Often Partisan

Draws and Statistics

Lee Clark told the Birmingham Mail yesterday that he was pleased with the performance against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday and pointed to the fact that Blues have only lost one game in their last seven and were thus making progress in their bid to climb the table.

I will confess right now that I’m a bit of a stats geek. Therefore I know that not only have Blues lost only one game in their last seven, but unfortunately have only won three of their last thirteen league games and that the clean sheet on Saturday was their first in twenty games in all competitions. Not only that, but the 0-0 draw was the first in fifty-seven games in a run that had run since Valentine’s Day, 2012.

The stat that stands out for me this season is that Blues have drawn twelve of their thirty-three league games; a figure that can only be matched by two teams in the division (Bolton and Nottingham Forest) and beaten by one – Brighton and Hove Albion, who have drawn 13 of their thirty-two fixtures.  Of the last seven games Blues have drawn four – and of those four three games have been decided in the last minute of the game with two being points picked up from losing positions.

The simple reason for me that Blues aren’t doing well this season is that they’re not winning enough games. Whilst I can accept that it’s blindingly obvious that you need wins to be successful, I think it goes deeper than that – Blues have spent too many games this season chasing to regain points from losing positions because of errors within games. The fact that they’ve been able to do it on a few occasions is credit to the attitude of the team to try until the final whistle but Blues shouldn’t be getting themselves into these sorts of positions.

In some ways this is why I thought a clean sheet was so important for the team. I think that there has been a lack of confidence within the side and they needed the reassurance that they could shut out another side; that they could go back into the dressing room without having conceded from another silly mistake or lapse in concentration and that it was possible for them to go ninety minutes without their levels of application, fitness and technique dropping. Right now we’re not the type of side that is going to rip any other team apart which means if we are to pick up wins we need to grind out results – and the only way to do that is to have a solid base at the back.

We head to a Peterborough side on Saturday on a high from whipping Millwall 5-1 at the Den, who have not only lost only one league game in six but have won three of them and have scored thirteen goals in that timeframe – an average of more than two per game. Like other teams around them – Barnsley being a notable example – they are picking up points at a rate of knots and are dragging the teams above them into the relegation mire. If Blues can once again be strong and stop them from scoring then they can take heart from how porous the Posh defence has been and have the confidence that they too should be able the goal or two past them that will complete the victory – but it’s not going to be easy.

Blues only have to look at Wolves and Huddersfield (who between them have mustered just one win in their last ten games) to see what a lack of wins can do a team.  Furthermore, with Huddersfield having lost by three or more goals for the fourth time in seven league games (and by 6 goals to one for the second time in that spell) you can see the effect that having a leaky defence will have on a league position. Blues -11 goal difference is the fourth worst in the division and again, the only way to improve that is to win games. The way things are looking goal difference could be a big deciding factor in the places around the bottom half of the division and thus it’s imperative that Blues improve their standing relative to the teams around them.

It’s this time of year that teams at the bottom start showing form and that teams not doing so well get dragged into the mire. Blues need to start winning more games to ensure that they’re not one of them.

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62 Responses to “Draws and Statistics”

  • Qas says:

    I was just looking at the same thing. Barnsley and Peterborough are in fine form and pose very real threats to Blues’ league position, we need to grind out a win on Saturday no matter what, even if it’s a bundled goal in the third minute of added time.

    Whilst I agree that we’ve had a leaky defence all season, I think our left-back problem might have been somewhat solved by Mitch Hancox whose youth and energy provides a stronger left side for Blues both attacking-wise and defensively than Paul Robinson could muster.

    If Johnny Spector can keep playing the way he did on Tuesday then we’ll also have a midfield more capable of not only driving forward but also holding firm against attacks from the opposition. As much as I was one of the ones who called for Morgaro Gomis’ inclusion in the squad, it’s clear that he’s not up to the grade.

    I would like to see Ravel Morrison back in the squad however, he seems to have gone missing for apparently no reason, he could be a real force off the bench with teams tiring, he finds gaps and makes killer passes that will lead to goals.

    The Wes Thomas dilemma is an interesting one, he seems to have the makings of a promising young striker, he’s pacey, plays on the shoulder of his man and tries to get stuck in, however it seems as if his touch and composure are letting him down, it could be nerves, or he may be another Cameron Jerome. What I will say is that for a 70th minute sub, I would much rather see Thomas come on than Lovenkrands; I had high hopes of the Dane but he has proved to be about as threatening as a wooden spoon. Thomas will provide a pacey outlet against tired legs and whilst he might not be able to pop the ball away himself, he might be able to play in Marlon King, Zigic or one of the midfield men.

