Birmingham City: What's going on this season?
Updated: Jan 18, 2021
The last decade for Birmingham City fans has been a rollercoaster ride. A plethora of relegation scraps, 13 different managers, a retirement of a 17-year-old’s shirt number, scrapping the academy before overturning the decision less than 24 hours later… the list goes on.
It’s a bit of a calamity at Wast Hills at the moment and Aitor Karanka’s Blues are well and truly in the mud. Supporters at St. Andrews deserve more.
Despite a miraculous away victory against Reading in December and prior to the 1-0 away win against Boro, Blues have shipped 14 goals in six games since and have scored just three times. And they’re topping charts for all the wrong reasons. Blues have conceded 21 goals at home, a league high, which is unheard of compared to previous campaigns. Twice as many losses as wins epitomizes their campaign thus far. The lack of fans is really taking its toll on them.
23 games into this league campaign and Blues’ leading goal scorer, Scott Hogan, tops the tally with three goals.
Three. Yes, three goals. Under 23’s forward Josh Andrews could be worth a punt, as well as Jayden Reid, who has just been recalled from Barrow. The youth would be much hungrier to make their mark in the division.
Service shouldn’t really be a dilemma for the frontmen. The club introduced an array of creative sparks in Ivan Sanchez, Riley McGree, Jonathan Leko, Jon Toral in the summer window to add more fluidity to their attacks, yet it’s become even more stale. Although, Sanchez is the one has showed promise.
He’s been exhilarating when he’s given the opportunity to dribble at his opposite number 1v1, as well as that wicked delivery into the box he possesses. He also scored that screamer against Cardiff, of course.
Not to mention the arrival of Alen Halilovic, who in all honesty, should walk this division. Yet, he’s only been directly involved in a couple goals and is yet to get a look in. Underwhelming so far from the range of number 10s at Birmingham’s disposal.
Concerningly, goalkeeper Neil Etheridge has been the Blues’ best player by a country mile. The Filipino shot-stopper has saved the most penalties in the division, being a lifeline for Karanka’s struggling squad. He’s pulled off a ridiculous variety of saves, most notably against
But it’s not just down to the players for this season’s embarrassing clinics.
It stems from the manager. It doesn’t always gel on the pitch. Jumbling up the starting XI every game restricts the opportunity to build any kind of consistency or chemistry between the players.
You can sense the Blues boss is under the cosh from a mile off. The body language on the side-lines, lack of emotion in past match interviews and bizarre decision-making during games has never been more prominent.
Four half-time substitutions against Derby County says it all. He even refused to see his squad after they were walked all over by Blackburn. Albeit he doesn’t know his best team. But at least stick to the basics and play the same XI for a few games straight and see how they get on.
The January transfer window is renowned for coming in clutch for sides that require that extra bit of depth for their squad, but the likelihood of Birmingham City splashing the cash in the window is next to none.
The football club is over £100m in debt to absentee owners, so they’ll either have to persevere with what they’ve got, or dive into the youth set ups. Unideal to say the least.
Blues have a tough run of fixtures in the coming weeks, with games against Preston North End, Wycombe Wanderers and Coventry City to finish of a hectic January schedule.
It’s not looking pretty at St. Andrews. Things are going to swing in Blues’ favour soon, surely? Let’s hope so for the Bluenoses.
By Ben Haywood | @BenHaywood01