The Second Streak

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“Our 11 game unbeaten run was neither an accident nor force of luck. It was created through sheer determination, tactical nous and a strong sense of team spirit. We’ve set ourselves a standard and proven to the world that the Blues can be a true threat to this league”

Cadbury snowflakes. Breaking Bad. Westlife’s run of 7 consecutive number one singles. My diet. All great things must come to an end eventually and Blues fans bared witness to this fact at Pride Park last week.

After storming to an early lead with yet another Lukey Jukey goal, the boys in Blue looked set to continue their almost unprecedented run of good form and remain unbeaten for yet another week. Going into the break at 1-0 up, it seemed as though Frank Lampard’s Derby were there for the taking.

However, the Frank Lampard’s Derby that we played in the first half were not the same Frank Lampard’s Derby that emerged for the second stanza. Frank Lampard had obviously given Frank Lampard’s Derby a Monk-esq inspirational team talk as they steamed out of the dressing room ready for the second half and proceeded to notch up a 2-1 lead in just 10 minutes.

Blues have fallen to the fast break a fair few times over the past couple of seasons and although Garry & co have greatly improved our defence during their time at the club, we’re still susceptible to a high-pace, high-pressure, attacking style of football. It’s not so much that the guys ‘fall apart’ at the back, rather more the case that we don’t recognise the change in tempo early enough and are a little too slow to adapt.

Frank Lampard’s Derby exploited that weakness perfectly and the boys were caught a little off guard. This dent in our confidence, mixed in with a couple of blunders, proved too hard to come back from and Frank Lampard’s Derby were largely unplayable from here on out.

So here ends our unbeaten streak…

Now it’s time to start a new one!

Did the writers of Breaking Bad call it a day after Walter hit the grave? Hell no! They started making Better Call Saul instead! Did Westlife give up when ‘What Makes A Man’ only peaked at number 2? Hell no! They resurrected ‘Uptown Girl’ and began a new streak! Did Cadbury simply discontinue the Snowflake, leaving a huge hole in my heart?! Well, yeah they did and then they sold their souls to the Germans, but you get what I’m trying to say. Even the Spice Girls are about to embark on their 3rd or 4th comeback!

Anyway, our current streak may have come to an end but the mark of a great team is how they pick themselves up from such a defeat. Tomorrow Blues find themselves in the favourable position of taking on a very poor Hull City inside a packed out St Andrews. What better way to start a new run of form? A run that could even go on to eclipse our previous streak – all whilst taking Witton down in the process.

The boys will feel like they have a point to prove at 3pm tomorrow and although as fans we couldn’t have asked for anything more from them over the past 11 games, I hope that they’re kicking themselves after that 3-1 defeat. They don’t DESERVE to beat themselves up over it, but I sincerely hope it’s eating them up inside because that’s what separates the good from the great.

Blues were doing exceptionally well whilst flying under the radar, but now they have a fire burning beneath their feet.

Lukas Jutkiewicz collected his Player of the Month award earlier today and it was thoroughly deserved, well done to him. Now go win another one Lukas!

Everyone in a blue shirt is earning their spot and proving that last season was more a case of mismanagement than lack of quality, they should be commended for this. Now get back to proving that lads!

Our 11 game unbeaten run was neither an accident nor force of luck. It was created through sheer determination, tactical nous and a strong sense of team spirit. We’ve set ourselves a standard and proven to the world that the Blues can be a true threat to this league. Fans are starting to believe and rival fans are starting to worry. We’ve been underestimated since day one but that level of carelessness from the opposition is over.

Frank Lampard’s Derby didn’t take us seriously enough in the first half and were forced to put in the performance of a lifetime after the break. We should expect teams to come charging out of the gates early on from now on in an attempt to destabilise us. Conversely, we should expect the lower placed teams like Preston, Wigan and Villa to defend steadfastly in the hope of a fast breaking counter attack. (Tongue firmly in cheek)

We have some very winnable matches on the horizon and lots of very non-losable ones. Hull, Milwall and Preston should be 9 points in the bag and Witton, Bristol and Blackburn are all one-point possibilities. Obviously I’ve completely jinxed us by writing that though so please DM your hate mail to me on Twitter.

Honestly though, looking through our upcoming fixtures, I don’t see TOO much to worry about. We’re nearly half way through the season and we haven’t really been troubled by many of the so-called ‘big teams’ so what reason do we have to fear anyone else? We’re perpetual underdogs anyway so although we are currently forcing other teams to respect and take notice of us there’s no REAL pressure on the boys – although as I said earlier, I hope they’re putting some form of motivational pressure on themselves and challenging their own ability.

Our first unbeaten streak of the season was only a taster of what could be. If Blues truly are destined to stake a claim on a playoff spot this year then it’ll be our SECOND streak that cements our position. The lads have laid the groundwork for a successful season and pretty much guaranteed our Championship status as a minimum next year. That run is dead and buried though, it’s time to leave it in the shadows of our next unbeaten streak.

And game one starts today…

By Mark Watson

@MarkWatson1875

 

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