Often Partisan

Three Points in the Sun – Leeds Match Reflections

Here are my reflections on the match between Blues and Leeds United at St Andrews.

A Good Win

Let’s start this off by saying it was a good win for Blues. We’ve seen Blues play well and lose at home, we’ve seen them play badly and lose at home and we’ve seen them play abysmally and lose at home this year. As the sun shone down on St Andrews, Blues looked good for the points and despite it only being 1-0 I honestly don’t believe it was in any doubt. Leeds may have had the possession in the second half but they didn’t really create the chances – Blues did and put one away.

Hayden Mullins

Mullins gets some stick from quite a few supporters – unfairly so in my view – and because of that I wanted to highlight what was a very decent performance by the midfielder. I don’t think it’s a coincidence Blues are playing better with the 4-5-1/4-3-3 they’ve been playing of late because they don’t really have midfielders who are happy in a central two. There has been issues with protection for the back four with playing 4-4-2 at home and because of this Blues have conceded more than they should have done. Today, Blues looked quite a bit more secure with Mullins and Wade Elliott (who was also very impressive today) able to help mopping up at the back, allowing Ravel Morrison to play in an advanced position which brings the best out of his talents. It did look like Clark was going to sub Mullins for Thomas just before the goal to try for the win – the fact Blues scored (and I don’t think it was cos it was Hayden that popped it in) meant he could retain the shape and Wes had to be told to sit down again (much to his chagrin).

Ravel Morrison

There are some times you just have to stand and applaud the 20-year-old from Wythenshawe because of the depth of his talent. Rushing on to a very well controlled Zigic knock down, Ravel danced to the left of the area with the ball, shifted his weight as he dragged the ball from one foot to the other (which caused the defender in front of him to fall on his backside), and then shaped the ball towards the corner with only the touch of Paddy Kenny’s fingertips ensuring it hit the bar and stayed out. Had it have gone in, it would have been up there a goal of the season such was the quality.

It was indicative of the way Ravel plays – Tatts described it earlier this season as being “in his own timezone” and it’s bang on. The little shimmies and drags to create space allowed Ravel time to just caress the ball into the path of his team mates; it didn’t matter if there was one, two or even four Leeds players around him he could hold the ball and do something with it. I don’t think we will see much of Ravel after the end of the season – his wage at West Ham is similar to Zigic’s – and I suspect we’re going to have to make the most of what we see until then.

Wade Elliott

It would be remiss of me not to mention the third member of the Blues central midfield triumvirate for praise as Elliott too had a very good game. It wasn’t just the mopping up at the back, or the little balls to move the play from side to side in midf1ield today; it was the leadership he showed to the kids, getting them to make the right moves and runs and helping them to express themselves as best as they can on the pitch. I don’t think anyone can deny that Nathan Redmond has been flying of late and I think a lot of that is to do with playing with the likes of Elliott and Zigic who are encouraging him and helping to create the space to allow Redmond to really do what he does best – running at defences with the ball at pace. Whilst it’s great to have youthful exuberance in the side you do need some experience and I think that this match typified the Wade Elliott of the last couple of months.

So Blues are now mathematically safe, and still are possibly in with a chance of the playoffs (although they now need four teams to lose twice and for Bolton to concede a boatload). The pressure is now off completely and I think that lack of pressure might just bring more wins in the sun.

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71 Responses to “Three Points in the Sun – Leeds Match Reflections”

  • Ali Duncan says:

    Bring on Ipswich – should be a great day out. Anyone going in fancy dress?

    Agreed that Morrison was sublime today. He has been incredible the last ten games.

    Wade was also superb today. I think he deserves one more year. He looked busy and comfortable on the ball.

    Not sure I concur on Mullins. I felt he gave the ball away far too often and I feel if Keith is fit he won’t ever get a look in.

    Pleasing attacking football, especially first. I really enjoyed today’s game and it was easy on the eye.

    Robbo was massive again.

    Pleasing Bournemouth went up. Really looking forward to that away day.

