A new era begun at Villa Park on Sunday, Harry Redknapp was appointed Birmingham City manager last nearly a week ago, after the resignation of Gianfranco Zola after Blues’ 0-2 home defeat to the hands of Burton Albion. It was the second city Derby, a stunning time for Redknapp to take his bow as the new Blues boss. He opted for a basic 4-2-3-1 formation after much research on performances under Zola’s management. Paul Robinson, Jaques Maghoma, Jonothan Grounds and Mikeal Kieftenbeld all included as changes. Villa, today’s opponents and Blues’ bitter rivals haven’t had a fantastic season, a mid-table outfit so far.
A solid start to the match from Blues, under the influence of the new boss, it looked as if Harry had instilled some confidence into the players. Villa couldn’t come close, the defence was strong and back to as it was when ex-manager Gary Rowett was in charge who now, of course, is the manager of Derby County. Long balls must have been the tactic to link with striker Lukas Jutkiewitz, it worked sometimes but at other times it helped the home team as they went on the counter but as said above, our defence was strong and stung out the Villa threat.
Che Adams had a big opportunity near the end of the first half to put the boys in royal blue in front and what that would have done for our survival hopes… That though wasn’t to be and it remained 0-0 at half time.
59 minutes in and homegrown talent of the home side, Jack Grealish was replaced by another homegrown player, Gabriel Agbhonglahor; to the boos of the away following!
Villa did grow into the game a lot more than they were in the first half but still no real threat to the defence of ours. It was as if Blues were fighting for a respectable mid-table league position, not battling to stay up!
The deadlock was eventually broken and the back 4 of Blues was detached from a corner kick which was slammed home by Agbonlahor, something Blues fans didn’t like… 1-0. From then on in Blues tried hard and there was positive play still, but that one chance Villa had, they took and that was the goal which defeated Birmingham City. Still many positives for Harry Redknapp to take into next weekend’s game against Huddersfield Town. Which is a colossal fixture!
Two points separate us and Blackburn Rovers from 21st and 22nd. It looks as if Rotherham United and Wigan Athletic are down, but with two tough fixtures ahead for both Blues & Blackburn, the fight to stave the drop to league 1 continues. Please get down to St. Andrews on Saturday 29th April, a huge game in store against the league’s place 5th place play-off hopefuls. After that to end the season, a trip to Bristol to face none other than Bristol City on Sunday 7th May.
For Blackburn, a home game vs Aston Villa, then a trip to West London to face up vs a strong Championship outfit in Brentford. Hopefully, our rivals can do us a favour at Ewood Park next weekend but we’ll give our all vs Huddersfield town. The message is strength in numbers, hopefully, the positives which Redknapp takes from yesterday’s Derby loss, can bolster the squad to try and get the 3 points on Saturday!
RB: Hutton , CB: Baker , CB: Chester , LB: Taylor
RCM: Lansbury , CM: Jedinak , LCM: Bacuna
RW: Adomah , ST: Hogan , LW: Grealish
RB: Nsue , CB: Shotton , CB: Robinson , LB: Grounds
RCDM: Kieftenbeld , LCDM: Gardner
RM: Adams , CAM: Davis , LM: Maghoma