Derby day. Birmingham City v Aston Villa, a game everybody wanted to be involved in. Blues came into the game knowing a win would not only give them bragging rights but lift them up a couple of places in the table, and for Bruce’s Villa, a win would give them the bragging rights and it would keep them in the top 6.
Blues started the game much brighter, it was constant Blues pressure in the opening 20 minutes with Cheick N’doye and Jota shining lights. Villa were playing the long ball game up towards Jonathon Kodjia but Blues decided against that and used the more logical play of ball to feet which is why Jota was performing so well. Marc Roberts was as strong as ever at the back and Blues really could have killed the game off early on but James Chester and John Terry were solid at the back for the villains.
It was constant by Blues, Villa couldn’t handle the pace of the Birmingham attack. A couple of crosses went astray for blues and every time the visitors from down the road came on the attack it accounted to nothing. As there was always going to be there was a bit of argy bargy between players; Ahmed Elmohady and Che Adams were the culprits. The home team continued to live up to the expectation and atmosphere as they continued pressing villa but still couldn’t find a breakthrough.
Just before late in the first half Isaac Vassell blocked an attempted goal kick from Sam Johnstone and his header just sliced wide of the Villa goal, that was one of the many opportunities Cotterill’s side had to take the lead, but the man who was a clear threat to Villa fell with an injury and he was replaced by Sam Gallagher who actually surprised people how much of an impact he made.
Half time, Villa were not in the game but goalless.
No changes going into the second half, Blues were still in control of the game and you got the sense that one chance would change and turn the game on it’s head. Villa were always going to have a spell in the game where they played their football and that came later on, at the start of the second half it continued as Blues left it with them being the better side, but the boys in royal blue just couldn’t crucify Aston Villa which always, in my opinion, left a bit of nervousness in the mouths of the home fans because a team like Villa are always going to create chances.
Deep into the half Jota was clean through but put the ball over and from a corner, Roberts pumped the ball back in and N’doye missed a good chance from a few yards away. As villa grew into the game Kodjja became more prominent and had a chance from a corner which struck the bar. Blues were holding firm, but so were Villa so it was a stalemate really.
The stats became more even when villa had a few chances, but just as said previously about Birmingham not being able to break Villa down, the same was the case for Steve Bruce’s men. Having Jota in the side rather than Maghoma helped the home side as Jota was just electric and he’s been the missing link in the blues side for so long.
Still in the later stages, neither side could find a breakthrough and it ended 0-0 with both sets of fans content with the point. From a Villa perpspective they should be overall pleased with the draw because it was away from home where as Blues had many periods in the game where they were in control so blues fans possibly more content than pleased, but sometimes you have to just settle for what you can get and that in the second City derby is exactly what Blues & Villa did.
RB Colin , CB Morrison , CB Roberts , LB Grounds
CM Kieftenbeld , CM N’doye , CM Davis
RW Jota , ST Vassell , LW Adams
RB Hutton , CB Terry , CB Chester , LB Elmohamady
RM Snodgrass , CM Whelan , CM Hourihane , LM Adomah
Possession – Blues; 54% , Villa; 45
Shots – Blues; 15 , Villa; 13
Shots on target – Blues; 3 , Villa; 4
Corners – Blues; 3 , Villa; 4
Fouls – Blues; 16 , Villa; 13
Yellow cards – Blues; 3 , Villa; 2