Often Partisan

The Rub of the Green

Birmingham City lost 1-0 to QPR at the weekend as they continued to struggle to pick up points in the Championship. Blues hit the post, had a goal ruled out for offside and a controversial decision not to award a penalty when Jonathan Spector went down in the area as they lost for the fourth time this season.

As I didn’t watch the game I cannot comment on individual performances or specific events but what I would like to touch on is the almost consensual view I saw online from people who did go that Blues were unfortunate to lose. Blues don’t seem to have had much luck this season and it seems that continued in spades at Loftus Road.

Whilst it’s comforting to know that Blues did play well in large patches, it worries me that once again fans have come away from a game saying that we’ve done okay but we’ve got nothing from it. Losing when playing well is normally a sign that things are going to be bad for a team; purely because if the team can’t win when it’s playing well it’s not a jump to expect them to not win when they’re not playing well. I’m a big believer that you create your own luck and I think we’re already starting to see the bite of how thin the squad is – with Robinson missing through suspension on Tuesday night that’s another defender we don’t have. Blues need to somehow arrest this slump and start getting into the habit of not losing games.

However, I think one other thing must be said and I’m going to hold my hands up to something. When I saw the team and the formation (3-4-3) I was absolutely mystified and bearing in mind it was QPR at home I expected a thumping – and yeah, I put money on it. However, again from talking to people who went it would appear the formation by and large worked surprisingly well; Clark had done his homework and had come up with a fluid formation that allowed Blues to create chances. The fact that QPR ended up rather fortunate to win might indicate that Clark knew what he was doing and that he’d picked the right players for the job – whether or not we agreed with it pre-match.

The fact remains that Blues’ poor record isn’t just down to Clark; one only has to look at the way the team has been decimated – not only by sales in the transfer market – but by players being released, by injuries and whatnot. Yes, there have been times when I’ve been mystified by him and yes, I’d like to know why Matt Green was nowhere near the squad on Saturday but I’ve come to the conclusion that for now we’ve got to deal with what we’ve got because it’s not going to change any time soon.

Monday sees Blues play a development squad game and the return of Nikola Zigic to fitness. I will be taking the trip to Wast Hills to watch the game and to report back on how he, the other injury returnees and the kids get on. My hope is that like last season we’ll see the potential of players that might just push on into the first team squad; I’m looking forward to seeing how Akwasi Asante gets on now he is back to fitness and I’m interested to see how the u21 squad lines up – if it mirrors the first team or if they will go with a simpler formation.

Tuesday sees Blues get a chance to rectify matters somewhat against Burnley; if we can start finishing some chances and maybe get the rub of the green for a change, it might be the start of a positive movement in the table. All we can do is hope.


39 Responses to “The Rub of the Green”

  • Brad Smith says:

    Struggling? Theyre 4th and were 4 minutes away from being 13 poiints from 6 games. :/

  • zulubaz says:

    worthless comment you don’t watch the team so why should words carry any weight?

    • almajir says:

      See you at Wast Hills tomorrow?

      • Dan H says:

        Blues definitely need to get a striker in on loan.

        Bruce has made Matty Fryatt available from Hull, he’s a finisher and exactly what we need.

        I’d give Hales a run even for 30 or 45 minutes we need to spark a change in luck in front of goal

        • John says:

          The miss,with only the keeper to beat, by Shinnie was disgraceful. A professional footballer,should never miss a chance like that. He should be made to practice shooting for four hours a day,after normal training. A professional golfer practices for 8 hours a day,hiting hundreds of shots.

  • mark says:

    Rub of the green how the ball going in off the woodwork would be a bloody good start, novak would have had 5 or 6 goals by now……and some fans would not be taking p.

  • Chris W says:

    We seem to be playing with more freedom away from home, which is encouraging.
    LC does seem to baffle with his player selections and not a word anywhere regards Matt Green, was he unfit?
    Somehow we need to find the key to open the goal scoring doors, defensively we are pretty solid and should be ok with Robbo out Tuesday as Ferguson can slot in, again surprised he didn’t start.
    Hopefully we will have some joy on the loan front but not holding any breath knowing the financial situation, but Hey! they surprised us with Paul Caddis.
    Sheffield Wednesday are above us only on goal difference and are not performing well, my only worry is our home form. I heard boos and groans against Ipswich, this is not what the team need, encouragement and belief.

