Birmingham City 0-1 Manchester United – Report By Jake
Posted on September 30, 2007
Filed Under Reports By Jake
So near and yet so far. The result may show a single goal defeat against the reigning Premiership Champions, all the Blues fans at St. Andrews this evening and watching worldwide know how close they came to witnessing their team come to achieving what would have been arguably their finest Premiership scalp.
For the second week in a row Blues matched one of the “big four” clubs in a heartening display. What caught the eye even more than the heroic defensive display at Liverpool was the style of play and willingness to take the game to one of the best attacking teams in Europe.
Don’t get me wrong, this was a defeat and the lack of goals may become an issue eventually yet when was the last time you saw a Blues team so confidently take on the bigger teams in the Premiership? Form will fluctuate and there will undoubtedly be twists and turns a plenty. I sense now, for the first time in maybe three seasons, the majority of fans believe this team can grow and show enough consistency to survive this season and progress.
Once again there were many excellent displays within a team performance. The spine of the team is starting to have a settled look and who have said this would involve Djourou, Nafti and Jerome? The on-loan Arsenal centre half is the vital link in my opinion in the back four. Liam Ridgewell has proved to be an excellent signing, it is Dojrou with his pace and power that has made the extra difference recently. The only down side is the shoulder injury he picked up in the second half. Blues cannot afford to have their key players missing for too long. Mehdi Nafti has probably played his best three games for the club in recent weeks. He has deserved to keep his place and is now showing the consistency and unrelenting, unselfish work ethic that has become the trademark of a Steve Bruce side. Cameron Jerome gave the Manchester United defence as hard a time as any striker this season. It is easy to forgot at times how young he still is and consistency in front of goal will only come with experience. Playing as a lone striker has helped Jerome with his all round game and Blues should endeavour to give him as much of the ball when he is facing the goal rather than with his back to it.
The biggest encouraging individual display though surely belonged to Gary McSheffrey. I like McSheffrey’s attitude. Throughout his loss of form he has never hid and just the extra confidence a goal can bring was all that was missing.
We can talk about all if the “What If’s ..” and most will be directed at Franck Queudrue for his dithering that led to Ronaldo scoring the only goal. Blues harassed United’s back four into more errors in the first half. United took their one chance and that is the defining difference between both teams.
The team’s reaction to Ronaldo’s goal impressed again today. Unlike at certain times last season Blues didn’t let the goal affect them and this resilience will be required in coming months.
Liverpool and Manchester United were always going to looked as “bonus” games for Blues in terms of points. After the performances expectations have risen for the forthcoming games at Blackburn and the home clash with Wigan. Can the team maintain the level of recent performance? In what is arguably the toughest of Premier Leagues we are about to find out.