  • OzzyBlue says:

    Marvelous news for us Bluenoses here in Oz. The hammer of the Birmingham spirit has come down on the anvil of corporate chicanery – we’re staying up! Chuffed to the rafters!

  • masaccio says:

    According to Leeds blog they saw our tactics and still couldn’t beat us

  • Paul Carter the visionary he says:

    Great game and again great tactics by Lee. We looked more comfortable playing one up front and I though big Zig had a good go today so as I slag him when he doesn’t I’ll gee him up when he does although it should be consistent. Agree re Morrison and Elliot who were both great in different ways. Morrison oozes skill and class and that lob was sublime, Id never heard of him before Lee bought him in mind thats the same with his other loan signings. Its great to have a manager who has his finger on the pulse re players in the game whereas Wade is the busier of the two getting through loads of work in the middle, retaining possession and bringing the wide players into the game.

    Another 3 points and our form these last few months has to be up there with the best. I read that Lee and his team are on a research trip to Barcelona in a benchmarking exercise. I can’t ever remember a manager of ours doing something like that, mind one of em had a jolly with Pannu to the World Cup and Brazil I recall. Continuous improvement in a football context wow.

    All the antis looking pathetic now which is what they were all along

    • Staffordshire Blue Nose says:

      broken record….. so we have a top six away record and until yesterday we had a bottom six home record…. Do you think LC has had a good season, (and did you honestly think it was a good game?) I think he is starting to get it right but it’s been staring us in the face since Burnley that 4-5-1 home and away was the way forward, he does it yesterday and we look almost secure, well apart from Mcwhatevey his name was…., have you noticed his three signings Mullins, Ambrose and Lovenkrands are all in the championship side of the year…. not. His only good signings have been the free’s and some of the loans, Robbo, Hall (for a bit) Fergie, Morrison (when he finally gave him his chance) and Caddis. I wouldn’t trust LC with my money. He got lucky with the injuries so he had to play the kids who had the passion and desire the players he bought didn’t. Didn’t see you are your ego today Paul. I’m fed up of arguing with you. And BTW CH is keeping Norwich up and well done to him

    • bluemaximus says:

      Well if you had never heard of Morrison, or Ferguson, or any of the others you really are an ostrich. Read, view, even study outside of Birmingham and your comments become nothing short of laughable.

      • Staffordshire Blue Nose says:

        I had heard of them, but he took risks on them, like Gordon which didn’t work out, but his bankers were rubbish i.e. the ones he bought. Do you honestly think he can spend money wisely? The Terriers fans have said the same, he only bought one decent player. Crickey even Mcleish did better than that…..

        • Blue in Spain says:

          You say others are a broken record with their views… Pot Kettle! I suppose you went on record to say Mullins, Ambrose and Lovenkrands were poor signings at the time…. no I didn’t think so!

  • tony says:

    I thought robinson was mom,never rated the guy but at centre half he has been immense for us.Zigic fluffed another decent chance and would be nice to actually see him hold up the ball instead of trying to get rid of it with one touch all the time.A good first half and average second but at this stage of the season then a win is a win.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Some of our forward play today was sublime. When Morrison and Redmond had the ball, Leeds just had to stand and wait, because they simply could not tackle or disposses them and it was a delight to watch them dancing around the Leeds back four. With the forward thrusts of Hancock and Ferguson, Leeds were no match for us and were evntually flattered by the scoreline. My only concern would be that a few players including Morrison, Elliot and Mullins appeared to have over indulged with the Weetabix and as a result many passes and corners were overstruck. That said, they all had good games. Robbo and Davies at the back were once again outstanding and another world classer from Jack who seems to pull at least one brilliant save in every game. Woeful refereeing again as Ziggy looked as though he was of a mind to walk off at one time as he was pulled and pushed all over the place. At one stage he took an elbow to the face, which I could see from the opposite end of the ground, but the ref couldnt see from 5 yards.
    So now we are officially safe and I pray that the off field business concludes in a manner which permits Lee CLark to retain our key players, replace those we can not keep or have to sell and embellish the squad with some fresh blood. KRO.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    As a critic of Mullins he had his best game for us.

