Often Partisan

Buzzing again – Brentford Match Reflections

Birmingham City completed their third successive win at home against Brentford thanks to a very late Maikel Kieftenbeld winner in a game that threatened to be overshadowed by Demarai Gray’s impending transfer out of B9.

For those of you who want to read about Dimmy, I’m going to disappoint you – I’m leaving that until tomorrow; as much as people are discussing his departure I want to talk about the game yesterday as I think it’s better to focus on our future rather than his.

The game yesterday took a similar pattern to the MK Dons one. It took a while to get going, but once Blues remembered to go direct, they created chances. While it’s worrying that all three subs were due to knocks, James Vaughan probably had his best game in a Blues shirt (in what could be his last appearance) and with the next league fixture being 10 days away it’s not so bad.

A lot of talk post-match was about Maikel Kieftenbeld. His lungbusting run to finish off Vaughan’s cross-shot having won the ball in his own half to start the move typified what was an all-action performance. I genuinely thought he was going to burst into tears of happiness such was his reaction to scoring and being mobbed by his team-mates; his final fist pump to the crowd says to me he gets what it means to pull on the shirt – as Gary Rowett said after the game for £160,000 he’s been an outstanding signing.

The man of the match for me though was Jon Toral. I’m not kidding when I say I’ve watched the through ball for Maghoma’s opener at least ten times overnight – it was just that good. I really like the Spaniard; he has a touch of class about him, vision to open up space as well as being a decent finisher and if there is one loanee I’d like to hold onto, it’s him. Six months left on his Arsenal deal, I can’t see him breaking into their first eleven and I wonder if we can twist Arsene’s arm into letting us have him permanently.

On a day when people wondered about life after Dimmy, Jacques Maghoma once again stepped up to the plate. He’s become increasingly important to the team and with five goals this season has given us an additional goal threat we needed so badly with David Cotterill out of the team. He worked so hard, tracking back as well as bursting forwards and I think we’re really seeing the fruits of that free signing.

Viv Solomon-Otabor didn’t quite have such an impressive game on what was his 20th birthday; I think his rawness still shows but clearly Rowett’s half time team talk worked again as he created the first chance of the second half bursting forwards past his full back. Solomon is not a tricky winger who’s going to perform ten stepovers and trick his way past a defence – he’s all about pace and power and like Maghoma should be encouraged to continually run at defenders as they will either commit and leave themselves open to giving away free kicks and pens or back off and give him more space.

The only downside for me was that for the second match in succession Tomasz Kuszczak let a shot rebound off him into the danger zone – this time to be tapped home. Yes, the conditions were poor and the ball did dip on him but it is slightly concerning that he seems to be making these kinds of mistakes frequently.

Still. Another three points, pushing back close to the top six and a rocking St Andrew’s. All in all, a good start to 2016.

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74 Responses to “Buzzing again – Brentford Match Reflections”

  • Waller says:

    What about his saves he makes. It’s not a major concern

    • Paul Lester says:

      I agree with your comment. He had a few wobbles in the early part of the season, but his penalty save against Reading got our season of and running and since then he has performed consistently well and kept us in the game on numerous times

    • Papaulski says:

      Completely agree. He has been one of our best players this season. His barely put a foot wrong for me and looked gutted to make the mistake. After the goal I turned to my brother and said I hope we get the winner as he doesn’t deserve to have lost us the 3 points. Any criticism is completely unfair

  • Tony E says:

    Like you I thought Toral was out of contract in the summer, but then I read somewhere that he signed a new long term contract last summer. I like him, but honestly don’t think he could make it at Arsenal, I would be delighted if we could secure him permanently, but if he did sign again last year I suspect he would be beyond our reach financially.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Yes a very good start and again the form of Toral and Maghoma was top notch and I for one an absolutely flabbergasted at his Maghoma as come on , he was useless pre season but my god the boys come on leaps and bounds and with him , cotterill to come back and young Soloman the loss of Gray in my opinion will not make one ounce of difference on what I’ve seen this season … We now have a nice little nothing to loose FA cup game against Bournemouth as long as it’s not 0-8 so bring it on then the Clough teams away .. Can’t wait ! Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Told ya Maghoma was a good ‘un Dave. :) He just needed a run of games to find his form. I never had any doubts about him.

