Last season, Blues accumulated seven of our forty-six points from draws, including notable results against Derby and Sheffield United. Ten games into the new season, we have equalled the tally of seven draws, winning one and losing the other two. If you asked any Blues fan, they would tell you that we don’t deserve to be where we are, and I totally agree. After five home games in front of the St. Andrews faithful, we deserved more than the one point in four of them, excluding our dreary result against QPR.
After throwing away the lead to Norwich twice on the opening game of the season, and a two-goal lead to Nottingham Forest away, it’s blatantly obvious that we should be much higher up the table than we currently are. Where does the problem lie? Defence? Attack? Or are we just incredibly unlucky? According to www.sportsmole.co.uk, we continue to possess the fourth best defence in the Championship, conceding ten goals in ten games, yet currently lie 16th in the table. When changing to our attacking-stats, we currently sit 19th in the table for goals scored, scoring nine in ten.
In our last two games, we have scored four of those nine, so is change on the horizon? Has our failure to score goals finally grinded to a halt? A Che Adams brace against Leeds, followed by a Lucas Jutkiewicz brace against Ipswich, it shows that our created-chances are finally providing a delivery. Against Leeds, Blues grinded a fantastic win, showing brilliant defending, as well as quality going forward. Against Ipswich, just like QPR, we appeared to take the fact that Ipswich are below us in the table, for granted. The result against Leeds, and our brilliant comeback in the second half against Ipswich displays the facts that change is occurring, similarly to our previous misfortunes.
Looking ahead to our next three games, they are three games in which we can arguably win all of them – but knowing blues, that’s a strong doubt. Brentford on Tuesday will be the toughest of the three, considering we lost 5-0 there last year. Griffin Park is always a tough visit in the Championship, yet considering they only just snatched a point against Reading today in the last minute to make it 2-2, anything is a possibility! On paper, Rotherham are one of the worst teams in the league, but Paul Joyce’s wonders continue to work as they currently sit four points above the relegation zone. In our last home game against Rotherham, we grinded out as 4-2 winners under Rowett, two seasons ago. Realistically, we should have a strong chance of succeeding against the Millers, as long as our goal scoring continues – but we cannot take it for granted. Rotherham have lost every away game in the league so far, including a 5-1 drubbing at the helm of Brentford. In our match against QPR, we expected to comfortably snatch our first win of the season and due to that self-belief, the players were evidently not up for it, just managing a dreary 0-0 draw. If we treat Rotherham with respect, just like we have done against the better performing teams where we have collected the majority of our points, we should comfortably manage a win.
The third and final match preview I will be discussing is Stoke away, which would be a very tough result to call. Picking up just seven points at home, teams like Blackburn and Wigan have been at the helm of taking three points from the Potters. After a rallying comeback from a two-goal deficit at Rotherham, Stoke managed to take a point, after yet again being behind in a match. Opposite to Rotherham, Stoke on paper have one of the strongest teams in the league, and to be 17th after ten games simply shows how unpredictable the Championship can be, with many Stoke fans calling for Rowett’s head, what a shame. It’s a doubt that the ex-Blues manager will be in charge of the Potters next Saturday, with the rumours of him getting the sack. Just like Blues, Stoke sit on 10 points from 10 games, as well as Rotherham and QPR, with Blues having the best goal difference of -1.
What the outcome is at the end of these two weeks would be ridiculous to predict, as we’ll always find a way to surprise everyone, just like we did against Leeds. We all hope that the revival continues, as does our goal scoring form, which is brilliant compared to the start of the season.
Keep Right On.
By Jack Blenkiron