Written by kirsikka
—- Conclusions —-
– Great to see some creative attacking play. All four of the main men up there contributed something and on another day we could easily have ended up with a bigger goal haul.
– If we ever do build a new stadium, can we make it an exact replica of St Andrews to try and fool the players into thinking they’re playing there every week? We have an extraordinary scoring record there in recent years.
– The back four didn’t look too threatened from open play. Birmingham have been flirting with relegation for a number of seasons but even so, I suspect we might see this formation more after this display.
– Equally, the defence looked ripe for slicing open from set pieces. Whether it’s because S Cook is the organiser or something else but it wasn’t good enough. We looked a mess. Someone should have put on their big boy pants to take charge of the situation. Mild criticism for Begovic here perhaps? As the experienced pro and captain for the day he could have tried to resolve it.
– Direct free kicks. Three good chances today. Three different takers all with quality in their boots. Three that hit the wall. After previously criticising our diabolical corners they were much improved but we really should have forced the keeper into a save from at least one of these.
Man of the match against Birmingham?
—- Player Ratings —-
Begovic – 6
One good save from Rico in the first half, couldn’t do anything about the goal but I feel he should have taken on more responsibility in getting the set piece organisation together.
Stacey – 7
Energetic performance up and down the pitch.
Mepham – 7
Some very good clearances. Stepped up to the extra responsibility from open play and also helped create the third.
Kelly – 6
Looked safe bar one thrashed and skewed panicked clearance
Rico – 7
As with Stacey. A lot went through him today and he looked good.
Brooks – 8 and Man of the Match
Two goals but almost as important some really deft touches which may have escaped notice that helped open up space for others to then create chances.
Lerma – 8
All over the pitch. Head and shoulders above every other central midfielder on the pitch and, even though in a central two, still showed good attacking chops with dribbles and shots.
L Cook – 6
Helped us get a foothold in the game before injury struck. Hopefully nothing too serious.
Stanislas – 7
Good attacking play. Great interchanging with the others up there and constantly looked a threat.
Solanke – 7
Another good striker performance. Should have scored in the first half but gets the assist for the Brooks second and should have got another for Gosling. If he could add consistent goals to his game…
Danjuma – 8
Today he was Arn-on instead of Arn-off. A pleasure to watch when he’s like this and does seem to do much better when he has more attacking players around him.
Gosling (from 38 minutes) – 6
Huffed and puffed around the pitch. Poor control at times but did his job. Not one of his best days but didn’t really do anything too bad.
Overall grade: A-
JT had Karanka on toast and covered with melted cheese. Normally his teams look so solid you have to tip toe your way through a labyrinth to create a chance. Today we had them falling out of the sky and that was partly due to how we set up and partly due to how those on the pitch performed.
Normally as an AFCB fan I’m waiting for us to concede. I never really had that feeling today despite them having lots of attacks. Whether that’s due to them being toothless or good defensive play I’m not sure but it seemed an assured display at the back.
Up top we looked consistently threatening throughout and probably should have scored more. Whilst it’s true Birmingham aren’t the strongest team in the league we still need to beat whoever is in front of us, not a given as recent matches have shown.
Into the international break and still in the hunt near the top of a congested league where nobody has made a break yet. More performances like this and other teams will start to get worried. I think that’s the best we’ve seen from a JT team, I merely hope it wasn’t a flat track bully one.
Back to what the fans love, outscoring the opponents even at the expense of weakness at the back. – Join the conversation, click here.