Playing Blackpool, you know what to expect: a team that will come at you; a team full of little battlers; and a manager with his heart on his sleeve. But, you don't know how they're going to play. That's the thing. It's like us last season – no one knew our style of play, so it took teams a while to figure us out, and figure out how to beat us. It's like that this season with Blackpool, and combine that with the amount of passion and drive Ian Holloway forces upon his players, they have been a tough test for many teams already this season – just asked Liverpool.
As it was, Blues played brilliantly today. Every single one of them. Ben Foster is improving every game, much like Joe Hart did under goalkeeping coach Dave Watson. The back four were as solid as... a very solid thing. As always. How Roger Johnson, at 27, is still yet to be called up to England is a mystery. Liam Ridgewell played great again as well, with a goal on the score sheet and a great performance to his name too. Him and Stephen Carr, well, I've not seen them play so far up the pitch all season.
It wasn't so much 4-4-2, well, that was the intentional formation. But the tactics we played meant that Ferguson – who had his best game so far this season for Blues – played just behind the midfield and did his brilliant job of sweeping the loose balls up. Fahey played a more central role, and had a good few chances and a much better game than his previous few. Seb Larsson and Alex Hleb also had good games, with Hleb, like Fahey, having one of his better games in a Blues shirt – until he went off injured, that is.
Moan about him as much as you like, but one thing you cannot fault Garry O'Connor for is his work rate. Call him fat, call him whatever, but he will run for you all day long; he will win headers all day long; he will make runs and chase down the ball. All. Day. Long. And he had a good game today, I was willing him to score Blues' third just to shut the haters and the moaners up.
Zigic seems to have found his feet in the Premier League, and with another goal today it proves he can cut it in this league. He's now playing with confidence, winning balls in the air and picking out good passes. He's not the fastest of players, but he'll get into the right positions for you, and him and O'Connor seem like a good partnership.
The difference between this game and our last home game against Everton, was confidence. The Arsenal game, although we lost, seemed to have given these players a bit of a boost. The 20 yard passes are now being pulled off. The balls across the park are actually reaching the players. The neat one-touch football we played last season is being introduced back into our game. And the crowd can see this too. The atmosphere today was great; the fans got behind every single player,. And it gave the Blues team even more drive and confidence to go on and score more and create more.
Last season we lost to Arsenal in October, won our next home game with Ridgewell being first goalscorer and went on that amazing unbeaten run. This season we lost to Arsenal... in October... won our next home game... with Ridgewell being first on the score sheet. I'm not saying we will replicate what we did last year, but if that's not a coincidence, I don't know what is.
Full Time: Birmingham City 2-0 Blackpool