    Watch the Blackburn game carefully. It will be last time you watch Caddis, Davies, Morrison, Ferguson, Redmond, Burke and probably Butland.

    • bluenoseneil says:

      I think you will find that at least 50% of those names will be with us next season. Julian…

    • Keeprighton says:

      This article was really good and ful praise for writing it as it showed the highlights of a difficult season for many reasons..! My concern is the negativity of who’s going and who’s staying as there’s nothing I or anyone else has control over…you should believe the words to keep right on not just sing them..! I know I will be fully behind every single player at Birmingham next season regardless and hope everyone else is to…

  • mark says:

    Agreed Dan with your summary, playoff you got to be a believer…. Win our next two who knows….. Kro

  • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

    Good result and makes it even more enjoyable due to who we done. It really would be lamentable if this team which seems to be finding its rhythm, is going to be split-up come the summer. We are beginning to see the roots of a decent, attacking, fluent and motivated side who could really turn it on next season. Obviously some factors are out of the manager’s and club’s hands – Morrison and Butland, but everything should be done to retain the likes of Caddis and even Davies. It seems that Carr will leave so Davies should be retained unless he wants to skip town because his goals and experience will count. If those in ‘ charge’ – BIH/PP/CY can get some investment or sell (the latter would be preferable), then we could really mount a serious challenge. At this stage credit should go to LC for keeping his focus – even in the face of some terrible personal abuse – and starting to show his managerial capabilities on many fronts. It really is a massive hinderance that instead of the team, players and new signings, the summer will more than likely be dominated by events in HK.

  • Paul Carter the visionary he says:

    Where are the antis? Ain’t they even got the backbone to admit they’re wrong?

    • Staffordshire Blue Nose says:

      FINALLY LC GETS IT RIGHT 4-5-1……. If it wasn’t for the kids we would be playing 1st division fooball next year. Hope a takeover comes soon and we get a manager who knows what he is doing from game 1…..

    • Art Watson says:

      Never mind the Spin..

      Examine Clarks record and his contribution to the current financial mess which will continue under his management -know doubt you will blame the fans for this and for lost revenue from the reduction in the sale of season tickets.

      • Blue in Spain says:

        Wow, Clarks contribution to the current financial mess, even for you Art that is a bizarre comment! Please explain that one, or are you blaming him for the attendance figures? Which, as usual.shows you have no grip on reality!

  • Marky mark says:

    Well done LC for all you have had to endure this season and securing a top half finish, yes you have made mistakes but then show me a Manager that doesn’t.

    Some of us never doubted you or lost faith, those that did should not be so quick to judge. I hope in the summer we get chance to build on this team and not have it ripped apart.

    This team looks as good as any in this league now.
    As for the game agree with all the comments nothing more to add really.
    KRO

  • Evesham blue says:

    That’s a problem with loan players they ain’t ours to keep. The financial situation will tighten still further with parachute payments halfing. It won’t be until the end of the next season when we can get rid of the likes of zigic. LC has also bought unwisely with Mullins, Loverkrands and Ambrose who we are stuck with also and will take some shifting on.

    Then next year we start with a complete new squad again with 5 new loan signings. Perhaps Robbo and Wade will be retained. However, losing quality like Ferguson and Morrison is a worry

  • Tony says:

