Birmingham City vs Watford – Preview

Feb 15th, 2013 | By | Category: Blues News, Lead Article, Matches

Team news

It appears that Nikola Zigic will not be involved as he has been putting in a “Disgusting” performance in training.  Marlon King is also out so Peter Lovenkrands may get a rare start.

Reverse fixture

Blues went to Vicarage Road on the August bank holiday weekend with the game ending 2-0 to Watford. In the end the result flattered Blues in what was another TV horror show for them.

Recent Form

Blues are unbeaten in five games and are moving towards mid table. They have an even record at home of five wins, five draws and five defeats.

Watford have moved up to fourth with four wins in their last six games. Their away record is impressive with eight wins and thirty two goals scored.

Outlook

Last Saturday’s late show in the mud of the Valley has kept the mini revival going and extended our unbeaten run to five. There are too many draws instead of wins (Huddersfield fans would identify with this) for a playoff charge but we can still aim for a top ten finish. First step is to avoid relegation and the two games that follow this will be important in that regard because in Sheffield Wednesday and Peterborough we play two sides below us. Four to six points in those games and we will start to feel more comfortable. It would be nice not to have to rely on late goals as while it shows the spirit in the team it doesn’t do much for our hearts. I’ve got a health check up on Sunday morning so I’ll have to tell them that I was watching Blues on Saturday when they check my blood pressure.

Before those games we welcome Watford who via new owners, a new manager and an imaginative use of the loan system are having their best season in a good few years. Gianfranco Zola seems to be more settled into the role more than he did at West Ham and they have been able to boost their squad via their connections in Italy. They are in a very similar situation to the one we were in this time last year. They look unlikely to get an automatic spot but look comfortable in the playoffs. They will definitely the toughest opponent Blues have faced since Cardiff game on New Years’ Day but Blues often play their best against sides in good form.

The team selection for this game will be interesting particularly who plays up front. I got the impression at The Valley last week that Nikola Zigic has fallen out in some way with Lee Clark. I noticed some strained body language between the two when he was warming up and Clark’s comments in his press conference today have backed this up. At the moment it looks like he will only get a game if we are behind with a few minutes to go and we need to start hoofing it. While I’m not sure he deserves a start he can contribute a lot more than just being a target of panic football in the last few minutes. Elsewhere it’s good to see the decent form of Morgaro Gomis who it appeared had been frozen out and was going to leave but has been solid in recent weeks. Wade Elliot is clearly relishing a central midfield role as well. With our injuries clearing up Lee Clark doesn’t have to make too many changes which I think has been helping us.

With a symmetrical home record of W5, D5 and L5 Blues will be looking to break the pattern by adding to that first column but I think we’ll do well to just add another draw.

My prediction

Blues 2 Watford 2 (Blues equaliser in Injury time)

C’mon you Blue Boys.

 

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