What a difference a week makes. Birmingham City have not only gone and beat someone, they have completely demolished them and dominated the game. We aren’t used to this, we were used to either sneaking a 1-0 win or getting beat comfortably by teams. Monk has completely changed this side around and I can’t believe it’s the same squad that Cotterill had at his disposal. Let’s get straight into that match report because I am buzzing to write it.
Saturday had bluenoses staying at home as Blues faced relegation rivals Hull City at St. Andrews. As I previously mentioned beforehand, this was one of the big four games in our season, this was a season-defining game and if we had of lost, relegation would have been the only thing on my mind. However, we didn’t and that was largely to Monk changing the two strikers up top. Jukey and Adams were preferred this time around and it worked perfectly. This was a front two that saved us last season on the final day and ever since then, bluenoses have wanted them to be the regular starting front two, that was before the signing of Gallagher and Vassell, may I add.
Thankfully, the owners had realised that the game was massive one so they cut the ticket prices down to £10 an adult and it made one hell of a difference. St Andrews was packed once again and the roars of Keep Right On were breathtaking and only helped the players even more. This almost has a feeling to the start of Rowett’s era, everyone backing the side and the players playing for the fans.
The first half started and Blues went straight on the attack, looking to end the game early on. Adams came close within five minutes when Jukey flicked the ball in behind and as Adams was getting to the ball Hull’s Keeper made a good stop. Adams was a right nightmare for Hull’s defence and he played a big part in Blues’ opener on twelve minutes. After his run down the right, he found Jota in the box who calmed side-footed the ball home. 1-0 Blues and it was the start we needed.
We weren’t done there though and Keiftenbeld had a perfect chance from twelve yards out, however, he fired over and Blues missed out on doubling their lead. Then Adams nearly scored the goal of the season when he smashed an overhead kick at goal, however, Hull’s keeper did brilliantly and parried it away. That was the last real chance in the first half and it was a crime that we didn’t hold a better lead going into the second half. Blues were on fire and weren’t looking to stop anytime soon, Hull needed a miracle to get back into this one.
The second half started and Blues instantly went on the attack. Adams finally got his goal three minutes into the second half when he sent a Hull defender to the corner shop and found himself free down the right wing. He waited for teammates to arrive and crossed the ball in at the back post. However, he put a little too much curl on the ball and it ended up lobbing the keeper and finding the far corner to put Blues 2-0 up. Adams didn’t mean it but he didn’t care and neither did the Blues fans who were going nuts in the stands.
The brilliant bit about this performance was we didn’t sit back when that second goal went in. We pushed on and carried on attacking Hull, it was refreshing to see this from a side who were so low on confidence two weeks ago. With Blues pushing forward, Jota had a chance to grab his second of the match, however, his low shot was saved by Hull’s keeper, who was having a brilliant game.
Jota wasn’t done there though and finally managed to secure his brace when he received a deflected pass from Adams. Jota channeled his inner Lionel Messi and slotted the ball through the Keeper’s legs and into the back of the net. 3-0 to Blues, we were in dreamland.
Hull found themselves gaining control of the game late on but they weren’t doing much and needed Jesus’ second coming to come back from this. Blues were very good defensively which is also refreshing to say. The game ended 3-0 and Blues were much closer to safety.
Obviously, the performance was amazing and I couldn’t believe the way we were playing, Monk has changed the team around brilliantly. However, Monk said something that I absolutely loved hearing. He said that the performance wasn’t anywhere near where they want to be and still have a lot of work to do. They simply just made a step in the right direction. That just instantly gets you excited, you’ve just smashed a relegation rival at home and say it’s like 25% of what we can do, bloody hell, I’ve never been this excited before.
Monk Mastermind and Evolving Players…
It’s clear to see how Monk has changed this side around in the two weeks he has been in charge for. Players seem extremely confident in themselves and in their teammates. Everyone seems to understand where each other will be on the pitch, where they will be running to, where they want the ball etc. I genuinely can’t believe what Monk has done to this side in two weeks and I’m looking forward to seeing them play after the International break.
One player that I really want to talk about is Jota, I was fed up of seeing fans saying he was a waste of money and we should have sold him in January etc. I have supported him from day one and received a fair amount of hate because of it. Who’s laughing now, you morons? I told you exactly what was wrong and most of you didn’t believe me. Cotterill didn’t like him and it’s clear to see he relies on confidence and having someone believe in him, in order to play at the top of his game. You can clearly see that Monk has said to him that’s he is the number one player at the club.
Another thing that I mentioned constantly and I was called every name under the sun for saying it, was the fact we weren’t playing to his strengths and his style of football. You can’t expect a flair player to play his game in a side where we were just playing route one football. Monk has come in, played attacking football and clearly told Jota he has the freedom to roam around and do what he wants, similar to what Barca do with their frontline. He has been unbelievable since Monk has come in and there was a reason we paid six million for him. Someone of his quality doesn’t become crap overnight.
Another player that has looked brilliant under Monk is Adams, he is looking like his old self again, before the hamstring injuries. I think it was clear to see Cotterill didn’t like Adams and was frightened to say this to the fans because we all love him. Adams is similar to Jota, he needs a manager who can take him to one side and say I believe in you, just give him that word of encouragement and self-belief.
There are two other players that I need to talk about as well. One being Jukey. I love Jukey, he was great for us last season and without his goals, I wouldn’t be writing about a Championship team right now. However, he seems to get a lot of hate from fans. I agree he hasn’t been the best this season but he has looked great coming off the bench and the two games he has played under Monk.
One final player I need to raise awareness about is Wes Harding, what a guy! He made his full league debut for Blues against Hull and was absolutely brilliant. He completely outclassed a seasoned professional in Jenkinson. He deserves to start the rest of the season if I’m being totally honest and I can’t wait to see what he becomes in royal blue.
No Match Preview…
Unfortunately, there will be no match preview this week as it’s the international break. I know, hold your tears as I will be previewing England’s two games. Wait, now that’s making me cry. After not that long of thinking, I have decided not to look at England as we have an FA yes-boy in charge who will put Joe Hart in goal and then claim Wilshere still can’t play because he has played too many games. He also picked Jake Livermore for the squad, that’s how desperate we are for a midfielder.
I must admit, when I looked at the squad and saw that Stockdale, Gardner and Harlee Dean hadn’t made the squad, I completely lost faith in England and I can’t wait for us to be beaten by the Dutch and the Italians.
Unfortunately, that’s where I am going to leave it this week. I’m going to drown my sorrows this week without seeing Blues play and next week’s piece will be a little different but I am sure I’ll figure something out, maybe an international watch.