  • mark says:

    to tbh chris i think we been unlucky at home especially against watford…… ipswich was a bit a let down but we grabbed a draw…… getting on players backs simply will not help our cause at home…. making stans a cauldron of discontentment will only favor the opposition imo bluenoses know a full vocal chord of kro around the ground would scare the living sh*t out any opposition team……………… it like having twelve players playing……..

    • Chris W says:

      I agree, but we have not been singing from the same song sheet at home.
      The atmosphere seems flat, even when the lads come out it hasn’t got the hair tingling effect it had a couple of seasons back.
      Maybe a win is all we need to get the crowd lifted, whereas it should be the crowd lifting the team.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    We need to keep the left hand side particularly tight against Burnley. They’ll most likely have Michael Kightly on their right flank… and he’ll be backed up by Kieron Trippier, who in my opinion, is the best right back in the division. I’d put Hancox and Ferguson in there. We need to cut off the supply to their strikers and Trippier gets a lot of crosses in. Danny Ings has to be watched closely too, he can shoot from anywhere.

    I believe it’s our toughest game so far. If we get anything out of this game, I’ll be more than happy.

  • Berkshire Blue says:

    I think there are a couple of factors worth bearing in mind on our start. Firstly in our 6 league games so far we have played the 3 losing play-off finalists and one of the relegated teams – arguably based on last seasons performances 4 of the strongest teams in the division. Secondly we have 12 new players and it takes time to gel.

    One thing that does worry me is the constant changing of formations – 5-3-2, 4-2-3-1,3-4-3′ 4-3-3 etc. , especially changes within games.. We lost our way a bit on Saturday when we moved to 4-3-3. Caddis and Burke played well together Saturday – so if we can stick to a formation that includes Burke and settle on a formation I still think we can start getting some positive results and build confidence.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    For what it’s worth, this is the team I’d go with:


    Caddis Bartley Burn Hancox

    Burke Adeyemi Spector Allan Ferguson


    • maurice walters from thailand says:

      staffs you know i will agree with your team but would like to see Zigik if match fit

      • StaffsBlue says:

        As he’ll probably be playing in the development squad match tonight, along with Asante, Murphy and Packwood, I can’t see it Maurice. Maybe Saturday against Sheff Wed.

    • mark says:

      hi staffsblue like your team set up mate……who would you give captain armband too?? i know you mentioned elliott, but he not in your team line up, pls don’t think i am being funny……..with the set up you got already i would happily give spector the nod. ;)

  • Greg says:

    I’d like 2 c Ambrose given a chance, he’s our most experienced midfielder next 2 Burke at this level given the amount of games he played for palace at this level. He can play left/centre/attacking midfield! Y buy a player and not use him.

  • Leigh says:

    On paper best result yet?
    Team begining to gel?
    Senior injured on the way back?
    About to turn the corner?

    A worry about the number of yellow cards though.

  • mark says:

    http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/lee-clark-says-blues-need-6025578? everyone is feeling frustrated you are not on your own……………but we together will kro…………

  • dave mann says:

    id go same team as you staffs, but i bet you any money he wont pck it !
    its no good moaning about not getting the ” rub of the green” yet again
    the performance was reasonable, hitting a post, dasallowed goal, penalty
    turned down, but we lost again by the odd goal, points keep you up not
    performances so lets stop feeling sorry for ourselves and start picking
    the right team and the right formation before its to late.KRO.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Like I said dave, looking at Burnley’s (probable) team, I think it’s the strongest we’ve faced so far. If they have a weak spot, it may be down their left… which Caddis and Burke could exploit. Up front worries me a bit, because Shackell and Duff are a strong partnership. We might need to practice shooting from distance in training this week.

  • mark says:

    hi dave i think clark got the formation spot on at QPR he outwitted harry it was our luck that deserted us yet again…..elliot miss of the season last year springs to mind……………referring to shinnie……sometimes breaks just don’t fall to certain players at the right time e.g Novak suddenly fans class them as cr*p…..on the other side of the coin he could have had possibly 5 or 6 goals by now, and top of the scoring charts…………..

    • StaffsBlue says:

      For me, Shinnie is a far worse culprit for missing chances. Novak often plays with his back to goal, or is running the channels. I’ve lost count of the good chances Shinnie has fluffed so far facing the goal. If Novak could have had 5 or 6… Shinnie could have had 8.

