We're Often Partisan

A Slightly Biased Look at the Beautiful Game


Just a link to my Tumblr
Often Partisan
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It does actually get updated, 99% football content
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Franksy's Football Phone In Bingo
Often Partisan
often_partisan
franksy

Random Bonus Look-a-like
Often Partisan
often_partisan
will packwood aka mordred

On the left - Will Packwood of Birmingham City (Photo from bcfc.com, though it's last season's picture)
On the right - Mordred from BBC's Merlin (photo source: the interwebs ;))

Birmingham City 0 Brighton and Hove Albion 1
Often Partisan
often_partisan
Two league home games so far and...er...two losses. No goals. The only goal we scored was an own goal away at Yeovil. In this match (the same as the Yeovil match) we played a 3-5-2 formation, which is a new formation as far as we go. Last season we mainly played some 4-4-2, and at the end of the season switched to 4-5-1 (personally I think the 4-5-1 was more effective). However being as we don't have the same team since I don't know who all our new players are ;) we decided to try a different formation (that and we are still a bit short on fullbacks since Clark likes to play Robinson at centre-half). Here's a crude diagram of the formation involved:

brum v brighton


This set-up seemed to work relatively well defensively since the amount of Brighton chances was limited (and the Brighton goal came after a change of formation). It was at the other end of the pitch where this formation did not work effectively. As can be seen from the diagram, Shinnie (who is not really an out and out striker; he's more of an attacking midfielder) was playing a lot deeper than Novak. This meant the formation ended up as more of a 3-5-1-1 rather than a 3-5-2. Novak ended up spending quite a bit of time running the channels. I can see the logic in having strikers support the wing-backs in a 3-5-2 formation since their is only one man on each wing in a 3-5-2. However I think the strategy limited the amount of goal scoring chances created because it meant there was often a lack of options in the penalty area, since if one striker is deep and another striker is running the channels it can lead to a lack of players in the box. I'm not sure that this particular combination of strikers is going to create many chances in this set-up is what I'm saying. The main shots that we had on goal seemed to come from long range, particularly from Scott Allan.

I also think that the bringing of Burke on for Shinnie was probably a mistake. Shinnie did look reasonably lively in the match. The bringing on of Burke meant that the side had to be reshuffled to a 4 at the back; maybe it's just me, but I never feel like reorganising one's defence during a game is a particularly good idea (unless an injury or red card makes it necessary). I feel like it would have been better to have done a straight swap for Eardley, I realise that this would have been a risky strategy defensively to have Ferguson and Burke as wing-backs, but it would have kept the same shape to the team. Rather than substituting Shinnie I would have preferred to bring on another striker and play Shinnie as a midfielder. There's been some criticism of Clark on the issue of not playing Burke from the start, but on this issue I actually don't entirely disagree with the manager, for this reason: while Burke was fantastic in the Chris Hughton season, last season he was not as good and I think on many occasions last season it felt like he was left out legitimately due to poor form rather than anything else. No matter how good the player is, if he is playing poorly then I don't see why he should be in the team.

In terms of positives for us though I would like to say that I have been impressed with Darren Randolph as a goalkeeper so far. He's made some pretty good saves and he also seems very decisive in coming off his line quickly. He seems like a good signing so far.

was-it-wasn't-it-was-it-wasn't-it
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often_partisan
Farce of refereeing at Birmingham vs. Millwall:

1. Millwall score.
2. The Millwall fans begin celebrating.
3. The linesman raises his flag very late and a bit half heartedly.
4. The Birmingham fans celebrate - goal disallowed. Butland has the ball set up to take free kick.
5. Referee goes over and converses with his linesman. Walks over and points to centre circle - goal given. The announcer tells us the scorer over the tannoy and it goes up on the screen.
6. Millwall fans celebrate. Birmingham players surround the referee.
7. Referee disallows the goal. Again.

Birmingham City 2 Brighton and Hove Albion 2
Often Partisan
often_partisan
Birmingham City versus Brighton and Hove Albion this game ended in a draw 2 apiece. In my opinion this game was a little bit strange because the tactics that Lee Clark employed in the first half didn't really make sense. He played Nathan Redmond and Rob Hall up front and he did this despite the fact he had both King and Zigic and even Peter Lovenkrands available on the bench. I can understand playing Redmond as second striker but it doesn't really make sense to play Hall and Redmond up top because if you're going to play 442 you need some presence in the box from a proper striker whether that's the threat of King or the aerial threat of Nikola Zigic. I can understand why he didn't play King because King had been injured and while I appreciate that Zigic can do stupid things like get sent off you need a striker on the pitch, you can't play with 4 wingers. In this game we went ahead, Stephen Caldwell from a header from a corner, what you call a proper centre half's header. It didn't take that long before we conceded from outside the area and then we conceded again from a cross just before halftime. During the second half neither side really had any clear chances despite the changes made and we got a draw because Zigic's header was pretty much straight at the goalkeeper but he fumbled it and we scored in injury time.

