Often Partisan

Arse

So I was planning on writing up some reflections on the game against Arsenal, but I’m struggling to think of anything positive to say. Things must have been bad as I left when the third goal went in, fully thirty minutes prior to the final whistle – in my defence my daughter wasn’t enjoying it and I was suffering too from various aches and pains – thus it’s hard for me to write something up because I didn’t see it all.

I’ve seen some poor games before on New Year’s Day – I vividly remember us losing by two goals to Forest on 1st January 2001, and then having a nightmare getting home because of a distinct lack of public transport – and I had a premonition before this one that it was going to be a bit of a mare. It’s always harsher when you get beaten badly when you know you’ve got a forty minute wait for the bus home, and I will admit that the fact the game was on ESPN was making me seriously think about staying home in the warm to watch it.

The result apart, there are some real things that concern me about Blues at the moment. I’ve always been a big supporter of McLeish, but I’m starting to worry about his doggedness in sticking with the same eleven players wherever possible even when we have a big run of games coming up. Whilst consistency is a good thing in a squad, I think it can also breed a culture of players being too comfortable in their place – for instance I think Johnson and Dann are not playing anywhere near as well as they can and it’s because they’re sure they’re not going to get dropped. It can’t be helping the morale of players on the bench either – I’m not one for including players for the sake of it, but bearing in mind we can’t score many goals why are we not giving Derbyshire a run at all, even from the bench? If he’s not good enough, then send him back to Olympiakos and bring in someone who is. If he is good enough, play the poor bugger.

Blackpool on Tuesday night is now a massive game, one that we must win. We can’t afford to draw games like that now, we have to start putting teams away, start scoring goals and start winning points – because if we don’t, we’ll get cut adrift and we’ll go down. If things need to be shaken up, then shake them up. If players need a rollocking, do it. But whatever McLeish does, he must be positive and he has to aim to return from Bloomfield Road with three points, and our first “double” of the season.

Millwall which follows it is a strange one – we cannot afford a replay with our current fixture list, so I’d be prepared to go shit or bust in that – do everything we can to win, and if we lose so be it. A loss would hurt, but it would probably be easier to deal with than another game in the fixture calendar which would require other games to be moved.

Hopefully today’s performance will encourage McLeish and the board into sorting out some quality players on transfer sooner rather than later. It’s not panic buying, we just need the extra firepower because what we have right now isn’t good enough and isn’t doing the business. I really want to be positive, I really want to be behind Eck and too many results and performances like today – make no mistake, we were awful – will be the end of him, and the doom of us.

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