Often Partisan

Goals Goals Goals

Birmingham City sealed an amazing stat this weekend when Yann Kermorgant scored in the match against Charlton, clocking up an entire year without a goalless draw. The streak  stretches back fifty-four games in all competitions to the match against Hull City on February 14, 2012.

As sequences go, it’s fairly incredible. In those fifty-four games, Blues have only kept six clean sheets – (four of which have been this season) and are currently on the longest run in the Championship without a clean sheet at 16 games. However, what surprised me more is that Blues have only failed to score eight times in those fifty-four games (of which five have been this season) and they have found the net in eight out of the last nine games.

In some ways it sums up our chief problem this season – to win a game, Blues need realistically to score two, if not three goals because you can almost guarantee the lapse in concentration that will cost them at least one at the other end. Under Hughton Blues were set up as a strong defensive unit and they had the tenacity to grind out wins when needed but it’s not happened this year for whatever reason – the slowing of Caldwell, losing two first choice full backs, etc.

The good thing for me is that I think Lee Clark has come to the same conclusion that I have – if you can’t stop letting goals in then all you can do is get your team to score more, and Blues have been doing that quite a bit of late (eight goals in the last five games isn’t bad for a team in our position). Whilst I’d concede that there are periods in matches where I think “Oh no, we’re in trouble here” there are also often spells where one can almost feel the goal coming because Blues have been able to create something – we may not have scored as freely as we did at points last year but there has been a steady flow of goals now.

However the clean sheet thing has become somewhat a monkey on the player’s back. In the last five games, Blues have conceded in the last few minutes four times – Yann Kermorgant’s 88th minute opener being the earliest of them – and I wonder how much that has affected the team’s morale. Granted, the penalty against Forest was soft but the other three have come about due to lapses in concentration and mistakes and it worries me that the team are switching off just before the end of a game because it has cost us points and will do so in the future. Whilst Blues have picked up nine points in their last five games the teams around them have also picked up points and Blues find themselves no further out of trouble then they were five games ago – if anything, the bottom half of the table has bunched up more.

Two of the next three games are key for me. Whilst Blues take on a good side in Watford on Saturday, the following games against Sheffield Wednesday (currently 19th) and Peterborough (currently bottom) give Blues a chance to put some daylight between themselves and the relegation trap door. Whilst I wouldn’t say that they were must-win games yet there is no doubt we cannot afford to lose them, and if we do not concede a goal we won’t. Can Blues bring the nil back to a St Andrews scoreline?

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38 Responses to “Goals Goals Goals”

  • James says:

    I think we can to be fair.

    Our performances have improved, the squad is now stable and as you point out, we are scoring.

    6 points should be the minimum requirement from the next 3 games

    KRO

  • Liam Moakes says:

    Good piece fella and I agree with your sentiments – it’s a big fortnight ahead.
    Not being pedantic here, but we’ve taken 9 points from the last 5 league games.
    The form of the bottom three worries me, but the form of Wolves/Huddersfield/Charlton encourages me.

    • almajir says:

      you’re right, it is nine.

      • Liam Moakes says:

        As you say, it’s ironic we are on by far our best run of the season and yet still the bottom three have closed in on the pack above them.
        Then again, seeing the goals that Middlesbrough gifted Barnsley on Saturday it is hardly surprising!

  • DoctorD says:

    Not sure if this source is reliable, but it seems to indicate that our streak of 54 games without a 0-0 is far from special in the no-score-draw stakes.

    Seems Hibs went 229 games without a 0-0 back in 19-oatcake.

    http://www.pieandbovril.com/forum/index.php/topic/164507-no-score-draws/

  • Ali Duncan says:

    Definitely games coming up we can keep clean sheets in and therefore win. That said both Posh strikes on Saturday were clinical finishes and Wednesay have scored 7 in their last 3 games which is excellent for a team near the bottom. However we do look a lot more organised at the back now and I was impressed particularly with Curtis and Robbo on Saturday (other than the latter giving the ball away cheaply once in a key area)

    I think Posh and Wednesday are both are key games as March has some tricky fixtures. 4 points should be a minimum requirement.

    All very pleasing though that we are on a little run now.

    KRO!

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    Lee Clark is doing a fantastic job and has rammed the boo boys slander down their throats

    We can get something out of all the next 3 games and the difference could be the atmosphere we create. Made a noticeable difference against Forest as the vibe was positive for a change.

    Let’s pack out St Andrews and be the 12th man then go and do Bazzas head in at Posh.

    Keep going Lee we are right behind you mare.

