December 28, 2015 by jaquobcrooke98
With the festive season continuing it’s annual football chaos, Blues entertain MK Dons later today just less than 48 hours after their 3-0 drubbing at Hillsborough on Saturday, a perfect oppurtunity to put behind Boxing Day’s disappointing hangover.
First of all, I sympathise with those that had to pay the £36/£38 ticket prices to watch what was an uninspiring Blues performance on Saturday. I thought the opening 20 minutes gave both sides encouragement to go on and win the game. Whilst hardly any clear cut chances were produced by neither Blues nor Wednesday, the home and away side were beginning to unravel a few questions to one another.
The poise and direction of the game took that of a similar path at the KC Stadium a few months back, except this time Blues were undone on three occasions to which utter calamitous defending was to blame. The first goal came from an installment of pinball in Blues’ penalty area – lines were not being cleared and instead were rebounding off various limbs till finally Fernando Forestieri bundled it into the net. The second goal is not worth anyone’s time repeating other than the fact that Blues had shot themselves in the foot big time. Of all the players to concede against though, Kieran Lee is an impeccable individual. I would mention the third goal, but in all truth I hardly remember much apart from it being a delightful curler, after Blues decided that the art of tackling was a skill that should not be practiced for the first 3 minutes of the second half. Three sloppy, sloppy goals to concede. Extremely uncharacteristic as well following recent defensive performances.
Moving forward, it was the final ball that consistently let Blues down. After receiving a knock in the early stages, which you can use to excuse his performance, Demarai Gray failed to create much oppurtunity down the left. His defending also raised question marks as Blues found themselves being carved up down the left, Jonathan Grounds having what can only be described as a mare. The two seem to lack any communication with each other. On the other side, Maghoma was the culprit of perhaps trying too had to prove a point. Apart from one clever cut back to the edge of the box where Gray was waiting, Maghoma struggled to generate any threatening impetus either. There was plenty of space in between Wednesday’s back four and midfield two, to which I had hoped Toral would be able to exploit a little better. At times he had two or three players on him, so did Maghoma and Gray for that instance, but Toral was numbed and the developing pattern of Blues’ chain was severely strangled.
Gleeson was a big miss which is why his return to the team today will be a reassurance. Blues lacked any real control in midfield, someone to keep the ball more efficiently. Davis often ended up running round like a pitbull and Kieftenbeld was at fault for giving away possession far too cheaply. You sense they wanted to raise the tempo of the game, but forcing it forward is never going to produce positive results. And with the visitors being MK Dons this afternoon, Gleeson seems more likely to grab a goal doesn’t he?
I think it’s important that Blues don’t take a conservative approach to today’s game. The opening 20-30 minutes will set the tone for the game, and if Blues can create chances, protect posession and limit Karl Robinson’s side when moving forward, it will certanly reap benefits in terms of confidence. If Blues go a goal up, I believe they are capable enough to see out an MK Dons side that have the joint second worst goal scoring record in the league. The worst possible scenario is Spector having to cover Grounds for being ripped apart by Rob Hall.
The return of Donaldson could be influential for Blues who, despite the best efforts of James Vaughan, have overall been lacking in their attacking play. Whether he is in the starting line-up or on the bench, he’ll be causing Kyle MacFadzean and Matthew Upson a fairly uncontrollable problem.
Blues playing to their full potential can comfortably beat this Dons side by a two or three goal deficit. Even despite our recent downward spiral in home form, we should have too much for a team that will be scrapping for survival come May. But then again, knowing Blues, that will probably result in us being held to a 1-1 draw.