    How are we wrong? Clark has them midway in the Championship not good enough, as Curtis said we should be doing at least as well as last season, with the players he had available that should have been quite possible
    At the start I said we needed top eight as a minimum well he is getting close but that was the minimum required.
    His tactics at times have been desperate, how can we ever forget playing two midfielders up front when he had three fit strikers, playing Elliot wide left when hes a central midfielder. BARNSLEY OMG I still get nightmares over that ,Watford too and many others.There is little doubt something went on in that dressing room.
    I feel most of the time he has managed on a wing and a prayer,In my view he is not up to it and I will never change, I accept he is learning his trade but we dont have the time for that. The defence on the whole has been awful even against Palace our best performance I lost count of the times the ball flashed across our six yard line when normally a Palace forward would have been on hand to tuck it in.
    There has not been one occasion when blues looked to have the match under control its always been a nevous time no authority at any time. The debacle with big zig, the fahey incident all smacks of a little man trying to impose his authority and failing.
    No for me Clarks not the right man for the job he never has been and never will be, we need money people to take us over, thank Clark and pinky and perky his two sidekicks and wish then Bon Voyage.
    Unlike some I wouldnt follow them in the conference, people like that do more harm than good it seems we are happy to finish half way in the second division no way we should be better than that.
    We have got away with it this season but only just, Time for change .

    • Agent McLeish says:

      You have got to be the most negative poster on OP. In your world all is gloom and doom.

    • mark says:

      Tony if you are still having nightmares maybe the doctor can give you something for this……in my opinion. always look on the bright side of life….. Sing-a-long tony feeling better now…….

      • Bluenosesol says:

        Tony, I cant see you getting a result against Man U on Monday and Sunderland are in the ascendancy. I can understand your pessimisim as I think you will be playing in the Championship next season.

    • ed77 says:

      You,ve got it all wrong mate i dream bout the palace game,but if you gota dream bout barnsley we won their 2-1 in december,try that 1 lol

  • Always a Blue says:

    Tony,

    Good job your not a Wolves or Blackburn fan with your positivity!

    At the end of the day LC has made big mistakes but appears to have learned from them.

    Last season we had a better squad with low expectation and the football in the championship under CH wasn’t always great and we had fewer injuries.

    LC must have some input on the kids surely they wouldn’t be on this run on their own.

    Also I was happy with Ambrose and lovencrands when they joined plus we have a one dimensional striker in zigic and Wes Thomas (who is ok) but not exactly spoilt for choice up front,last season we had the £2m rated Chris Wood banging the goals in as well as a fit Marlon king.

    I know for a fact that LC puts in a lot of hours by going to almost every reserve/development game to watch the progress of the kids.

    Give the bloke a break.

    Finally the football since Jan has been good to watch and LC has stopped talking too much at interviews.

  • StevieW says:

    The game yesterday was a pleasure to watch and every player deserved MOM in my eyes.

    Also would like to mention how well the sea cadets did Bravo Zulu.

    The anti LC brigade are not wrong LC was dire for the first part of the season and they could see that unlike others. But the one thing LC has done, he has learnt and applied that to the teams we have seen recently.

    Remove offending ego’s and play good quality kids without ego’s and just a passion to play, hey ho we start doing better.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Great post Always a Blue. Agree with every point.

    Clark had an awful lot to contend with in the first half of the season, (no money, dreadful catalogue of injuries to key players, etc) far more than Hughton or McLeish. I wonder if they’d have done any better in the same circumstances? I doubt it very much. Our league record so far in 2013, is P20 W8 D8 L4. Some people are never happy.

    I, and others, can see Lee Clark’s vision for the future and am excited by it. I’m sure he won’t let those few who can’t affect that. Clark for me all the way.

  • Agent McLeish says:

    Looking forward to the Carsongate court case this week!

  • Paul Carter the visionary he says:

    How can Blues fans constantly chip away at the club, the manager, well everything Blues really even when we are on a great run, playing great football, picking up points and climbing the table?

    Answer – They can’t

    • StaffsBlue says:

      They can Mr Carter…. but it makes them sound very churlish.

      I’m with Mr Clark all the way!

    • mark says:

      More Clark gets it right paul the more stupid they look, inclarkwetrust. Please only the true blue fans step forward….kro

      • Bluenosesol says:

        I am so proud of Lee Clark and his achievements this season. When he was being kicked big time whilst he was down, he would go on national TV and state how proud he was to be manager of a massive club like Blues. So called Blues fans would then crucify him and state what a drunkard of a useless manager he was. never once did Lee turn on the fans. He just carried on like the man he is and kept faith with his players, his support team and his tactics. And now he has been vindicated he is increduloudsly still under attack from gutless lowlifes who are not man enough to recognise how wrong and disingenuous they have been. Keep up the good work Lee and I look forward to what should be a promotion chasing season in 2013/14.KRO.

