A battered and bruised Birmingham City side and an inconsistent Villa team go into the second city derby on Sunday. And after a 2-0 defeat away in south Bermondsey, London against Millwall, Blues will be looking for a response after a performance that was not respectable at all and a result that none of us wanted after a win vs top of the league Cardiff in Steve Cotterill’s first game the week before.
The sky sports cameras will be at St. Andrews for the second time this month ahead of probably one of the most eagerly anticipated derbies in the entire championship and possibly in the whole of England. The last time Villa were here, it was to be in one of Gary Rowett’s final games as Blues manager in a 1-1 draw, but before that, back at St. Andrews, it was a 2-1 win for Blues on the road to winning the league cup that year against Arsenal at Wembley.
It will certainly be a galvanised Birmingham team to the one which fell to Millwall last Saturday; if anything, that loss will surely have galvanised the side enough to want to win this game as much as usual.
Obviously these are the football matches every player wants to be involved in, a fiesty, brutal, tense and passionate city derby where it could be the difference between promotion or relegation in some cases but this Sunday will be a little bit different. For Birmingham a win would take them onto 14 points and a step away from the drop zone in a bid to start climbing up the table, but a win for Steve Bruce’s side would keep them in the play off section and that is another reason why blues will want to win to knock the momentum out of them.
As a neutral, this game is one of the best to watch, but as a fan of one of the two clubs I can imagine it’s not one of the best matches they will ever see. A packed out St. Andrews and an as loud as ever Tilton.
So as we look ahead to the clash between these two bitter rivals, there’s two players for me that stand out, John Terry for the visitors and Isaac Vassell for the home team. Terry because Bruce captured him from title winning Chelsea after a sterling career there, he’ll. be playing his first West Midlands derby and Isaac Vassell, playing his fourth game in a row as a lone striker.
Terry will more than likely be marking Vassell if he gets the nod again off Cotterill and this will be one of the many key battles within the match and could be the difference in who takes the three points; it’ll take a lot for John Terry to keep Isaac Vassell out but if he does it’ll be curtains for the Blue boys in my opinion. Another key battle will definitely be in the middle, with Cheick N’doye, because for Birmingham if that man plays he’ll be key in winning duels in the air. Key players for Aston Villa, if he plays, Jonathon Kodjja who has to be one for his killer instinct in front of goal and his goal scoring clinical knowhow. Another Villa player who could be dangerous is West Ham loanee Robert Snodgrass out on the wing, his crosses are lethal and can cause defenders lots of trouble.
Since the arrival of Steve Cotterill, Blues have been much more of a better side to watch and have added 2 goals at home, one vs Sheffield Wednesday and another against Cardiff City. Let’s hope the players who scored in those two games, probably Cotterill’s two most dangerous men, Isaac Vassell and Che Adams can still be ready and raring to go for Sunday lunchtime. League form goes way out the window in these sorts of games and it’ll be no different Sunday, Aston Villa before their loss to Wolves had won 4 in a row and Blues, well before their loss to Millwall they beat top of the league at the time, so to say the least anything could happen, but it’s up to you to be there whether it’s at St. Andrews or with the commentary team on Sky Sports on Sunday 29th October at 12.00pm.
Look out for our bumper Match Preview later on tonight!