    • Ali Duncan says:

      The dissent among the fans has pretty much disappeared amongst those I sit with and have chatted to in bars. A 5 game unbeaten run and the successful non movement in the window has silenced the boo boys. Also murmers of another potential buyer mean it’s been a pleasing and successful last 5 weeks. Long may it continue. He sems to have got the players up for it now and to reiterate again I thought (other than the goal) we were excellent at the back on Saturday – much more of a tight unit.

      • Bluehobba says:

        I said last week we would go unbeaten in February and still think so, KRO and see you all at Peterborough (Watford first though)

    • Chris Smith says:

      I’m so glad my faith in LC has paid off. I think shows that the first half seasons misery was down the off field issues and players not sticking in performances. And now they are we can only look up :)

    • Art Watson says:

      Comment edited – let’s not do this argument again

    • mark says:

      I am total agreement with you Paul, LEECLARKWETRUST . And finally when it comes down to it, i like to back the boys in blue especially when we are up against it… some of the fans should try it you may even enjoy it… So call fans.. Try getting behind the club you allegedly support now your club needs you. mark kro let get 20,000 at st andrew…on saturday prove all the doubters wrong and get behind clark and blue boys.

      • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

        Couldn’t agree more Mark, I have banged the same drum on many an occasion on here,

        Sadly non attendance is not only causing us cash flow and atmosphere problems but puts off potential investors

        It makes me sick looking at banks of empty seats every home game then reading what those who never go think about Lee Clark especially when the filth in the bottom 3, having been humiliated live on TV by a mid table 4th divison club then knocked out of the FA cup the same week by a championship club can pull 30,000 for a televised match.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    It may be a little disconcerting that the bottom 3 have gone on a run which has minimised our progress despite good results. The upshot however is that due to some of the mid to high table teams not faring so well of late, that there are now 18 teams in the mix as opposed to 8 or 9 a month ago!
    KRO.

  • marky mark says:

    Seems to me the team has plenty of fight and spirit in them, so much for not wanting to play for the manager, I think we will see the best of blues in the coming weeks and some team is gonna get a hammering, we have not dished one out all season so its overdue.

    LC. Blue white army

    KRO

  • bluenoseneil says:

    Didn’t mean to say I told you so but I did. LC is slowly turning it around and we will see the initial fruit of those labours by mid-table survival.

    And a win on Saturday against Watford and the NINE Italian loanees that Zola has loopholed into the club (shameful Almajir, you should do a piece on it!)

    KRO

    • chas says:

      Why is is shameful tho ? He is getting most of his Loanee’s from the Owners Italian Club.. Not breaking any rules but perhaps not in the Spirit of the Rules..Still, we would all welcome something like that.

    • Julian Glass says:

      So BlueNoseNeil you judge the success of LC as turning a play-off’s team to midtable hopefuls

  • Paulo says:

    To be honest, I think that the guys on the pitch spend most of their time adhering to LC’s tactics, which is why things are so frustrating ..then they go and improvise and think amongst themselves and suddenly the tempo is raised and it all looks hopefull.
    I say this, because whenever I look at LC, it’s the 2nd half of the game that he is the most subdued and yet seems to be at his most random. It’s not surprising we cant get a clean sheet when our formation and tactical approach are both pretty standard and used against the start of most teams at home. Our weaknesses are obvious. It’s only when changes in confidence and atmosphere happen, that our pace quickens up and we take over. Sometimes, sadly too late, but for the most part ..we get picked apart too easily ..and that is down to different methods employed this season. Whatever they are, they are all too aparent.

    • marky mark says:

      Paulo, with all due respect your post is utter nonsense and contradicts itself.

      What you are saying in essence is when the team wins its down to the players, but when the team lose its down to the manager ?

      • Paulo says:

        …well, I do believe to lose a game is either down to a huge lack of effort, skill and tactical ability ..or quite simply we are out-classed. It’s quite obvious that we are often fighting for a draw, or losing. When we get a win, wouldn’t it be interesting to put that credit to a few of the team who foreseen the chances and took them?
        Look at it how you like, the ability is there on the pitch ..but the results show something else.

        Agree to dissagree

  • andy says:

    If Jack Butland isnt the finished article yet, i can only imagine how great a keeper he will become in the future. Im with Lee Clark when he said Tony Pulis must think all his christmas’s and birthdays have come together. Birmingham literally gave the kid away. Were the club that desperate for £3.5 million?

  • andy says:

    A sorry state of affairs then.