      • Dave Mann says:

        Maybe the fact that he propably wasent match fit or up to steam in pre season as something to do with it but glad to be proved wrong mate , he’s saved us the Gray money because we now don’t need to replace him like for like . Kro

        • StaffsBlue says:

          I like him, because when he gets the ball, his first thought is to run with it and try to beat the man in front of him.. like an old-fashioned winger. He’s proved he’s got a shot on him too.

  • atko says:

    Hopefully the bulk of the first team will be rested for Bournemouth given we have an important league game 3 days later. Would be good for other players to get competitive games under their belt.

  • ian ambrose says:

    Am happy blues Maikel Kieftenbeld stay in middfield always he is good passed ball around and Jon Toral… Hope so Demarai Gray sell worth £8m cos bring new player strike, and centre half back partner with morrison
    Right

  • Shane says:

    The ground is beginning to feel like it did under Houghton there is a little bit of belief creeping in to the crowd it was a good victory against a good Brentford team I hope Rowett doesn’t go silly if he gets money from Gray I would rather wait until the summer to use that cash

    • Richard Granfield says:

      Shane……I disagree. If we have any aspiration to make the Play-Offs we need QUALITY additions to the squad. A playmaker in midfield, a central defender and a striker.
      I would be more than happy if the striker is James Vaughan,

      PS. Our former manager’s name is Hughton not Houghton.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        I think that if Rowett really believes we can finish in the play-offs, then he has to go for it. But, it’s vital he brings in the right players to help realise that and not waste the little pulling power we have.

        If he’s not confident, then maybe it’s best to keep his powder dry until the summer and just bring in a few loans to top up the squad… then really go for it next season.

    • steve says:

      The squad needs help now,not in the summer. Disagree about the ground getting better. Still a shit atmosphere.

  • fingles says:

    You are being harsh on Thomas. He is generally solid and the punch away late in the game when we were under pressure, was top class.

  • Bluesfan says:

    I must have been watching a different game to you no way was Toral man of the match at times he was a liability Maghoma was much better. Glad of the win but we were very lucky we robbed the win Brentford were miles better than blues our style of football is frustrating and totally awful. IMO we need more than two to three players more like five or six most of our players play the game like they have never played football before I’ve got to say it’s embarrassing at times I know fans will say I’m wrong because we won but we are being outplayed to many times for my liking.

    • almajir says:

      We were awful? Played like we’ve never played football before?

      No disrespect but I’m glad I don’t sit next to you at games.

      • Bluesfan says:

        You are only saying that because we won we were awful get you’re rose tinted glasses off Brentford showed us up football wise I’m well chuffed we won but lm not afraid to say we were lucky.

        • steve says:

          Rubbish. Brentford kept the ball nicely and their tippy tappy football was lovely. we let them have the ball in areas where they were no threat. But for a GK error we would have had another clean sheet.

        • bhamcityjulian says:

          Bluesfan, don’t mistake possession for superiority. Its what you do with the ball matters more than mere possession

      • Bluesfan says:

        I suppose I expect to much wanting to be entertained for £25/£30 a game glad of the win though. Did anyone think the referee was one of the strangest ones we have had down St. Andrews he was weird.

        • oldburyblue says:

          I am surprised no-one has picked up on your comment about the ref. I agree that he was one of the weirdest referees I have seen for a long time…if ever. It was as though he was a punter from out of the stands who either didn’t know all the rules or had a unique interpretation of them. Morrison, as captain, seemed to have a long conversation with him to that effect as they both ran upfield.