  • mark says:

    Them bask in their self pity…….while we enoy the sunshine…..kro

  • Art Watson says:

    If being ambitious and not being prepared to accept second best makes me anti Clark then I’m guilty as charged.

    Clark will never get this or any other team promoted so l hope he’s gone before the start of next season.

    • mark says:

      C’mon art your more guilty than Carson lol

    • Staffordshire Blue Nose says:

      Totally agree with you Art, no team has a divine right but with the players at LC disposal we should have been top six, we’ve been thrased 5-0 and 4-0 at home (the 4-0 when we are on this “great” run) 5-2 by Hull and were 3 down to Millwall inside 20 mins, sorry I don’t get how this has been a good season. CH had more to deal with last year losing players, Jerome and Dann in the last few weeks of the transfer window and he got the team working well by November. LC has taken until late Feb to get us playing well away from home and the 22nd home game of the year to get the formation right…. Saying that we will end up approx 6 points away from the play-offs…. His shining light has been the younger players but his buys haven’t been great and I wouldn’t trust him with transfer money. So end of the season report will be “what could and should have been” must do better please.

    • Blue in Spain says:

      Ambtious, is that your term for whinging old….

  • ed77 says:

    Good win and now we can enjoy next 2 games,and hopefully a top 10 finish which will be more appealing to pos new owners,agree with some of you that have mentioned robbo hes been great ,gota b worth 1 more year.

  • Tony says:

    Your right Art of course, he does not have what it takes Dismal, dreary, and as someone said once wouldnt trust to buy a packet of crisps.
    He would come back with Smokey bacon when asked for plain.
    Hope for a takeover and Mr Clark can head North, north east that is, the land of Brown ales where the women walk one pace behind the men.
    Those who accuse me of being Villa get a life Im Blues through and through but I will not settle for mediocrity, not without voicing my protest. in Clark I do not trust.

  • Tony says:

    Hope the club is not paying for Clarks trip to Barcelona.

    • almajir says:

      Seriously?

      Manager going on seminar to improve himself and you think it’s a jolly???

    • Marky mark says:

      Tony, if your this depressed know what are you going to be like tomorrow night after the Vile lose.

      We need to put you on suicide watch

  • Paul Carter the visionary he says:

    See what I mean Dan? On every level of our club this guy uses your blog to moan about it. Every single little aspect he can think up.

    You can delete me all you like but no way is this guy Blues. Not the only one either.

    • almajir says:

      Paul

      It’s just possible that he is, he’s just not happy with things the way they are. I know plenty of diehards who are similar…

      As I keep telling you Paul, just because someone doesn’t see things your way doesn’t make them a viler…

      • mark says:

        No Dan maybe your right… a wolve in sheep clothing………

        • Paul Carter the visionary he says:

          Dan its one thing not being happy with the way things are I mean who would be with all thats going on but its entirely another to rip your own club apart day in day out on every level.

          Youre being played mate, this guy may not be Vile but he definitely aint Blue.

          • almajir says:

            Again, I’ll repeat Paul – I know people who go week in week out who moan as much.

            Some people are just moaners.

