In football, every team is prone to a slight dip in form during the season. How long it lasts and the form that has preceded the slump contributes to the level of panic around the club. For Birmingham City, we have come out of the blocks slowly and then started limping.
“Birmingham City FC” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by BBM Explorer
With each passing fixture, it is becoming more evident that the remit for Blues this season is now survival. Hovering around the relegation places and currently two points from safety is a situation that no one connected to the club would have envisioned or wanted. With 19 games gone, the turning point and race to the finish line is only five games away and there is enough to suggest that we may be under the pump for the remainder of the season.
The standout problem that has led the side into this position is a lack of firepower up front. We are bottom of the league in terms of goals scored in the league and have only mustered ten goals in 19 league games. The lack of threat in the final third is a major concern and has the potential to drag us down even further into the mire of a relegation scrap if not sorted.
“Fulham V Birmingham City (September, 201” (CC BY 2.0) by nicksarebi
There was reason for optimism after the draw with Sheffield United as Jeremie Boga threw his hat into the ring as the man to sort out Birmingham City’s lack of goals and creativity. Boga’s wonder goal was enough to earn a point against the high flying Blades. Boga hasn’t been a regular starter with manager Steve Cotterill unconvinced about his potential. Speaking after his superb solo effort, Cotterill said he didn’t do enough of that in training and that is why he hasn’t been picked. It seems Boga’s impact since then has made a positive impression on the manager with Cotterill describing the change in the player as chalk and cheese since he arrived at the club.
Boga, on loan from Chelsea, could provide the attacking impetus Birmingham City so desperately need. It isn’t always the strikers up front that are to blame for a lack of goals but instead a lack of creativity behind them. Boga brings with him the vision to unlock championship defences. His loan is a season-long one from Chelsea and the chances of him being recalled are very slim as Alvaro Morata is finding the back of the net with regularity and is even backed at 8/1 for the Golden Boot in the Premier League betting. Blues look likely to be able to hang on to him for the remainder of the season, with Chelsea not short of creative players. Which is a blessed relief!
It has been one win in the last seven for us, and five points out of a possible 21. These stats are in line with relegation form. The saving grace is that there is slightly more than the majority of the season to go and lots of time to scrape together the points they need, but in reality, the only route to safety is by finding the back of the net and to find the net, we have to learn to create chances.