So we're 90 minutes from Wembley again after the comfortable victory against Sheffield Wednesday earlier this afternoon. 3-0 in the end but really it could and should have been more. Easy this cup lark, isn't it?!
An early break to kill the game almost instantly was just what a needed against a Sheffield Wednesday side that has been poor of late and not won since way back in December. Capitalising on this was Jean Beausejour who scored his first goal in a Blues shirt after just five minutes of the match, side-footing the ball expertly into the net.
It was clear soon after that we were the team in control. Early goals are always vital to a teams performance as we witnessed earlier on in the week, on Tuesday against Newcastle. Fahey and Hleb created a good partnership and understanding in midfield together; both staking a claim for inclusion in the Wembley squad next Sunday.
The second goal of the afternoon came curtsy of a brilliant through ball by the man I just mentioned Hleb, who passed the ball to Martins on the left. He ran like a train through the defence and slid the ball into the back of the net with only eleven minutes off the game gone. The famous back flips were unveiled and Blues were now in cruise control to sail onto victory and through to the quarter finals.
Hleb really was showing his Premier League quality, as were the rest of the team, but it was especially unfortunate to see Alexander unfairly tackled and taken off through injury after only 20 minutes of play. Bentley came on as a substitute for him, which is a big indication of how far we have come if we can take Hleb off and bring Bentley on in an F.A Cup fifth round tie against Sheffield Wednesday! Albeit that both of them are on loan...
Blues had a handful of chances in the rest of the half, with Fahey's excellent free kick being palmed away, and the most clear cut chance being when Bowyer picked up the ball on the left and drove in a shot which seemed to him Cameron Jerome, who was unable to get control of the ball before it bounced passed the post. And Blues went in at half time with a comfortable two goal lead in a game they were dominating.
The second half started like the first, and Blues made a substitution which saw Phillips come on in place of Jerome. The game was all but over just 10 minutes later. A corner from Fahey was driven into the box almost on the goal line, where Bowyer seemed to come behind the keeper - much to the surprise of the Wednesday players! - and guide the ball into the path of David Murphy who fired in from close range.
Obafemi Martins almost got a brace after a smart Bentley run and a great cross clipped Martins on his heal and somehow managed to go just over the bar! But Blues were already in the driving seat and the miss wasn't too costly.
Although the away side piled on a late spell of pressure, they never really threatened Colin Doyle who seemed comfortable and assured all game and did everything that was asked of him. In fact, all the players played really well today and it was a great game to watch. Stephen Carr hardly ran all game but he didn't need to; Parnaby and Johnson were a solid partnership in defence and Murphy also had a good game with a goal to his name too. The midfield of Bowyer, Bentley, Fahey and Beausejour controlled the game with Fahey again playing a great central role as he did in the previous round against Coventry City.
Roger Johnson was substituted for Jordon Mutch near the end of the game, much to the disappointment of the centre half (we all know what he's like!) It's great to see a player so determined not to be substituted, but he's a player we need for the final and a silly injury or a stupid sending off was not something we wanted.
So, it was a comfortable win against quite a poor Sheffield Wednesday side. We didn't pick up too many threatening injuries and hopefully Hleb will be fit for the bench for the final next Sunday. All that's left to say now is well done today Blues, and I'll see you all at Wembley!