  • Frankie says:

    Yep, tactically, we were superb against QPR and I certainly felt proud even though we got nowt.
    These people who are knocking Lee Clark and questioning his selection need sectioning in my opinion.
    the manager is making the best of what we have, he sees them in training and basically has forgotten more about the geame than any of us will ever know anyway.
    If ‘rub of the green’ exists then we are due an amazing amount of luck soon.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    A lot of the teams we’ve played recently have been employing a lot of delaying tactics. Only reason a team does that, is when the opposition is on top… which we have been a lot. Once we get more than one goal in a match, I think we’ll click.

  • dave mann says:

    trouble is i cant see us scoring 2 goals in a league game and keeping it clean at the back,
    as leicester undone us and were by far the better team that day. as i said its no good
    being on top and not taking chances, it WILL cost us dearly if we cant find someone to
    find the net, burnley are firing this season and a draw would be a good result, but draws
    aint gonna be good enough if we dont start winning, our look needs to change asap or
    it will be a long hard winter.KRO.

  • des says:

    worst scenario in football is playing well & losing, my over riding memory is of Liverpool winning 1.0 @ watford when Kenny Daglish was player manager, an old time liverpool player was asked his opinion afterwards, he said half of that team were not worthy of the Liverpool shirt & performance was shocking & result was a travesty. That season Liverpool won the cup & league double!!!

    Likewise people who moaned about shocking football under Mcleish which got us promoted, finished ion highest league position in half a century & won the league cup!!


  • Marky mark says:

    Another formation another team selection same result, I’m getting confused watching it

    LC needs to find the answer and quick, to be fair there was positives in the game but it was still a failure, just cannot see us scoring Novak is not a goal scorer and never will be, the defence all of them have done a terrific job so far but if u don’t score they will crumble eventually.

    All we can do is hope to land somebody on loan who knows what the net looks like,

    • StaffsBlue says:

      At least he’s trying different things to try and get us into gear. He wants to use the 3-5-2… but he’s willing enough to try different things. To be honest, I thought as soon as he signed Caddis, we’d go back to 3-5-2, but to be fair, he’s looking at the opposition and trying to play to their weaknesses and our strengths. We’re doing well until that final ball or shot. What more can the guy do to get goals, other than him, Terry Mac and Steve Watson putting on their boots again.

  • Bob Your Uncle says:

    Very good tactics with a system that worked well and even Harry Redknapp said in a post match interview that really they were fortunate to be in the game at half time. Zigic will definitely give us more options along with Asante. Novak worked tirelessly and was very unfortunate with his header, I think Shinnie really should be scoring more, he has done well to get in the positions but has fluffed the majority of them. He does seem like a good buy and has done well to get himself into the positions and does some promising things but he really should be scoring some more with the opportunities he has. I believe Scott Allan showed in the cup game that he can definitely take his chances, worth a go Lee?

  • dave mann says:

    id rather win and be lucky than loose and be unlucky, zigic must be given a run in the team
    from saturday, 5 or 6 games on the spin from the start no excuses and see what he can
    do because nobody else is, 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 not 4-3-3 cause that aint working, lets see him
    earn is money by giving him a run in the team and then maybe our look will change or maybe
    not……….does anyone remember our 1-0 win over chelsea about 3/ 4 seasons ago when we
    were totally outclassed, outplayed, men against boys, so one sided it was embarrasing and
    lee bowyer scored and we won……THATS the look we need now and plenty off it.KRO.

  • StevieW says:

    I reckon that Matt Green has been doing some behind closed doors work with Ziggy ready for Sheff Wed, I am quite excited about todays development squad game with all the sick bay rangers coming back.

    As for luck yes we do need to make our own luck but Lady luck needs to be shining her torch in our direction and not the oppositions.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      You could well be right about that, but if so, they should be paired together in the development game today.

      I’m waiting for Asante to be fit and able to start a game for us. He might just be the answer, who knows. It would be nice to have the opportunity to find out.

  • dave mann says:

    roger johnson will play for sheff. w. on saturday, seems just the game for big zig to make
    is come back and give roger the welcome he trully deserves.KRO.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Zigic will probably get his usual booking. It makes me laugh really… he’s about the least physical striker I’ve ever seen. He gets booked mainly because he’s head and shoulders above most players. It’s so easy for defenders not to jump, then claim Zigic has leaned on them. The refs don’t help.

  • andy says:

    I have felt, every time I have watched Blues this season, that all they have been missing is a striker or two who can finish. Had we had that striker Blues would certainly have walloped both Plymouth and Yeovil in the Cup with no need for extra time and would be sitting amongst the leading pack in the League. Those are the facts, Birmingham need a quality striker.

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