Andy Munro tries to find some consolation in Blues’ 4-0 defeat to Brighton.
The Seagulls did to Blues what they normally do to my car when it’s parked in the Jewellery Quarter. They say the results of friendlies aren’t important but a trouncing in the last friendly match before the season starts can’t be a good thing.
Blues actually started off brightly and had some chances to make a decent game of it , hitting the woodwork twice. However, the difference between the Championship and the Premier is that in the latter case any mistakes are ruthlessly punished and despite looking the better side in the opening exchanges, Blues found themselves two nil down on the half hour.
The first goal was a case of Blues continually trying to push up tight and play the offside trap which was unsurprisingly sprung by the cunning old fox that is Glen Murray. The second came from a poor ball needlessly played diagonally and easily intercepted by the opposition.
After that it was cruise control for the Seagulls as Blues chased shadows in their desperation to get back into the game. At the back, Stockdale couldn’t do much about the goals but his distribution was poor and, at times, he seemed nervous when the ball was in the air.
The new lad, Jake Clarke-Salter, on loan from Chelsea, was tidy but not particularly dominant and it remains to be seen how he fares against some of the more rumbustious Championship forwards. Harley Deane was also okay given that alongside him, Marcus Roberts is no Michael Morrison. Unfortunately Roberts still displayed some agricultural tendencies when in possession.
On the wing-back front, Maxim Colin looked a class act and Pedersen also put in a decent shift showing that he doesn’t always get a nosebleed every time he goes over the halfway line. However, we were distinctly average in the middle with Gary Gardner workmanlike but uninspiring and Davies (who got booked) embarrassingly too slow. The only bright spot was another excellent performance from young Dan Cowley and although he faded a bit later on, he hardly misplaced a pass in the first hour.
However. all this pales into insignificance with the issues around the forward line. Whilst Lukas Jutkiewicz had a decent game and looked the most likely to score, support was woeful. Mrabti and Maghoma are decent wingers but have absolutely no physical presence to help Jutkiewicz down the middle. To me, it was a mystery that Isaac Vassell didn’t get any game time, which makes me think he’s been deemed surplus to requirements without really been given a chance. There is a rumour that he’s heading back to Luton and, if so, he’s certainly got the potential to come back to haunt us.
Yet I’m still strangely optimistic we will attain at least a mid table position but am expecting a few setbacks early on as it’s going to take some time to knit things together.