“The main aspect of Lil-Gards’ game that impresses me is his ability to slow things down and look up. It allows Kief to continue to tear around the park fulfilling his blood-lust whilst Gardner maintains composure and control in the middle”
There’s only a few more weeks of British summer left. After having one of the worst winters of my 31 year lifetime, the blazing sun and scorching temperatures have been an absolute delight. To you lot.
But when you’re an overweight carrot top, it’s a living hell. I sweat when I walk down the street on an average day but in this heat, I’ve managed to produce enough perspiration to convince my local council to lift the hosepipe ban. Add to this the fact that if I so much as look at a child’s drawing of the sun, I start to crisp up and resemble a lump of pork crackling on your mom’s Sunday roast. So, you could say that going on holiday for a week is an odd life choice, but that’s what I’ve done.
Unfortunately, this means that I’ll be missing the QPR game, although I’ll probably still see more of the pitch than the majority of away fans manage to see at Loftus Road on a weekly basis. I’ve heard of ‘restricted view’ tickets before but maybe Rangers should clarify this a little and instead state: “you will be behind a queue of people trying to enter the stadium until 3:15 and then once inside your view will be 40% pillar, 40% roof and 20% Steve McClaren’s gurning face”. Bit long to print on a ticket I guess.
After getting severely battered by the Baggies and then bullied by Bristol, QPR have turned their fortunes around and now come to the Blues after 2 wins on the bounce. Rangers join us in the lower depths of the league and have also amassed just 3 points in 5 games. Their performances, however, pale in comparison to ours and Saturday is likely to see us celebrating our first win of the season.
I’ve said that before every game, I know. This is the one though, I can feel it in my waters.
Monk is backing the boys, fans are backing (most of) the boys and, more importantly, the boys are backing each other. One quick look at social media channels shows you the bond that exists between the current squad and Garry has also alluded to the growing camaraderie in a recent interview with Tom Ross.
Lee Camp may be taking the lion share of blame for last weeks result (much like Stockdale did throughout most of last season.. ironically) but aside from that; it’s undeniable that we’re witnessing some of the best and most exciting football for quite some time. From front to back, we’re defending and attacking with great fervour and teams would be foolish to underestimate our starting 11.
The one thing I’m particularly excited about right now is kind of a dirty little secret. I’ve been whispering it quietly for a while now but I think I’m about ready to say it. I’ve done a lot of soul searching and consulted with friends and relatives and I feel that I’m finally ready to go public with my feelings. Here goes: Gary Gardner, the Villa supporting, derby goal celebrating, as-bad-as-his-big-brother-at-set-piece taking, midfield maestro; has improved us massively in the centre of the park. Some didn’t want him and some didn’t understand WHY we’d want him, but boy I am glad we have him.
We’ve been crying out for a playmaker and it looks at though we may have one. The main aspect of Lil-Gards’ game that impresses me is his ability to slow things down and look up. He reads the game well and makes the correct decision more often than not. This aspect of his game is especially vital If we’re going to persist with pairing him with Dutch Mike, as it allows Kief to continue to tear around the park fulfilling his blood-lust whilst Gardner maintains composure and control in the middle.
I personally think that we have the better of QPR across the pitch and our current league position does not even begin to do this squad justice. Our goal drought continues to be a worry though and the additional time added to Vassell’s stint on the sidelines is a real blow. But after seeing Che come alive and Juke fire home a screaming header against Forest last week, my confidence has been renewed.
Che Adams’ 25 minute run out showed us just why he has been touted as a hot prospect for so long and if he can just find some level of consistency then he could single-handedly lift a bit of pressure off of his teammates. As my regular readers will know, I have very little faith in this happening but I implore him to prove me wrong. I’d absolutely LOVE to be proven wrong on this, I really would!
One of the main problems Blues faced against Forest was that we simply ran out of puff and Karanka’s men exploited that perfectly. In fairness to Joe Lolley – who could be in a coma and he’d still pop up to score against Blues – he hit a thunderous strike to kick off his team’s comeback. After attacking for so long, Monk’s men didn’t have enough in the tank to face such an onslaught and buckled under the pressure. This marred an otherwise superb defensive display that will now get lost in the anti-Camp narrative.
Lessons are learnt each and every game and the draw with Aitor taught us firstly to watch the counter, secondly to capitalise on our chances when we get them and thirdly to kick Joe Lolley into orbit at the first opportunity when they visit us at St Andrews!
QPR will be looking to mount an attack on the league after two confidence-building wins against Wigan and Bristol Rovers and will be coming to us on a bit of a subtle high. It’s up to us to keep our heads high and focus on the performances rather than results. No team in the history of football has ever played as well as we have so far and gotten relegated. Goals WILL come and if this performance level is maintained and we pull off a convincing decimation of the visiting cockneys then we’ll have taken the first step towards our own attack on the league and our dream of having a boring, uneventful, mid-table achieving last few weeks of the season may just come true.
So enjoy the game Bluenoses! Whilst you sing your hearts out and surely carry the boys to their first of many victories this season; I’ll be sitting topless in the shade with my factor 80 sun block, trying not to melt. Sun’s out, moobs out. KRO
By Mark Watson