    The simple fact is that if we can play like we did against Wednesday, keeping it tight at the back and in mid, but be more clinical in front of goal then there’s no reason why we can’t pick up the required points to ensure safety. Also, as long as Wolves and Huddersfield continue their poor form, we can also pull away from the dogfight and ensure that on May 4th we’re not biting our nails.

    • dazabcfc says:

      Excellent reply to a nice article. I would also like to say how well Wade Elliot did infront of Hancox, offering plenty of support to the leftback and visa versa unlike Hall did on Sat. Hoping now King can stay fit because without him I just wonder where goals will come from. Kro

    • Kaje says:

      Wes Thomas isn’t young, he’s 26. He has perhaps 5 or 6 more years in the game before retirement and should be at his peak by now.

      I’m afraid he’s set to be another player who ‘has potential’ right the way up until retirement.

  • swissjonny says:

    Interesting article.After 40 odd years of being a Blues fan whatever the stats say we all know it will go down to the wire! Its part of our culture!

  • sutton apex says:

    clark ‘ s first aim is not to lose, very defensive manager – ask any huddersfield fan. 46 draws will get you relegated, simple maths !! we must pick 4 4 2 team saturday and take the game to p’boro, 3 POINTS IS A MUST SATURDAY

  • Russ says:

    Bizarrely, if we had beaten Watford and Barnsley 1 0 at home, our goal difference would be zero…

    • BhamCityJulian says:

      With another manager maybe we would have done! Ouch. Smacked hand.

    • chas says:

      Agree Russ, but we were lucky that the score was only 5-0 against Barnsley..As I said before , it was definately , without doubt , the worse performane I have ever seen from a Blues Team..And I have seen some bad ones..And this Season we have been lucky we havent had even more defeats like that.

  • Johnners says:

    Personally I think 4-4-2 for Saturday is a recipe for disaster. I wouldn’t blame Clark at all for setting out defensively against a rampant Peterborough and then bringing on the second striker to nick it in the last 20 mins. So its 4-5-1 for me with the only change from Tuesday dropping big zig to the bench and reinstating the prodigal son Morrison to provide some creativity in midfield. Whilst I agree we should be winning more at home a draw away from home has always been a good result in my book and I don’t see why that needs to change now if the goal is just to stay up.

  • Paul Carter want's shooting he says:


    Am I banned now?

    Seems to be a few missing posts?

  • Bcfc1955 says:

    I could not disagree more with some of the comments about the player changes suggested in this thread

    To say that Hancox looks like our answer to the left back problem is premature, I thought both our full backs looked weak defensively on Tuesday and the main reason for our clean sheet was excellent performances from our central defenders supported by Spector

    Now way do we want to see Morrison returned to the team, he can’t tackle, close players down, take up good defensive positions, create any opportunities for himself or others and he goes missing in games for large periods

    On the other hand our mid field improvements began with the reintroduction of Gomis to the team, I will be disappointed if he disappears again from the squad

    Finally to suggest that we drop Zigic is laughable, we were relegated from the premier because he was i available through injury he needs to play a big part in the remainder of the season to ensure our place in this division

  • n says:

    keep it tight and we can nick it 2nd half we should of had a clean sheet at huddesfield last kick of the game forest penalty last kick of the game the defence is looking tighter apart watford who are a good side on tuesday night did anybody think like me that the referee was the worst at st andrews for a long time

  • Asif ashiq says:

    Some of the posts are spot on. I think LC plays for draws. Vut we arent strong enough to keep clean sheets. Too many easy headed goals conceded. Do the defence think butland will come for crosses? And butland thinking ive 6 footers plus in front to clear? There are teams who struggle to keep clean sheets yet we approach game with caution eg ipswich, barnsley, wolves and even pboro. So for saturday i would like to see blues attack from the start. We all know pboro concede many goals. 6 pointer

  • Woodlands says:

    Ok, what could Fahey bring to the party, when he is fit? Him and Spector in the centre of midfield. Mullns in front of the back four Could it be an answer?

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Not so much having to chase games from a losing position. How many times this season have we taken the lead and failed to secure a win?

