A proper stale mate

Andy Munro on Blues’ goalless draw with Stoke.

This was no classic, although in fairness it was highly competitive. Perhaps this was no surprise with a fairly big and robust Potters side showing that they still have the Pullis gene.

Blues took a bit of time to get into the game but shaded proceedings when they did and Scott Hogan should have netted at least one of his two clear-cut chances. Bright spots were a confident keeper’s performance from Matija Sarkic in the face of the hurly burly of the penalty area when Stoke had a set piece. Midfield was also half decent with Craig Gardner the pick, closely followed by a non-stop van Sunjic.

On the minus side, Jeremie Bela (like Sanchez against Colchester) was often too deep to do any damage while playing with three central midfielders meant we lacked width and Stoke had too much ball down our left-hand side. Then once Hogan and the Juke and Hogan, Blues lost momentum up top with Jonathan Leko still not showing any sign of improvement and Chuks Aneke battling, at times clumsily, without showing anything extra. Undoubtedly, we desperately need an impact and pacey forward to be signed to challenge our normal front two.

Still, on the positive side, Blues have yet to concede a goal, have harvested four points against two very decent sides and a footballing Rome isn’t built in a day, even with the managerial talents of Lee Bowyer.