  • AndyW says:

    I think that maybe it’s time for some proper reflection on the season, now that we have secured our position for next. Did anyone really expect anything better? I certainly didn’t. Lee Clarke was a League 1 manager, with some positive experience in that division, but none at any higher level. What do you think the owners and directors of the club were expecting from him? Promotion? Personally, I don’t think so. Given the position we are in as a club, the need for us to look at other ways of building the squad rather than throwing cash around, I reckon they would have bitten your arm off for a place in the top ten, let alone staying up. Now I am not saying I am convinced about the manager. And it may be that he is not the right person to take us back to the Premiership. But he has to be given credit for believing in what he is trying to do, and there are many positives to take into next season because of what he has been doing. We didn’t get promotion last season because we weren’t good enough, so why should this season have been any different? And that was with a manager with the right level of experience, who clearly left because he felt the demands were unreasonable, and he could fare better elsewhere? Or maybe it was just money?
    I think expectation levels have to be more realistic. What purpose would it serve to get rid of the manager at the end of the season, and have to start to re-build all over again? And if we did, do you really think we get anyone more high-profile that Lee Clark to come here given the situation? I guarantee nothing will have changed financially before the start of next season, so maybe we shouldn’t get too carried away. Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for?

  • Always a Blue says:

    Tony,

    My internets down who are Villa s remaining fixtures after Utd?

  • Fishy says:

    Did anyone else think that Zigic was awful at the Leeds game? Yes he did one or two decent knock ons, but his body language was awful. He looked completely disinterested and work rate was appalling. For the money he is on, at least he could try a bit harder…

  • Marky mark says:

    Joking apart, I don’t think Tony is a viler, he just likes an argument. He has made his mind up about LC along time ago and isn’t about to change it now, if LC won the champions league he would still moan about it.

    I think we should lay off calling him a viler its the worst sort of insult you can give a bluenose, anyway I quite like my debates with Tony because he never agrees with a word I say.

  • Always a Blue says:

    Marky,

    I am sure he (Tony) is a blues fan, it’s just a bit of friendly banter!.

    • Art Watson says:

      Well said and its refreshing to hear from someone who actually has a balanced view even though you may disagree with Tony’s opinion.

      I ‘m sure Tony is a great Blues fan but is desperate for Blues to be a successful premiership team.It is clear that PC is a very dedicated and passionate supporter but we are not all like him but we do love our team despite his disbelief.

      Come on Paul lets all agree to disagree without throwing rocks at each other-hey!

  • DoctorD says:

    This debate — if I can call it that — is quite amusing but really pointless. Fact is, Lee Clark is the manager so all you should be doing, in my view, is getting behind him. He’s obviously not as good a manager as Chirs Hughton but the important thing is he learns from his mistakes. That’s the question for me: is Lee Clark capable of learning from what has gone wrong this season? Minuses are some dodgy purchases and dubious formations. Pluses are doggednes, willingnes to tough things out and not moaning about his situation. But none of us really know what he’s like or how he works with the players.

  • Tony says:

    Al do you really think Clark can improve himself? I know you are undecided about him
    The man has no authority no substance, It may seem as if I moan a lot and I guess I do but half way in the championship is not acceptable Oh and always a blue I have said before I have been down Villa Park 4 times and scored three times can you say that?

  • Marky mark says:

    Changing the subject Wolves look doomed now, how funny is that !

  • Always a Blue says:

    Marky,

    Good move.

    Without the 6 points that Wolves took off us(undeservedly) they would be down already.

    Tony,

    Fair play on scoring at villa ,who was it for?

    • Marky mark says:

      I’ve not forgiven them for sending us down from the prem, that irritating tw-at Hunt,they didn’t deserve it then either

  • Ali Duncan says:

    I struggle to understand why people can be moaning when you consider the results and performances in the last 8 games. After a dog shit first half of the season LC has turned things around and the season is definitely finishing on Haigh. Lets just enjoy it. I know I am.

  • Ali Duncan says:

    Finishing on a high that is.

  • Always a Blue says:

    When they go down they will probably sack Saunders and appoint Steve Kean

  • Mikey J says:

    Sam allardyce and Alex Ferguson managed to get nothing out of young Ravel, Lee Clark has managed to get the best out of what I think is the most talented young player in the league along with Nathan Redmond, stop with the negativity and enjoy this good football were playing. If anything the only thing embarrassing about this season is our appalling home support, Blues should average at least 25k. Take a look at Borrussia Dortmund fans, that’s what you call support!
    KRO!


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