Often Partisan

Doggedness

Here are my reflections on the game against Blackburn. Please note I watched this courtesy of a dodgy internet feed.

1) A point gained

I’ve said over recent weeks that the away games we had will be tough, and that every point gained in the away games would be a point gained, taking pressure off the home games a bit. Blackburn hasn’t really been a happy hunting ground for us, and I predicted a draw yesterday more in hope than in expectation. It’s true that Blackburn weren’t that good – but neither were we, and it’s obvious the squad is tired and feeling a bit raggedy. Add to that a Blackburn side that seemed determined to kick us up in the air, and you have to accept that a point was a good result, and probably a fair reflection of the game.

2) Curtis Davies

I have to admit, I was more than a little fearful of Curtis Davies coming on at half time against Blackburn, but in fairness to Curtis he had a decent game – far better than his partner, Liam Ridgewell for instance. I did fear that the free kick he conceded blocking off Benjani on the edge of the box would cost us dearly, but our defending from the set piece was resolute, and whilst it wasn’t a classy display it was a dogged one. I sincerely hope Johnson is going to be okay; with Jiranek out with his toe injury we’re a bit light on the centre back front and we’ll be down to playing out of position full backs or kids soon – neither prospect appeals.

3) Defensive mistakes

Whilst many of our fans have bemoaned our lack of attacking prowess, I maintain it’s defensive mistakes that are costing us more than anything. Had we not conceded so deeply into first half injury time after Ridgewell dallied on the ball, we may have had much more of a chance of getting all three points. Luckily, whilst our attacking was dour our defence was strong, dogged and determined to keep Blackburn out, and in the end it was some good goalkeeping from Ben Foster along with some good blocks that gained us the point in my opinion. Blues must keep their concentration levels higher, must look not to give any easy chances away to the opposition – if we can defend like we did during the Carling Cup final we’d be on easy street.

4) Lack of substitutions

I was a bit bewildered by McLeish’s lack of substitutions – some of our players looked like they were clearly flagging. I suspect his motivation was to keep things as they were, to not allow any further breaks in concentration whilst the team reorganised itself. Whilst I can see sense in that reasoning, I think fresh legs either up front, or maybe on the left flank would have given us another out ball, and more chance of alleviating the pressure on the defence, if not giving us the chance to win the game outright.

Blues need to hope that the knocks and niggles picked up in this game sort themselves out over the next week, so that when the free-falling Mackems come to visit we’re fresh, up for the challenge and up for the win. We’re three points, six goals and a game in hand clear of the bottom three – I’m hopeful we can put more distance between us and the Premier League trapdoor and find ourselves in safety before our final day’s trip to White Hart Lane.

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