Date: 20th March 2017 at 10:35am
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Getting back to basics was imperative at this stage of the season. While Blues aren`t setting the world alight, the two hard fought draws – away at Cardiff and home to Newcastle – have created a little platform in which to build upon.

During the last 180 minutes of football, Blues have been defensively resolute. The penalty conceded at Cardiff was dubious and keeping a clean sheet against Newcastle was admirable. The basics that were going very wrong in previous games seemed to have been ironed out.

It goes without saying that the players are playing for Gianfranco Zola. Blues fought for a vital win at Wolves, came from behind at Cardiff and battled to a point against Newcastle – evidence that the life support machine hasn`t yet been switched off.

The pessimists will speak of ‘four games without a win`, the optimists will point to being ‘unbeaten in two`. Whichever way you look at it, you cannot deny that every point is valuable at this stage.

The two solid defensive performances have coincided with Krystian Bielik`s inclusion in the first team. The young Arsenal loanee was recognised in today`s The Times for a display that demonstrated his maturity as a player. ‘”At least one Arsenal player had a good weekend”, the newspaper wrote. And that is a perfect summary. Showing his undoubted ability, Bielik will be learning from experience in the Championship and appears to be a fantastic addition.

Ryan Shotton was back to his old-self with a handful of crucial interceptions – he stood strong during the second half onslaught. And Paul Robinson rolled back the years and put a performance in that defies his age, and his legs.

You could clutch at straws and say it could have been a different outcome had Dwight Gayle and Jonjo Shelvey started the game. But their threat was nullified when they were introduced from the bench by a battling Blues side.

On to the next one.

 
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2 Replies to “Birmingham City go back to basics”

  • Most of us were calling for the inclusion of Bielik long before the Wolves game. Finally it seems the penny has dropped in Zolas head. Shockingly he dropped him after his fantastic display versus Wolves. Playing expansive football is all very well but you need to be defensively sound first. I hope Zola keeps Bielik in the side from now on.

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