Often Partisan

Bursting Bubbles

My reflections on the match against West Ham – I watched on Sky Sports

1) Ziggy Ziggy Ziggy can’t you see…

…sometimes your goals hypnotise me. Walking back to the bus stop from the Man City game, I’d said I could see Zigic getting one against the ‘appy ‘ammers, and I’m pleased to see I was right. The fact is he scares the shit out of them; you can win as many headers as you like against him but if you let one like that slip it’s going to kill you.

2) A tale of two subs

For me, two substitutions turned the game in our favour – and we only made one of them. Upson had played really well against Ziggy in the first half, neutralising his threat against them by getting in front of him and not allowing Zigic to control the ball as he often does with his back to goal. When Upson went off, Da Costa didn’t look as up to the task, and I thought the goal was inevitable. Jerome was struggling massively; his confidence is shot and he looks like he’s carrying a knock – it was a brave move going to five across the middle from McLeish, but it was what won the game for us.

3) Clean sheet

I also think it’s wise to note that we kept our first clean sheet in nine games; conceding sloppy goals has been killing us recently because we don’t score too many. Today the team held firm, and the never-say-die spirit that is within the camp shone through as defenders blocked efforts, and threw themselves into the line of fire to keep West Ham out. I’d take a return to the last season of grinding out 1-0 wins; I’m sure McLeish would take it too instead of some pretty football resulting in draws or defeats.

4) Injuries

I may have mentioned this before, but I think injuries and fitness is a key difference between the two teams. To me, it’s no surprise that there is a direct correlation between the tenure of Sullivan and Gold at either club and the amount of injuries the team suffers; on arrival at West Ham the medical staff got massively shrunk, and as a consequence West Ham are suffering horrifically with injuries. In comparison, since our former board left us we’ve increased our medical staff, and our players do look to be fitter and we don’t seem to suffer the same amount of injuries. Fitness is a key factor; many West Ham fans complain about how their team tail off in the second half. I posted on twitter that if Blues could hold them goal-less until the interval, we’d win.

5) Seb

There were a few fans who wanted us to get rid of our non-contract signing Swedish wideman, and I hope today showed them the error of their ways. Whilst Bentley is undoubtedly a more skillful player, it was Larsson who whipped in the free kick that won us the game. Larsson is a more disciplined player in defence, and was back and available to help out whilst the team had their backs to the wall. I really like Seb, and I hope we can convince him to sign a new deal; I believe we’ll be a poorer team without him and he’ll be difficult to replace.

6) Keep the Faith

Blues have bounced back up to sixteenth in the table with a game in hand. We now have a run of three home games, all winnable. Whilst it’s looked desperate at times, destiny is still in our own hands; we have players like Hleb and Martins to come into the team and we seem to have rediscovered how to defend. I think we’ll be okay.

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