Wowzers, our first three o’clock Saturday kick off since the 24th of November. And only our third game out of the last twenty one matches that hasn’t been on TV. After the hand of Theo got us out of a tricky spot on Wednesday, we now look back to league and try to forget that awful ninety minutes of football. It’s been a while since I’ve watched a home performance that lacklustre. It was our reserve team, but that’s not an excuse for 90% of the passes out of defence and midfield finding a Tottenham defender with unnerving accuracy, and then watching our defence get ripped to shreds by simple balls every time Spurs had the ball in our half. That was the first time in a while I genuinely thought we were gunna lose to them. We nearly always go one down against them, and I normally just think, at some point we’ll score, probably twice, it’s not a problem. But that possibility wasn’t really apparent on Wednesday and, were it not for a lucky moment from Theo, work would have been shit today. Still, I did enjoy his stopping just before he celebrated, to wind up the Spurs fans behind the goal with a hand to the ear.
Birmingham are currently hovering above the relegation places in 16th, a mere two points from safety. Away from home this season they’ve lost eight, drawn one and won two. One of the wins coming in rather amusing circumstances at White Hart Lane. We’ve won ten and drawn one at home this season. In theory this game is clear cut. In their last six games Birmingham have won one, drawn two and lost three. Their last result was a 2-1 loss away to Huddersfield in the FA Cup. It goes without saying that we need to win every match like this at home. Darn, I just said it. Both our and United’s home form has been excellent this season and we can’t afford to slip up. We’ll be hoping that managerless Newcastle will do us a favour in their match at Old Trafford that kicks off half an hour after our game finishes. As it is, we’re now in a period of very winnable league games, and we can’t give United anything to grab on to.
We’ve faced Birmingham seven times in recent years, winning five, drawing one and losing one that came on the last day of the 04/05 season, with Heskey scoring in the last minute.
Robin van Persie definitely misses the game through injury and flu. It’s getting a bit silly now. Let’s just not play him for the rest of the season. Put him in bubble wrap, leave him in storage. It’s fucking ridiculous. Djourou and Senderos picked up knocks against Spurs, Djourou is definitely out, Senderos will probably be fit to start. Hleb and Adebayor will start after missing the last couple of matches. Walcott came off with an injury problem against Spurs, but he wouldn’t have started in this game anyway, and he has over a week to recover before the Carling Cup semi final second leg. Maybe we’ll see him on the bench, warming his right hand up for a moment of magic.
We’ll revert back to full strength for this game. In a fairly rare situation, I can damn near guarantee the starting line up. I can’t see any selection dilemmas.
Subs: Fabianski, Hoyte, Diaby, Walcott, Bendtner.
Two players that wouldn’t have played are out with relatively major injuries, they’re able to play their first choice side. Which might be this. Possibly with Nafti or Kapo thrown in there somewhere.