Birmingham City Versus Manchester United – Match Preview

Posted on September 28, 2007 
Filed Under Previews By Aff

Opposition: Manchester United
Competition: Premier League
Venue: St Andrew’s
Live: Setanta Sports, 17:15

Last time out: The last league game between the two sides came in December 2005. Blues and United played out a 2-2 draw at St Andrew’s with Clapham and Pandiani scoring the goals for Blues. Rooney and Van Nistelrooy notched for the Reds. Just eight days earlier, United had been to St Andrew’s and duly knocked us out of the League Cup by 3 goals to one.

Strange thing… I have absolutely no recollection of the game that ended 2-2.

Stats: Like every other club in the footballing pyramid (with, I believe, the exception of Southend United) we do not have a positive record against Manchester United. United have piled up 44 wins to our 25 with 27 ending all square. In the league, United have 39 to our 24.

Our Premiership form against them isn’t any better with Blues gaining just two points from eight encounters. GULP!

Current form: After an indifferent start to the season (including a 1-0 loss at bitter rivals Manchester City) United have begun to knit some results together. A largely second string United side crashed out of the Carling Cup at home to Coventry City earlier in the week but that was United’s first defeat in six games.

At home United are unbeaten and are looking virtually impenetrable at the back. Discounting the Coventry game, United have conceded just 3 goals this season – the last one being on the 19th August in the 1-0 defeat to Manchester City.

Blues are probably around where we expected them to be. Two clean sheets in our last two league games – including one against Liverpool at Anfield – have boosted confidence somewhat and we’ll go into tomorrow in decent enough form. Like the last time we were in the Premiership, registering goals seems to be our major Achilles heal and we’ve registered just one in our last three league outings.

Memories: Like the other members of the ‘big four’, I’m sick of hearing about United. They have a proud history, they’re a great team to watch, they make lots of money, Fergie has done great things, they have a super stadium and brilliant away support… okay. I summed it up in one paragraph. Why can’t the media do something similar? Bored, bored, bored.

My match memories against United aren’t anything special. Aside from the 2-2 game completely falling out of my head, there’s nothing overly memorable in there. I’ve only been to the fixture once (the 4-3 friendly game where Peter Ndlovu scored a hat-trick for us and Mulryne scored a hat-trick for them. It was United’s first game after “Beckham lost us the World Cup” and was up there with Adolf Hitler in the popularity polls) and I’ve only seen it a couple more times on the idiot box.

Out of those, the only real one that sticks out in my mind is the night I went to a local golf club to watch the fixture on satellite TV whilst in Australia. I was the only one interested in the game although as the night went on, a few people joined me, none of whom were really interested or who knew who we were. We battled for a point and I left the club at around 12:30 AM, quite proud of the lads.

Aside from that… not a lot of my memory bank is reserved for this particular fixture. Sorry!

Team news: Expect eleven changes from the team that were mullered by Blackburn Rovers in midweek. Neil Danns might just nick himself a place on the bench although the chances of us using a creative, attacking midfielder from the middle are even more remote than usual.

The official BCFC.com match preview (with team news) can be found here.

I expect to see us line-up similarly to how we did against Bolton Wanderers almost a fortnight ago (L-R):

Jerome

—- Kapo

McSheffrey – Muamba – Nafti – Larsson

Queudrue – Ridgewell – Djourou – Kelly

Taylor

I’d say that’s about as solid as we can be although we’ll have to hold onto the ball a lot better than we did at times versus Bolton and even against Liverpool. Sometimes we make it more difficult for ourselves than it needs to be.

Oppo’s take: You can read a ‘Match Pack’ via the official United site here. More team news thanks to the official Reds site here.

As the article says, someone is going to get a tonking when United have Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez and Saha all fit and in the groove. It’s probably a good thing that we’re getting this game out of the way whilst we’re feeling reasonably confident. A battering when confidence is already low can do a lot of damage.

If we play as well as we possibly can, you never know…

What’s going to happen? We’ll come out, everything will go just as we want it to and we’ll nick a 0-0 draw. We’ll set a new record for the lowest amount of % possession a team in the Premiership has ever had against another Premiership team but we won’t care because two points from United and Liverpool in successive weekends is nothing to be sniffed at.

Seriously, with the way things have been going in front of goal lately, I can’t see us scoring. Especially with United’s backline. We’ll have to be typically Blues about it and snap into tackles, close them down quickly and try and force them into long range efforts. Kelly will have to choose carefully when to use his special ‘match saving tackle’ superpower and the rest of the side will have to be on it from the start… BUT with the right attitude and a good backing, I can see us pulling off a credible draw here.

Blues 0-0 Manchester United – Att: 27,974.

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This section of the site covers the blog portion of J&S from 26th April 2006 - when the site returned after a catastrophic hosting failure causing the loss of over 500 articles - to 28th April 2008 - when I decided to have a prolonged rest from the site.

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