In 2009, we had a terrific run in the Premier League, and when it came to an end I did this blog about it and previous good runs. I thought I ought to visit it again.
In 2009/10, we had a 15 game unbeaten run. The results were 9 wins and 6 draws. Our notable results were home draws against both Manchester clubs, Chelsea, (we could have won that one!), and an away draw at Liverpool where Jerome scored THAT goal. The 9 wins included 3 victories in the FA cup.
This season we have gone on another 15 match unbeaten run, (so far), since the 1-1 draw at home to West Ham and after our defeat away at Palace. Amazingly, this run also consists of 9 wins and 6 draws, and includes 6 straight wins during January. This run includes 4 unbeaten games in the FA cup.
Obviously as it stands at the moment, we are still on the run. On Saturday at home to Forest, we could go 1 more than our 2009/10 run which would be good, actually would be utterly amazing.
Forget that we are “only” in the Championship, for me, this run surpasses the 2009/10 run by some way.
In 2009 Alex McLeish, (that’s the one doing a good job at our neighbours), had built his team over the previous 12 months. He had his style of play, and had pretty much worked out the strengths and weaknesses of the side. Also we were fortunate to have a regular back four for most of those games. Don’t get me wrong, it was a wonderful achievement, especially the results against the top teams – but we were pretty well set up.
Spin forward to last summer. The Carling Cup holders had been relegated and it seemed like every time a door opened, a player left. Of the side that went on the 2009/10 run, only Doyle, Carr, Ridge and Fahey remained and Ridge left in January. Added to that, the stories of financial problems wouldn’t go away and all of a sudden we were without a manager, when McLeish decided to cross the city. Add to that Carson Yeung’s problems had become public. Our future looked somewhat gloomy. On a number of forums, many people were saying that a 2nd relegation was more likely than anything else, even with Chris Hughton in charge.
The start to the season was somewhat “wobbly.” Our first 11 games only included 3 wins, with 2 wins in the league and 1 in Europe. We lost almost half of those games, with 5 defeats – and the buzzards were circling. Then all of a sudden things started to click. After a somewhat “dodgy” start, we went 8 unbeaten with 6 straight wins earning the manager his first monthly award of the season. Of the 8 games, 3 unbeaten games were in Europe and this seemed to help to start to build some momentum.
The next 10 games are the ones that lead us to the present run. In this 10, we only won 3 games. The manager of the month curse had struck! Despite this, we seemed to be playing pretty well and the squad did appear to have gelled. The defeats at Reading and at Hull were games we could have won as was the draw with Blackpool. Surely it was only a matter of time before it clicked.
The last game of the 10 mentioned, was away at Palace and that wasn’t a very good performance. Our next game was at home to West Ham, who were playing well at the time. We were 15th in the league at this point. Also, this game was the first of two games which were pivotal in our latest run.
After conceding an early goal, Blues didn’t give in and rescued a point with less than 10 minutes to go. The other game was the away game at Peterborough where again we conceded early. This time we equalised with virtually the last kick of the game.
For me, these two results announced a new Blues. We would have given up in the past, and in these two games they kept on working and the reward was realised.
So here we are on a fantastic run, where we have been scoring goals, including many in the final quarter. The 4 away at Leeds was the big result for me. That announced that we needed to be taken seriously, and it’s a shame that Zigic hasn’t played since then – although we seem to be doing alright without him! The 6 at Millwall was great, but they were down to 9 men.
As well as scoring freely, we were also only conceding a few. You can score as many goals as you like, but if you concede more, you’ll lose. We have the 2nd meanest defence in the league! Davies and Murphy have been fantastic this season. Actually everyone who has played in the back 5, (including keeper), have stepped up their game.
So the run looks like this:
P15 W9 D6 L0 F30 A6
We’re averaging 2 goals a game and conceding less than half a goal per game!
When you look at the season as a whole:
P 44 W 21 D 13 L 10 F 67 A 39 For all competitions, you have to say that is a pretty decent return. We have won 50% of our games and lost less than a quarter.
Of course within that, we achieved 10 points and won two games away in Europe and we are still unbeaten at home this season and still unbeaten in 2012.
So far this is nothing short of being miraculous! Of course the job isn’t done yet, however we are nicely placed in 3rd place we have played most of the top half sides away and we are enjoying a cup run.
Of course I really hope that we see the reward of what has happened so far with promotion, (and / or a cup win!) But even if we don’t, this season has been amazing.
Let’s hope this continues. DMC one of our forum regulars, posted yesterday that he thought that 9 wins could be enough for 2nd place. The way the side are playing, I wouldn’t be surprised if we achieved that, (mind you this IS Blues – so who knows!)
Just as a final point, when the run ends, which of course it will – you get the impression that the side will just get back up and start a new run.
Enjoy the ride!