  • superbeau says:

    What I also find interesting is that for the next 10 games (and what will surely shape our season) the matches come in 2 consecutive away, 2 consecutive home and wins will be vital – one win is better than 2 draws…….we’ll be OK for sure.

  • Dave says:

    Huddersfield’s undefeated run of 43 games (split over two seasons – lest anyone gets carried away) consisted of 18 draws. I get the feeling we’ll have drawn the same number come the end of the season.

    What worries me more is that we still have to play 7 side in the top 10… and after toothless performances against Watford, if we don’t pick up points against Posh, Ipswich, Bristol City & the Dingles then we’re in the mire.

    The noise from the stands has to return. Eyes front, heads up, voices loud! KRO!

  • marky mark says:

    Would be amazed if LC goes anything other than 4-5-1 and looks to nick a goal, to attack minded and our defense will be shredded. One clean sheet does not convince me we have rectified our problems in that area.

    But, should he gamble go for it big time ?

    Who’d be a manager over to you LC

    Zigic to come on after hour and make the difference, how often does he affect them game when he starts ?

    • Blue in Spain says:

      Think you’re right, can not see any other formation away from home than 451, I bet we put in a better performance, as the players seem to perform better away this season, maybe they feel less pressure away?

      • marky mark says:

        Couldn’t agree more, I honestly think our players hate playing at home, not just the pressure but the atmosphere from some quarters if we are not winning after 15 mins

        • givenupblue says:

          Pressure?, don’t get me started. Pressure is bringing up 3 kids with no job. Footballers under pressure? I can’t accept that.

          • marky mark says:

            Pressure to perform on the pitch is huge, you cannot compare it to bringing up 3 kids on the dole because the comparison is unfair

  • DoctorD says:

    In case anyone missed my great stat yesterday, on each of the past three occasions that the Blues have drawn 0-0, they’ve gone on to win the next match. Here’s hoping…

  • Retired&weary says:

    I too believe 4 4 2 is not the answer. IMO, with our back four, you need a strong midfield to protect them. Against Watford you couldn’t have picked a more lightweight midfield.
    As I said yesterday, why not play Hancox wide left. He’s clearly got something, not least pace & determination, & it will help his development if he’s not exposed at left back. I know Robinson is public enemy number 1 at the moment, after his nightmare against Watford, but I feel his experience is still needed at left back. In a weak midfield that day, Hall was the weakest of the weak.
    I doubt King is fit at present, so it will need to be Zigic up front.

    • marky mark says:

      I wouldn’t be too hard on Robinson, he has given his all for the most part, reality is he shouldn’t be anywhere near good enough for our team but needs must. Get Fahey back in the team he’s had a long enough rest lazy sod

  • carlos says:

    I don’t think we have the midfielders to play 442, we don’t have bags of energy or a physical presence in there, also our wide players are not at all defensively minded, such as a Beausejour. I think Spector, Reilly with Elliot slightly advanced with Redmond and Burke wide pushing on at every opportunity. Bit leftfield now,but I don’t think Zigic or King are mobile enough to be the one upfront, so for an hour I would play Thomas, as although not much of a goal threat, from what I saw on Saturday he is big,strong and mobile. After an hour bring on Zigic and/or King,depending on the circumstances at the time.Team:-

  • terryfw says:

    I have one message to the 451 brigade – “Mr Alex McLeish”. Are these the same fools that were crying 442 and “you don’t know what you’re doing?” to our wee ginger messiah? Probably the same idiots who drove away Gold and abused Sullivan’s son. I said at the time be careful what you wish for – now look where we are.

  • Roy Smith says:

    Almost a whole page without anyone insulting someone else, Almost, but it’s a start, I might start being interested in the posts again at this rate.

  • Art Watson says:

    Yes …I stopped posting a week ago because of the insults but will be happy to continue now .

    Lots of interesting debate and useful information .

  • Paul says:

    If you like statistics how about researching this? Goal difference is a pretty accurate indicator of final league position – check out previous season’s final tables. So with luck we should just squeak it on current form.

  • chas says:

    I draw your attention to the post from Mr.R. Smith…1.32pm…

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    Why do pople make posts about never darkening the door again then herald their own return or posts about I’m back now but hey be warned I can always go again.

    No-one cares about you, wether you post o read or anything.

    Just post if you want, don’t if you don’t. Simple. All the prevaricating is a joke.