    • RichardM says:

      Bluesfan – with respect you made the same comments after the Cardiff game, and I disagreed with them then. With the resources we’ve got (which gives us the second LOWEST wage budget in the division) – we have to play a certain style, which relies heavily on counter-attack. We are not going to dominate sides – get used to it. That does not necessarily mean we’re “awful” or “playing badly” – we’re doing the best we can given the resources available. I’d like to see us playing like Brazil but it aint gonna happen, just be glad we do have some players like Maghoma and Toral in the squad who can pull something special out of the bag. You’re entitled to your opinion, but I think you’re being a little harsh in your criticism. We’re 8th at the laf-way stage and just 3 points off 5th, that’s a bloody miracle given what GR has to work with. QPR would bite our arm off for our position right now…

      • Bluesfan says:

        I agree with what you say Richard I don’t expect blues to play good football all the time especially against teams that have spent money but we have been outplayed against teams that are below us that haven’t spent money themselves. Maybe I’m over critical at times but we wasn’t good yesterday but we won but I’m not going to over the top saying we were good and we deserved it because we got lucky.

        • RichardM says:

          Agreed, and it pains me to think we’ve been beaten at home by the likes of Huddersfield, Rotherham and Charlton – problem is these are more difficult than Boro or Derby in all honesty, becuase our style (especialy at home) depends on the opposition attacking us rather than parking the bus.

    • hobbo says:

      Bees fan here, i was at the game yesterday and gutted we lost a game we should have won, this may sound like sour grapes but i now what brand of football i would rather watch week in week out win or lose, hope to see you in the play offs.HAPPY NEW YEAR ALL YOU BLUENOSES

      • RichardM says:

        Cheers Hobbo – see posts above, we’ve got less budget than Brentford and virtually everybody else in the division – that’s why we can only play a counter-attacking game, until the mess in Hong Kong is sorted. Still, 8th with bugger all money, not bad eh?

      • steve says:

        Your football is boring Hobbo. You faff about in areas that won’t hurt the opposition. We’re not the best footballing team,but it’s effective. Go onto Youtube and watch us at Fulham,watch the MK Dons game from last week and tell us what you’d prefer.

      • Richard Granfield says:

        Hobbo…..Selling Andre Gray will mean you will miss out on promotion.
        Brentford played good football up to the last third, but didn’t have a goalscorer to finish off the good work.

  • Robin says:

    if Rowett has a slice of the Gray fee & purchases the like of Dutch Mike then we won’t go far wrong

  • Daniel says:

    I think the Dimmy-issue is quite clear cut and does need no discussion. It’s obvious he won’t stay beyond the summer as he is our greatest asset these days (at least in sell-value). He has a clause in his contract which was matched.

    I say: Let him go with no ill feelings and reinvest the money in two players that can help the team.
    People said we are done when we sold Nathan Redmond (different circumstances though) and we weren’t.

    Let’s move on.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Your right Bluesfan, I was totally embarrassed and watching a totally different game to everyone else , we were outplayed , had no bottle , no heart , no commitment , we were like headless chickens for 90 mins and should have been soundly beaten … But that’s three home wins in a row , were pushing for the playoffs with no serious money to spend and we scored two quality goals and there goal was a gimme …. It’s you mate that was watching the wrong game , get serious or get badges . Kro

    • bhamcityjulian says:

      We were not outplayed. We are happy to concede possession to teams who cant hurt us then hit them on the counter.

  • rhees says:

    January a big month in my opinion,if money is made available fees or wages and 3 quality players in then play offs a real possibility.
    Other wise another 10th 9th place finish which wouldn’t be disastrous

  • Not that dissapointed to see gray go tbh. 1 goal and 1 assist is simply not good enough. When you compare it to mags 5 goals and 4 assists with less game time. On his day he is unplayable but thats not often enough. I think he is a couple of years away from being premier league class. He is not a patch on redmond. I trust rowett to use money wisely and bring in 3 decent players that can help us kick on for a promotion challenge. Kro. in rowett we trust.

  • nicko says:

    brentford had more of the ball but to be fair blues defense played well there goal was a mistake we do need 3 to 4 players i dont agree with 6 you are not being fair to our team who give there all every game to the manager if dimmi thinks he will walk in to Leicester and play every game he is in for a shock
    . kro

  • Dave Mann says:

    Maybe not but I think he can get ahead of Albrighton . Kro

    • Texas Pete says:

      I watched the Leicester game and Allbrighton was everywhere. He stood out above the rest. Interesting to see so many villa players doing so well elsewhere after being sold on.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I don’t think Kuszczak has cost us any more goals than Randolph did.. and for me, Tommy is a far better keeper. Every single player in the team makes cock-ups, it’s just that keepers’ mistake often lead to goals. But they’re no worse than any other defender.

