridgewell was marginally offside for the opener, so maybe that evens it out. Maybe.

4) Mutch

Today showed something else I’ve spoken about – in that whilst a good performance from a young player is good to see that they have to show consistency. Mutch looked out of his depth for a long period today, and whilst Martins was ineffective too we had to haul the young lad off because he’d lost his position – the game passed him by, and in his attempts to get back into it, he was making wilder and wilder challenges. It’s a game for the youngster to learn from, and another important part of his footballing education.

5) Doomed?

Right now, in the emotion of having lost the game in that manner, I think we might be. The one comfort is how close the league is, and that we have our destiny in our own hands still. If we are to stay up, Blues must really start being more ruthless; when we get a lead, holding on to it and killing teams off; putting away chances and every player standing up and being counted. We cannot afford for players to blip off the radar in the way Beausejour did today; or to make silly mistakes like Foster did – it’s killing us and will end our Premiership stay. I hope that the break will do us some good – rest some weary legs, allow injuries to subside and maybe given the team the chance to reflect on a poor performance, and give them the push to want to make things right.

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