  • mark says:

    Maybe Sherlock on his way aswell. Just kidding…l will go will the same team who played on wednesday. Agree Clark may prefer 451.

  • mark says:

    Being sensible now., well back art

  • Paulo says:

    I just think that our off-field problems have filtered over into matchdays really. I know this sounds bizzarre, but the HK fiasco (inc PP) has really put a dent in many fans enthusiasm, and the expectations of having winning games for us to see has become more of a different situation …into one of an absolute requirement to win now, because we have to survive. For the most part, the season ticket holders pretty much know where the noise comes from and who starts the songs, but really, it does seem that the uncertainty around the fans, filters into the papers and media and the drop in confidence ‘could’ be the same going into the ground as it is going onto the pitch.
    Maybe we have been not only spoiled by the Premer League, but the fighting nature of last season as well – the Europa League, the fight up the table, the play off’s. We were winning games if we drew, it wasn’t too bad, because we knew we’d win in the next 2 or 3. The fact that PP laid blame on the fans for our performances wasn’t justified, but did have an unwelcome truth within it. I hate it when fans boo their team. It is disrepectful, narrow minded and nothing short of a low cheap shot from the safety of a seat in the stands. Mob rule? Anyone supporting their team through the tough times with positivity and an open mind deserves respect, that is the simple lesson I teach my daughter.
    So, we need wins? Well, we need the ownership changed to something more secure, involved and supportive for starters. From that point it’s safe to say confidence will re-appear and the team will get the input it needs. Right now, the foundations of the club’s management are a shambles and expecting to have a team that has so many constraints put upon it – to be such a high standard every week, is just expecting too much (in my opinion).

    • chudlt says:

      While I agree with you about booing your own team and personally would never boo, however badly they play, it is part of the modern game and can be heard up and down the country whenever the home team loses.
      I am old enough to remember applauding the visiting goalkeeper when they played at the Tilton end. Now all they get is abuse. It’s the same when an opposing player is injured, suddenly large sections of the crowd become medical experts and decide the player is acting.

      • Paulo says:

        I might not applaud, but I am not afraid to still acknowledge a superb goal by the oppostion or a top notch save by their goalie. I admit, I sometimes have different views, but I try to look at all things, and if the modern game is about animosity to your own team, then count me out of joining in. All I worry about is the way it’s killing the atmosphere, which in turn is dividing the fanbase.

        • Ali Duncan says:

          I think there is just a lot more hate in society in general. I’m not going to go into a social illness Diatribe but some of the venom I see from some fans down the Blues is insane. It’s uncalled for and worrying the way society is and will continue to go. I simply can’t understand it. The world seems to have gotten angry.

      • Bluenosesol says:

        Chudlt, I can remember when we had gravel around the pitch, people used to fill up paper cups with gravel and lob them at the opposing keeper. You dont see that today?

    • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

      Spot on Paulo

      The way some of our fans try to outdo one another with their negativity makes them anti Blues

  • ed77 says:

    im thinking a positive result will come saturday man 4 man whatever team clark plays we shud b stronger than them its time the players performed and showed something im sticking my neck out and saying 2-0 BLUES king and burke……..KRO

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    Hope so Ed

    On a lighter note Dan you got a stat wrong in your piece, can you find it?

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    When it comes right down to it our players have got to man up.

    They have to put a proper shift in and play to their best every game.

    Too many going at it half hearted they could take a leaf out of young Mitchs book who’s desire was there for all to see. As Dave Langan (he’s the best right back of my time watching Blues for those who don’t know) tweeted the other night when you cross that line you’re on your own. Pride in your personal performance is key.

    We can do Peterboro, whether we will I’m not so sure.

  • Letsby Avenue says:

    George Boyd…the “blind”, Posh midfielder – – who made 3 goals and also scored against Millwall, last saturday……..got loaned out, yesterday—not to Firest ( where he failed his eye-test), but to Brucie’s Hull.

    Well, well. A club in relegation problems loans out their ” Star” player—- what’s the message ?

    Blues can do this.

  • sutton apex says:

    totally agree letsby – the morale of that posh team will be low. play same starting X1 that played sheff wed and ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK. 2-1 to blues

  • Keep the faith says:

    I agree with you Paul but its a bit unfair to compare a youngster with Langan as there is only one Davie Langan .

  • Art Watson says:

    Sad to hear that Dick Neal passed away.

    Great player and one of my school boy hero’s.


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