    We have Cotterill, Maghoma and Solomon-Otabor for the wing positions now, I wonder if Rowett will look to bring in another to make it up to 4 again, promote from the academy, or leave it as is?

  • My mate is a leicester fan dave. And he says albrighton and drinkwater have been outstanding this season. He watches them week in week out.

  • Dave Mann says:

    One of my work mates is a Leicester season ticket holder me he says the same so maybe young Dimmi as his work cut out , let’s hope the benches are warm at the walkers and all the other premiership grounds , I think they are . Kro

  • Richard Granfield says:

    With all the coverage regarding Gray and Solomon-Otabor spare a thought for Reece Brown.
    Brown has the technical gifts to be Blues playmaker now and for the future. Recently he was only a substitute for the Development squad. He is out of contract in the summer. I, and I am sure I am not the only one, would be sad if he was to leave the club without realising his huge potential.

    • Dave Mann says:

      If he sorts his head out he might be but I don’t think so . Kro

      • StaffsBlue says:

        It seems he doesn’t want it enough. He’s wasting his talent.. maybe a move somewhere else will kickstart his career.

  • Yeah if you check the premier league player power ratings albrighton is in top 40. Gray will most probably be used as an impact player last 10 mins of a game. Like i said hes some way off premier league quality at he moment. Its no gamble to leicester 3.7 m. Their owners are dripping in cash. Its a shame these young players cant see that the premier league is a graveyard for raw english talent. Agents are a big problem in todays game and not allways operating in the best interests for their clients. More interested in lineing their own pockets. Kro

  • paule says:

    I think Leicester have bought Dimmi for the future they got him on the cheap he’s young & has plenty of potential but he’s no longer ours. I believe if Rowett gets some of the money we get from Dimmi plus the money we have been led to believe we were going to get we could have a great chance of top 4 if he brings in the right players, if we invest nothing we could still make the play offs because apart from possibly 3 or 4 teams the Championship is a relatively poor league.

  • We are missing the point , we are short of goals and getting further behind the top teams in that department ,we are well off for wingers , we need a young frank lampard or change to 2up front as GazR has hinted , most goals are going to be scored in the middle so torals position is the the position that needs filling with a high scoring player , so another striker that can make goals as well or a playmaker that is a very good goal scorer , plus cover for Donaldson and a fullback , and your right RG brown must be kept on , we have let to many good young players go for peanuts , only for them to be worth a lot more later , I do feel the fans should see him as a sub soon , I am gutted that we are not getting all the money to spend with the price being less than 5million …

    • Dave Mann says:

      Williammorgan , we are not missing the point , we all know where we need to strengthen , stop being so patronising . Kro

  • We are missing the point , we are short of goals and getting further behind the top teams in that department ,we are well off for wingers , we need a young frank lampard or change to 2up front as GazR has hinted , most goals are going to be scored in the middle so torals position is the the position that needs filling with a high scoring player , so another striker that can make goals as well or a playmaker that is a very good goal scorer , plus cover for Donaldson and a fullback , and your right RG brown must be kept on , we have let to many good young players go for peanuts , only for them to be worth a lot more later , I do feel the fans should see him as a sub ,

  • Texas Pete says:

    We can expect Kusczcakto drop the ball at least once per game. It is usually when someone could pounce. Its a pattern that is worrying. We just need to score one more goal to be on the safe side. ;-)

  • David L says:

    Am I the only one who thinks it’s a shame and a terrible indictment on the way that footy has evolved that most are thinking of next week’s game vs AFC B as being a nothing/result doesn’t matter/chance to blood the squad players event?

    I mean …..the FA Cup…..Oldest Cup competition in t’World (etc etc)

    A home tie against oppos with whom we have a grudge to settle

    Chance of money-spinning tie in round 4…Man U away = £1mill approx – that’s enough for a couple of decent signings….

