Bielsa’s Boys Bested


“I’d recommend getting to the ground as early as possible to avoid the queues of tractors up Cattell Road. They can be a b*tch to park too so keep a wide berth!”

Quick question: would it be immature to point out that I was right about the Leeds game right at the top of the article? I mean, I don’t WANT to say I told you so and it would certainly be childish to to bang on about it but…

Boom! Told ya so! I rule! Go me! #TeamWatson! That win is all down to me and my powers of prediction! I am king of the bloggers, hear me roar!!!

Too much? Well, I mean I WAS right…

Was it our best performance of the season? No, not really. Sure we were defensively sound for the most part and Che’s early brace thrust the ball into Leeds’ court early on; even forcing a premature substitution, but we have played batter.

I’m not pointing that out in the search for a negative though, quite the opposite in fact. We put the league leaders to the sword and we didn’t even hit top speed. The lads attacked as a unit and defended as a collective. The Blues came charging out of the blocks from the off and steam rolled Bielsa’s boys before they even realised we’d kicked off.

Monk’s tactics were effectively the same ones that Bruce used against us at Witton Park a couple of seasons ago: frustrate the opposition to the brink of despair. This frustration breeds carelessness.

It’s fair to say that Leeds fans weren’t too happy about our gamesmanship. In fact, “weren’t too happy” is the biggest understatement since “Grealish isn’t worth £40m”. It’s been almost a week and a sizeable contingent of their fans are still complaining online.

Dubbed in the modern game as ‘sh*thousery’, Blues took their time with set pieces, hit the deck when the opportunity arose and in Gary Gardner’s case walked to the touchline via Blackpool when going off injured.

If I’m totally honest though; as funny as the northern meltdown has been, I don’t like this style of play. I can’t argue against it’s ability to annoy and slow down opponents whilst eating away at the clock, but it’s not the football I grew up with and it’s certainly not your Daddy’s football. To quote Tom Ross, “the game’s gone”. But then, the game went a long time ago.

We were desperate for a win. Not because we were struggling as such, but because it was something that we deserved and morale was in danger of slipping. Frustration tactics worked for us in the same way that they work for countless teams up and down the country week in, week out and when the final league table is written into history, I seriously doubt there’ll be an asterisk next to our points total saying ‘yeah… remember that game at Elland road though..?’. So all will be forgotten about and our efforts were rewarded with 8 minutes of injury time anyway, so Leeds may have lost their momentum, but at least they got their time back.

That’s more of a personal gripe that I have with modern prima-donna football anyway and for the most part Birmingham City are above these sorts of tactics. I completely understand their usage though and trust me when I say that no one’s as happy about the three points as I am. I guess if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Oh, did I mention I was right about the result by the way? I was.

You could say I was wrong about one thing though (although I have a different spin it *wink*). I took Che Adams to task in my last piece and stated “There’s a long held theory that Che Adams has ample talent and ability but just fails to perform on the day. As time goes on, I wonder if that ‘hot prospect’ myth is deemed to go down in history as just that, a myth”.

Well, he made me look a bit of a spanner didn’t he?! And by God am I glad he did. I’ll happily take dog’s abuse all season long if he manages to replicate his performance last weekend in at least half of our remaining games. You can call me whatever you like (I’ve probably called myself worse) as long as this is the start of a run of good form from the striker.

I stand by my comments last week though unfortunately and, if anything, Che’s two goal man of the match display last Saturday proves my point. He DOES have the ability and he IS capable of conjuring up some magic – he just doesn’t. Pressure’s on the kid to really kick on from here and prove all of his fans right and in turn prove me to be completely wrong.

As for this weekend’s fixture, it’s time to welcome the farmers back to Small Heath. I’d recommend getting to the ground as early as possible to avoid the queues of tractors up Cattell Road. They can be a bitch to park too so keep a wide berth!

Last time Ipswich visited they had Mick McCarthy with them and the mood around their camp was pretty dire. Now they bring Paul Hurst and a string of average results with them. Ipswich currently sit second from bottom but much like us, their position doesn’t fully reflect their potential. Ipswich have yet to win a game but have 5 draws under their belt including deadlocks with a couple of the big boys. Sound familiar?

Ipswich Town boss Paul Hurst 

The tractor boys employ a pretty defensive structure but will be keen to get their first win of the campaign. The way we’re playing, there’s a very slim chance that win will come against us though. Then again, that’s what Leeds thought last week…

Monk and his men need to be prepared for a hungry Ipswich side who will be feeling just as hard done by as we are. On paper this should be an easy game but in reality it could be a lot closer than many fans think.

In Monk we trust though! Last week was the start of something special and the Championship world is our oyster. If Blues keep the pedal to the metal and employ the same ferocity and tenacity that we’ve been spoilt with since August then I have no doubt that our second victory of the season will come this weekend and I’ll be back to gloat again next week!

By Mark Watson


  1. Away teams have played like this for years .. In the past Blues have been too easily brushed aside …Credit to Monk for making us hard to beat if other teams don’t like it tough titties.. Quite ironic that the ones shouting loudest are Leeds.. You couldn’t make it up could you!yep dirty dirty Leeds ( how did ailing stay on? No mention of that dirty cack panted thug) until things change Monk has to do what he has to do to get points we are still playing better than we have for a long while. KRO

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