Often Partisan

Reflections on Birmingham City v Blackpool

My reflections on today’s match:

1) Nikola Zigic IS a good player

Whilst his goal came about from a bit of fortune, it was also because he was in the right place at the right time. His goal against Arsenal has obviously given him confidence, and his touch was just superb at times; always looking to bring the ball under control and lay it off to a Blues player. Play to his strengths and I think we’ve got  a star on our hands.

2) Our other strikers need goals.

I thought O’Connor did well today; tasked to be a bit of a battering ram he did his job well, chasing down the defenders and making them work. Unfortunately when he did get close to being in on goal he didn’t shoot – his lack of confidence is troubling him a bit and he kept trying to play in someone else when maybe he should have just had a dig himself. I will never slate a player for having an opportunistic shot if nothing else is on; bobbles and weird bounces do happen, and it’s good to test a keeper on a slippery surface. Similarly, Matt Derbyshire twice got into great positions on the left and twice wasted them trying to cut inside and then lay it off – again, I think he’d have been at least applauded for effort had he put his boot through it. I think again it’s a slight lack of confidence.

3) Fahey has come on further as a player.

I must admit, whilst I admire Keith for being a good club servant who has come to us cheaply, I’ve never been of the opinion he’s a first teamer; however today he again showed his worth with some neat and tidy possession football. He was always looking to receive the ball, and he was willing to help push things forwards with some crisp tidy passing. I think making the Ireland team has helped him, as it’s given him more confidence in his ability and pushed him to play better and better.

4) Aliaksandr Hleb could be talismanic for us this season

Hleb was outstanding today; I’ve criticised him in previous weeks because I didn’t think he offered us much but he was just brilliant against Blackpool. His touch, his vision, and his tackling were all superb; he gave us creativity in the midfield and it seems to me it’s rubbing off on the rest of the team – they’re more tuned in to his wavelength and are more alert to his ideas. I hope he’s not too badly injured; him, Larsson, Ferguson and Gardner in the middle for the Villa game just makes me salivate in anticipation.

5) Ian Holloway is a class act.

I’ve always liked Olly; he speaks his mind, he is passionate and he cares about the game. His rant on Thursday about the whole Rooney/player power thing was spoken from the heart, and I found myself nodding and agreeing with him. Blackpool today tried to play the game properly, and I think it added to the spectacle, making it a better game – and I think it’s something Olly instills in his team. Also, after the game Olly went up to Barry Ferguson in the tunnel specifically to congratulate him on having a good game. That’s classy, and I have nothing but admiration for him.

Three points that were vital, a boost to confidence, and up to 11th in the table last time I looked. More importantly, a clean sheet and a win by more than the odd goal. Good times.

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