    Entirely understand the ‘lets focus on the league’ stuff – but it’s still a shame.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I don’t care what competition it is, I want to win every game. Obviously the league is always the priority, but the cups still bring in money and silverware if you’re fortunate enough. For me, I would always play our strongest team.

    • Dave Mann says:

      No , again stop being patronising . Kro

  • Dave Mann says:

    That was meant at David L staffs not you . Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Never thought it was Dave. :)

    • David L says:

      Dave : I’m seriously intrigued. How was a comment about how folk these days seem to think the FA Cup is relatively unimportant and so a place to play squad players patronizing?

      Who was I patronizing and in what way please?

      Don’t want to start an argument, and am happy for others to hold a different view to mine.

      To make my feelings clear on the point at isue – in a normal world I think we’d see the AFC B game as a great chance to test ourselves against an opposition that pasted us (13-0 overall last season?) to see how far we had come. We’ve got a decent chance to progress to R4 and so make a bit of money to help the coffers, and above all play with a lack of fear.

      But, in the situation the BCFC finds itself and the paper-thin nature of the quality end of the squad, means we can’t risk for some players to get injured as the League is more important.

      As someone who grew up in the heyday of the FA Cup and followed the team to 2 semi finals, I think it’s a shame how the perceived importance of the FA Cup has lessened.

      Now if that wasn’t clear before I’m sorry. I think that’s a genuine and reasoned p o v – and whilst as I’ve said, I’m happy if you see things differently…but how can you construe that as patronizing, please?

      • Shirley Blue says:

        I wouldn’t risk key players like Morrison and Donaldson in the FA Cup game next Saturday. We have a winnable away game at Forest on the following Tuesday where I would definitely play our strongest team and another tough away game at Derby to follow . Our squad just doesn’t have the depth at the moment to risk players we have not got adequate replacements for when we have three games over eight days and I am pretty sure we will be seeing seven or eight changes from the team that started against Brentford. Bournemouth will probably do similar. I’m not saying its right but its sensible.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          Rest Morrison maybe, but I think Donaldson could do with the game time tbh. He’s not played much in the last month. We need him match fit.

      • Dave Mann says:

        David L it was 12-2 by the way not 13-0 over the two games last season but what I meant to say is that I to think the FA cup should be treated with more respect and we should play our strongest team because of last seasons embarrassment , I agree with you , patronising was propably not the right word but I think most Blues fans of the older generation do know what it’s all about and the extra money if generates would come in handy , I love a cup run and hope we get through Saturday so maybe we both got the wrong end of the stick :-) kro

  • Richard Granfield says:

    A lot has been made of how low the fee (£3.75m) is. But if you compare it to Adele Alli’s transfer to Spurs in Feb.2015, which was £5m it is quite in keeping.
    Alli who has 4 full caps for England is only 2 months older than Dimmi.

    • RichardM says:

      My understanding is that the agent had Blues over a barrell somewhat, and it was the best Blues could do without losing him for £1 mill in a tribunal if he hadn’t signed in the summer. Also, I think it’s all paid upfront – Bournemouth’s £5 mill was in installments with only £1 mill up-front, at least that’s how the Mail reported it. Pretty sure there will be a sell on clause as well.

  • Mitchell says:

    Today’s comments about our ‘lack of style’ amazes me. Yes we do struggle for goals and yes we have minimal possession nearly every game.Also we don’t rip up teams who visit Stans. However we are a squad of Lee Clarks players mostly who were put together on a Pannu shoestring. Any other manager would be struggling to get above 17th spot -but because he has got them to believe in themselves he has created a miracle that nobody could have imagined. Wolves,forest,Reading and even Cardiff have possession to kill for- but where are they in the league?

  • Blue Steve says:

    Little bit harsh on Kuszczak. He has performed consistently well since a few blips at the start of the season.

    GR was at pains to point out that Dimmys stats are pretty poor really (1 goal, 1 assist all season compared to Maghoma’s 5 goals 2 assists) He has a very valid point and left footed left winger will bring far better balance to our team

  • paul whittaker says:

    Hi Dan I see that “bursting” is the word of the day in your report


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