Birmingham City 1-1 Charlton Athletic
bastian schweinsteiger
often_partisan
Must do better. Not going to get too judgmental after one game, but this one didn't come together as it was supposed to. Charlton played well and had too many decent chsnces for comfort in the first half including a couple of headers and one that should have been a tap in. While Charlton's problem was primarily that they did not have the shooting boots on, Birmingham's was that they struggled to actually create anything of note. The crossing quality of the side in particular was poof, with far too many crosses going to the goalkeeper who had catching practise rather than actually being tested. The Birmingham defence also looked a bit too shaky for comfort, despite the fact that the centre half partnership snd the left back were the same players from last season. Charlton's goal came from a corner which was not particularly well defended as it involved quite a bit of head tennis beforethe ball actually went in the net. Blues, despite having little attacking threat, ehat with King seemingly caught offside whenever he got the ball and the aforementioned poor crossing, did get back into the game. We bought Zigic on and he got an equaliser with a minute left with a very nice finish from indide thec18 yard box. 

Birmingham 5-1 Barnet
bastian schweinsteiger
often_partisan
And we're back underway with, for some reason, the League Cup.

The scoreline makes this game look easier to win than it was. Lee Clark put ut an actual decent side, rather than opting for the "bunch of kids" option. He gave quite a few players their debuts in the side. We started the game well and had a good opportunity when Lovenkrands put an overhead kick just wide of the post. However, Barnet got back into the game and played well for much of the first half. They did score a tap-in, bit it was disallowed for offside. That was the wake up call, but Barnet went 1-0 up with a header at the far post which somehow sneaked past the goalkeeper. Not long after Birmingham got back into the game from a penalty kick, both won and converted by Marlon King. But Barnet really should have gone into the break 2-1 up. Lucas saved a shot, but it came out to one of their players, who shanked it horribly, and they got another bite as it fell to another player who put it over the bar. Half Time 1-1.

The second half was a different story, because we scored early on. Caldwell was given too much space at a corner, and he managed to bring it down and lash it into the top corner of the goal. Not long after Ambrose curled a 20 yard pearler into the net, and that was pretty much it for Barnet. We got a counple of goals very late on, the first from Lovenkrands after a pass through from King, and the second from substitute Wade Elliott who put it in the far corner.

Euro 2012: Final
bastian schweinsteiger
often_partisan
Spain 4-0 Italy

Spain ended up winning comfortably in the end, then. They went ahead early on in the game through a header from David Silva of all people. Spain then went 2-0 up which made it very difficult for Italy to win the match. Italy had a coupel of good chances for Di Natale early on in the second half; one was a header just over the bar and the other was a shot that was saved by Casillas. Unfortunatley for Italy, they brought on Thiago Motta who managed to promptly get injured but because they had already used all 3 subs they were forced to play the last 30 minutes with 10 men. This killed off any chance at all that Italy had of winning. They basically did not get out of their own half for the rest of the game. Eventually late on the Spanish got a couple more goals to see them off for good.

Euro 2012: Semi Final 2
bastian schweinsteiger
often_partisan
Italy 2-1 Germany

Okay. Germany didn't start off that badly and had a chance from a corner where Hummels caught it awkwardly and the goalkeeper missed it and it came off Pirlo on the line. They also almost scored when Buffon didn't do a very good job of handling a cross and it bounced off his own defender and narrowly behind. Then after that Italy went ahead through Mario Balotelli's header. Then Italy went 2-0 up after a ball over the top to Balotelli who smashed it into the net.

Germany tried to change it up at half time by bringing on Reus and Klose and Reus looked quite lively at the beginning of the second half. Germany on the whole however failed to create many clear cut chances. Most of the very good chances came for Italy in the second half on teh counter attack. There were at least 4 decent attempts to kill the game off that were squandered by poor shooting. They did score one but it was (correctly ruled) offside.Germany were a bit flat despite the attacking talent they clearly have. Reus did strike a lovely free kick tipped over by Buffon, but other than that their shooting was rather poor. They scored very, very late on through a penalty awarded for handball; Ozil took it. But there was simply not enough time to mount a serious attacking challenge for another.

Italy v Spain final (I fancy Italy.)

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