Andy Munro on Blues’ goalless draw with Newcastle.
This was a game that Newcastle were expecting to win as they were predicted to bounce back with a vengeance after a rare defeat. Therefore, in essence, it was a daunting proposition particularly agaonst a bench featuring Dwight Gayle and Jonjo Selvey.
However, in some ways, it’s eat your hat time post-match because I thought Blues would concede at least one goal more than they might score. On that basis, I also couldn’t see where the goals were coming from with the selected side fielding no wingers and no other forward, even in the ‘hole’, to support Jutkiewicz. In fact, with such a conservative set up, it was almost a case of singing to Zola, “Are you Rowett in disguise?”
From the start though, Blues gave as good as they got and played some very fluent (if slightly toothless) football. In addition, they looked very solid at the back with young Belik particularly outstanding although they still had to rely on some Banks-like brilliance from Kuscak. Given their set up, their attacking threat was a bit limited although Nsue was always an option down the right hand side. In midfield, Kleftenbeld and Davies worked like Trojans as did Gardner who several times managed to combine impressively with Jutkiewicz. The centre forward was a real handful to the opposition defence winning most of the balls in the air and also holding the ball up well.
If there’s a name missing from that resume, the deliberate omission is Tesche who had another poor game getting caught in possession and passing ,at times, atrociously. Our next game is Ipswich and one hopes that the struggling German will be replaced by either a winger or another forward to support Jutkiewicz (or Donaldson). Three hard working midfielders in the shape of Davies, Kleftenbeld and Gardner should be enough to protect a defence now strengthened by Belik..and against Mad Mick we need to up the pressure rather than inviting it.