Fan Report: Birmingham City 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur

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For the second successive Saturday Spurs were denied by an injury time equaliser. After a brief rally following Jermain Defoe’s opener after 69 minutes Birmingham had posed no threat whatsoever but then just as the fourth official was packing away his hi-tech numbers board (which must have still been stuck on ‘5’ after David Bentley was replaced; surely no injuries and four subs doesn’t mean five minutes of injury time does it?) Cameron Jerome climbed above Ledley King to knock back a hopeful McFadden punt into the box and whilst Corluka dawdled and Gomes & Dawson scrambled, Liam Ridgewell nipped in to smack home gleefully from a couple of yards.

Both teams were unchanged from midweek which meant a surprise start for Ledley King. Two games in 5 days? What the? The explanation appears to be that Bassong is carrying a knee injury and such is the lack of cover the King was considered the better option. The game started scrappily, we spent a lot of the first half giving a good impression of being on the verge of taking complete control but we never quite did. A few shots from range tested Joe Hart but nothing to worry him overmuch. The same was true at the other end.

In the second half we were dominant and after Crouch, Bentley and others had either squandered openings or seen them blocked we took the lead when Bale, ball at his feet, sprinted to the bye-line and sent in a low cross. Crouch stooped and flicked on to Defoe who showed superbly quick feet and fired a first time volley past Hart. The home team looked a different side as they came at us looking for a leveller. We were rattled for a short while but before long were on top again and looking to extend our lead. We didn’t and in the end got punished for it.

To me the result against Liverpool was the one that’s hard to get away from as an indicator of how the rest of the league season will pan out. To lose so impotently to the team whose position we were hoping to usurp was a real kick in the nuts as well as spelling out in large letters ‘You’re Not Good Enough!’.  Notwithstanding the first-class performances from Palacios, Bale and Modric (and the fact that we deserved to win), this same lack of top level quality was on display at St Andrew’s – in the casual view of possession shown by Huddlestone and Bentley in particular, the lack of speed in most areas of the pitch, the absence of a reliable and consistent goalscorer away from Defoe and ultimately the lapse in concentration at the back that led to the equaliser. In my match reports and previews I’ve tried to be careful in not talking too often about challenging for a top four place as opposed to a top six one as I believe it’s important to remember where we were a year ago and to keep some perspective. I think the season should not be viewed as a disappointment if we fail to make it to the Moneybags League. That though doesn’t make it hurt any less when we chuck away an opportunity like we did in this game. Very frustrating.

By MF

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1 COMMENT

  1. We have to face the fact that we have only one world class player (Lennon) and only 3-4 players of internationally accepted level in our team. Too few to become a real top team.

  2. loanX

    You seriously telling me that Modric aint world class?
    Surely you dont think Liverpool or Villa are packed with world class players as well are you?

    I was there on Saturday and Harry messed up cos took Defoe and Bentley off. Apart from Bale, Defoe was the only player on Sat with any pace and Bentley was doing well. As soon as Harry took them off we lost our width on the right and pace up front to keep Birmingham at bay. They were poor decisions by Harry cos he should have taken Crouch off instead of Defoe and kept Bentley on or replace him with Kranjcar on the right as oppossed to Jenas.

    Silly mistakes like this will now cost us dearly cos i think Man City are in the driving seat for this 4th spot. Only 1 point behind but 2 games in hand amkes them in my eyes as favourites.

  3. The run in is far from over, Man C have to play Liverpool, Chelsea, spurs, Man u,arsenal and A villa. We just arnt fluant enough and strong enough in midfield to dictate a match.
    we should try and play like Man u did today with 5 in midfield and one up front being supported by wide runners, say bentley and Lennon[when fit. Say lennon, modric, palicidos,huddlestone, bentley. Its always in midfield that the games against better teams are won. The problem is we always lose or draw them with our weakness in that area. The draw against Birmingham was shocking because at the moment putting away chances is so difficult!!So Harry be brave ,change our line up and win midfield, dictate and the goals will come.

  4. I, indeed, share the view that Harry made a terrible mistake in substituting Defoe and Bentley. There was no need for that. In so doing, he somewhat upset the rhythm of the team even disorganising it somehow. With Bentley replaced by the less able Jenas, our midfield crumbled and we found ourselves defending deeper and deeper which invited Birmingham to press on with the attack resulting in this most unfortunate late equaliser.

  5. i’ve been of the five midfield opinion for awhile. the predicament i see is the 1 striker selection. the player i see most suited is pav… but obviously that just not gonna happen

  6. big stu

    Trouble is mate weve still got to go to Man Utd, Man City and play Chelsea and Arsenal at home. We’ll get thumped at Old Trafford like we usually do and Man City will beat us cos we are still awful whenever we travel to the North West.
    We never beat the Gooners home or away and Chelsea in my view are the strongest team in the PL. Villa next week is a must win cos let’s face it , weve been poor in January. I still believe the Hull City result is the one which turned our season round for the worse unfortunately.

  7. Getting pretty sick of Crouch. The way a simple lay-off becomes a wayward pass. The run of the mill header that becomes anyone’s guess as to where it’s going to go. The way his legs appear to be remotely controlled by two different people. Drop him Harry, for the love of god.

  8. I think 4th is a step too far – we have chucked away so many points this season too easily. We should have won but for a piece of woeful defending – 2 points lost, Everton away another 2 points dropped, Hull at home – 2 points dropped, Stoke and Wolves at home – a point each missed out on, a draw would have been fine for those ganmes so 8 points gone begging and we could have been on the shirt tales of the league leaders! We have some big games to come, and April seems like the month of death – Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal in consecutive weeks.

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