Yes I know, it’s a fanciful thought – but every year at least one team goes on a run into the play-offs. So I thought I’d have a mull over whether we could be that team, or are we more likely to go on a run downwards.
With nearly half the season gone, the latest draw against Millwall, the 3rd in a row, continues to hurt our promotion chances deeply. Blues find themselves chained on the 15th spot. Recent results haven’t been great, failing to win at all in November picking up just 3 points from a possible 15. Actually that is relegation form rather than promotion.
Right at the moment, it isn’t all bad news though. We are still only 6 points off the playoffs, despite our bad run. We are 19 points clear of the relegation zone though, so looking down isn’t necessary – yet! The thing is, 3 or 4 wins, and we could be back in with a shout.
What Are Birmingham’s Chances?
With the season in full swing, bookies have already provided odds for each Championship team’s chances for promotion. The top UK betting offers don’t have Blues as one of the favourites, which isn’t surprising. Leeds are the favourites to land promotion to the Premier League with odds of 5/6, followed by West Brom and Fulham with 9/4 and 10/1 respectively.
Bretford, Preston, and Swansea are all ahead of Blues, again understandably on the list of promotion favourites. Currently sitting at 150/1 to win promotion, Blues are in a tough spot to rise higher up the list. Budgetary restriction and poor form plagued the club last season, but at least we scored goals. The biggest issue this season is precisely that! We haven’t scored more than 2 in a game all season, scoring two 6 times and we lost two of those games! If we are going to go on a run, we absolutely need a goalscorer. It is somewhat frustrating having sold Che, seeing him sit on the bench and not feature.
We have played some entertaining football at times, and looked composed at times. You can see what Clotet is trying to get the team to do and when it clicks, it will be entertaining. However it’s in the final third that we are failing. I don’t like criticising the manager, but it is clear that the two the similarity of the two forwards isn’t helping. I wonder if it’s worth pushing Bellingham up front with Juke just to try something new. I also wonder if it’s worth asking Southampton if we could loan Che back. If we can get the ball in the net more often, it could to turn the season and push us up the table.
Watching the Blues at St. Andrews is a bit frustrating at the moment. Lacking goals, and drawing games has disappointed the fans. The crowds have also dropped since the glory days of Premier League football. We’ve been stuck in the Championship since 2011. Fans have been rightfully disappointed with some of the styles of play previous management produced. It is an added frustration that since winning the Carling Cup in 2011, when we defeated Arsenal in the final, the club’s trajectory has been downhill since.
However now isn’t the time to wallow. We need to dig in, and hopefully with a couple of additions to the squad in January, we could still challenge the play-off spaces. There is still enough games left until the end of the season, and we all know that in football, anything can happen.
What Will It Take to Gain PL Promotion?
As we already said, the team needs to go back to winning ways to shoot up the table. Right now, the team is struggling to score with us having a few poor results. The team played well against Leeds earlier in the season even though they lost by a single goal.
A number of players do look the part. Montero, Villalba, Crowley, Sunjic, Roberts and of course Bellingham. The big advantage is they are young. Of course we also have Josh McEachran, who hopefully will be fit soon. On paper our midfield is probably as strong as it’s been for many years. Upfront, Lukas Jutkiewicz could benefit with better delivery, but as previously mentioned – a partner who can complement his hard work and physical presence.
It’s crucial for all the youngsters as previously mentioned, learn quickly. The sooner they do – the better off we will be. Of course if we can keep hold of them, even if we aren’t successful this season, it could stand us in good stead for next season.
Fans are still waiting on Alvaro Gimenez’s best form, despite him showing promise, he still needs to really click. The Spaniard played great for Almeria last season and could form a decisive player upfront, whether that’s with Jutkiewicz or another striker. If he does, that could possibly propel the team up the table. Of course, reinforcements are still needed in the winter break, as I spoke of before, (and beyond), and the good news is that the club is working on it. With a few right moves, new signings, (a few goals!), may finally give Blues fans what we desire – a first Premier League appearance since 2011.