It’s Birmingham at WHL on Sunday in a 4pm kick-off. Thirty seven games of blood, sweat and cheers has lad us to this, a win in our last home league game of the season and we qualify for Europe, albeit the much abused Europa League. A loss or a draw and we may still need our passports, depending on what happens to the scousers at Villa Park.
There’s also the Fair Play League. Even if Liverpool succeed and we don’t, our good behaviour during the season may see us back in competition in just a few weeks time. So a contrived exit from the possibility of getting anywhere the ‘distraction’ of Thursday night and Channel 5 will now have to involve a loss to relegation haunted Blues together with a red card or three. Should be easy to spot.
We will of course go for the win. The players & manager will want to finish as high as they can and that’s quite right. The home record has been good with that weird afternoon against Wigan being the only loss. There have been way too many draws, and they’re the main reason why we’re not keeping an eye out for fourth (or third?) place instead of fifth.
Last week’s win at Anfield was as accomplished as it was surprising. Just as we had at Eastlands we took the game to the home team from the off but this time were doubly bolstered by an early goal and a present from the that most unlikely of benefactors, Mr Howard Webb. Quite why Ferguson and others keep banging on about him as being the best I really don’t know. Last Sunday’s myopia for the penalty and leniency on Suarez were just the latest in a very long series of public errors. Still, things could be worse, there’s always Clattenburg. Oh no, guess who’s ref on Sunday?
Neither Van der Vaart nor Danny Rose were able to finish the game last week and apparently VdV is struggling to make it this weekend. This should give an opportunity to Defoe to walk the walk and show us what we’ve been missing. You don’t want to slag a man who says the things he does about the club but it’s not as if he hasn’t had the chances (in more ways that one) to prove that he should be in the team more often. Ten games ago was when we needed him to lead from the front and get the goals to keep our top four push going, but phut! Nothing.
Birmingham are in deep poo at the bottom. It’s complicated but basically they need to match or better Wigan and Blackpool below them and/or hope that they can sneak above Blackburn or Wolves too. The updates on the Jumbotron always seem slow as that text snails across the screen, to Blues fans they’re going to seem like torture on Sunday. It’ll be a tense game but hopefully an entertaining one too. COYS.
A big thanks to MF for his superb match reports throughout the course of the season
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