It's taken thirty years, but Birmingham City have finally managed to beat Chelsea. How? I will tell you how...
I said it yesterday: Joe Hart had one of his best games in a Blues shirt against Chelsea last season; he really was brilliant. But Ben Foster today absolutely outshone him by a fair few hundred miles. You have to be alert when playing Chelsea, and he was totally on the ball all game, making so many saves I think we all lost count. He was outstanding. If Blues made a DVD of his saves from today's game I'm sure we'd all buy it. Someone buy the lad a pint and Blues, give him a bonus.
Chelsea absolutely threw everything into the box, but we were happy to sit there and defend, to take a quote from Chris Kamara, like beavers. Nothing was getting past them today. Nothing. Even injuries and knocsk wouldn't keep Roger Johnson from running back onto the pitch to win yet another header and keep a clean sheet and all three points. All four of them were outstanding, and I can't fault a single one of them, nor can I thank them enough for how much passion they put into their game.
If I said Blues were the better team today, I'd be lying. But I am 100% telling the truth when I say they were the more determined team. They got their goal, and then they were determined to not concede for the rest of the match. It was magnificent to see every single one of those players give their all today. I haven't got a bad thing to say about any one, and I'm sure I speak for every Bluenose when I say that we are all beaming with pride at not only the performance, but the manner in which we played the game.
Larsson > Jerome > Bowyer > Goal
Obviously, the defining moment of the first half. Larsson gets the ball; whips it fiercley and expertly to the head of Jerome who knocks it down brilliantly into what seemed like an open space. Fair enough, I thought; great ball in, great knock down, just unlucky no one was there to pick it up. And then Lee Bowyer pops up out of no where and slots it beyond Petr Cech. It was unreal. It was amazing. And it was, not necessarily deserved, but it felt bloody brilliant all the same.
The 'Never Say Die' Attitude
We showed it numerous times last season, espeically throughout our unbeatable run of games; but this season, sometimes it seems to go missing slightly. But it's always there somewhere. Today, it was out in full force. None of those players wanted to lose, and all of them were prepared to put their bodies on the line for the cause. It was excellent. Foster and the defence dealt with everything expertly; the midfield kept everything ticking over - Fahey really seems to be growing in confidence now, Larsson runs and runs and will work for you all day long which is key in games against teams with Chelsea's calibre, and it was great to see Ferguson and Bowyer back in the middle together again. Jerome and Zigic ran the line brilliantly. Jerome, like always, ran his socks off; and Zigic had a great game too - he seems to be finding his feet well in the Premier League now: it's taken time, but I think he's finally there.
And that was it. Chelsea, credit to them, played well. They threw everything but the kitchen sink at us and we simply dealt with it. it was a real team performance and every single one of those Blues players can hold their heads high knowing they did themselves, and the rest of Birmingham, proud today. Our last two games have been Manchester City away and Chelsea at home and we've picked up four points. Tell me: who thought, looking at those fixtures beforehand, that we'd get that many points out of these games?! Because I certainly didn't. I was looking for a point, maybe two, but we got four. We got four points out of two of the best sides in the division.
Normally when sides win games like this, they say 'I still can't believe it' but you know what? I can believe it. Because we defending like soldiers today, and we deserved to get something out of thios game, and the fact that it's three points is fantastic. I'm a very proud Bluenose right now.