  • bluenoseneil says:

    Not really, Andy. We aren’t Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool or Chelsea.

    Neither are we Fulham, Everton, WBA, Norwich or anyone else in th PL.

    An element of realism needs to be injected into our club (which has been done) and our fan base (and not all will ever agree) because we’re Blues: we get 15,000 hard core and make up the numbers with occasional attenders (due to finances and distance), fair weathers, stay always and glory hunters.

    We got lucky and won a cup, now everyone expects more.

    A little dose of realism is what we’re getting under LC: no money, scrapping for form, stringing wins together and getting the most out of average older pros and young hungry kids. It’s not all champagne and prawn sandwiches at Blues, and it never really has been.

    Unless you want to p*ss away £50million in this league for nothing (Forest, Leeds) in the hope of a few seasons in the big time it’s better to build, build and build some more.

    I predict 3-5 years of this for Blues before we’re anywhere NEAR to being competitive in the PL. If it happens sooner so be it but beware of the yo-yo factor.

    Having said that, for me the journey is actually more exciting than the destination, so roll on Saturday and walloping Watford!!

    KRO

    • bluenoseneil says:

      …..and YES we’re a product of circumstance, but we can’t change circumstance so we are better off being FANS and nothing more..

      • Alex T says:

        ‘Having said that, for me the journey is actually more exciting than the destination’

        Great comment and very true!!

    • james says:

      THIS. Unless some investor with money to burn takes us over, this is the journey we’ll be on for years to come.

      Stay away fans, the generation who have given up, the new breed of fans who have only ever experienced the good times, Birmingham City is a tough gig.

      This season has been about survival, nothing more nothing less. McJudas left, Hughton left, we have an okay manager with an okay bunch of players.

      My expectations are a couple of last minute goals, a few decent victories and that’s about it.

      Roll on Saturday and 3 points

      KRO

    • Ali Duncan says:

      Neil – I totally agree. I said last season just before the playoff games that if we don’t go up this season that we could be in a for a long period of the second tier. I stand by that now unless we get significant investment. If you think we had 16 years out of it and bouncing between the second and third tier it’s not exactly a new occurrence for us.

  • poppa999 says:

    I think it is interesting that we could target Middlesborough’s position as last playoff spot. Boro have lost 13 and Blues have currently lost 11 this season.

  • Letsby Avenue says:

    :- )

    “Goals Goals Goals”
    .
    .
    .
    “Money Money Money”
    .
    .
    .
    We ain’t got that.
    Couldn’t extend Wood,under Hughton even, AJ.

    You play with what you are given.

    (Marlon didn’t train for 3 days last weelk- so he basically he had to play by numbers)

    No matter what nonsenical starting line-ups, us fans might propose….Reality is the Ruler.

    A poacher, A bulldozer, A canny footsmith….whatever….

    We have one of each, but only one.

    Money…Money…..Money

    Our opponents have International Players on their bench !

    Money….Money…Money

    We ain’t got it.

    We DO HAVE a powerful and Strong Admistration and Backroom staff..(only two have jumped ship in 18 months–)
    They charted our course through the January Transfer window, with advice and control from HK, we survived through a unity of Blues’ employees.

    NOW…CAN WE SURVIVE…through a UNITY OF BLUES FANS ?

    Please

  • Julian Glass says:

    The Butland saga stinks. At £3.5m you’d have thought he’d gave been turning away the attentions of other Prem clubs too. Something rotten in the state of Denmark to me

    • Alex T says:

      well, if reports are to be believed, its £3.5m, rising to £5m based on appearances, 20% of any profit made of any sell on and he is loaned back to us for at least half a season.

      Thats not a bad bargain if you ask me

      ……And, he was the only player sold! I can only see the upside compared to what we feared.

      • Louise says:

        They stated on the official stoke website, up to 3.5m. Pulis was in the mail saying Southampton offered 6m in the summer, he said they got him for half that.
        It does make me wonder how much was upfront- maybe 1.5m? I dunno, but we just gave away a young promising player, who’s value will rocket in future.

        It will turn out to be a big mistake in the end!

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    Lou pet it stoped us going into administration so not a mistake.

  • mark says:

    Almajir I do like to see passion coming from the fans on your blog that’s what we are all about I just hope some of them show that passion at St. Andrews and get behind the team and manager. We all know that stoke have a bargain in butland but that’s life. Lets hope our other younger keeper in the development squad just as good. kro unfortunately Louise is right AJ all over again. But we are club in working progress and have some cracking young players, move on, and continue to support blues.. kro


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