Enjoy the international break everyone? Whether you enjoyed the England game against Croatia, The UEFA Nations League is irrelevant now because its back to business and time for one of the best derbies in English football – Birmingham City vs Aston Villa. The day Birmingham comes to a grinding halt…as well as the Staffordshire and the surrounding areas of course.
This derby is like no other and has provided almost everything imaginable in football since my lifetime; headbutts, goalkeeping errors, 10+ men pile ups and even a striker playing the remainder of the game in goal – big shout out to Geoff Horsfield for managing to score and keep a clean sheet in the same game.
This time it has the potential to be the most fiercely contested derby of recent times – with both teams level on points and only separated by goal difference, something that B6 really dislike considering the pedigree difference between us and them. They feel they are far too big to be sitting mid table in the second tier of football and should belong in the top flight due to history alone – unfortunately lads that’s not how Football works and you better get used to it.
Of recent times it’s no myth that we really have come up short against our rivals and haven’t gave the best account of ourselves when we have met. The past two visits to Villa Park have seen the Blues in turmoil – the first was Redknapp’s first game in charge and we were in a real relegation dogfight after only winning two games in 24, yet we probably should have come away with at least the point. The second was last season and under the Steve Cotterill regime – we never turned up and I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an embarrassing, spineless and down right awful derby performance.
This time is a different story and although we might not have the strength in depth and big money earners, we have something else – belief. That is something that has been missing from Birmingham City of recent times, but Garry Monk and his staff have re-installed it and increased it in abundance. This time we go into Villa Park with a team full of fighters and they’ve been doing it since day one of this season, so this game should be one that they can absolutely relish to be involved in. It’s a chance to prove everyone wrong; the bookies, the pundits and those who wrote us off before a ball was even kicked.
The Blues are coming into this one after mixed results – a 3-1 defeat to Derby County which ended our 12 game unbeaten run and a 3-3 draw with Hull City at home. Monk and Co will no doubt have used the break to go over the finer details and look to improve defensively after conceding six goals in two games, which has been highly unlike us this season. Whilst our rivals have won their last two.
Ahead of the game we’ve had a few injuries to key players (Jacques Maghoma and Jota), but Monk is hopeful that both will be ready for Sunday and they could make a huge difference to the outcome of the game. Isaac Vassell is getting ever closer to making his awaited return since he was injured in this very same fixture over a year ago, but Sunday won’t be the day. David Davis is still a long term absentee and will most likely not feature until the new year.
We aren’t the only ones with injury doubts as Villa have their own concerns, but I don’t care if they are or aren’t playing because we should go into this game all guns blazing and not worry about who they are fielding in their eleven.
Here’s my predicted line up for Sunday:
Colin, Morrison, Dean, Pedersen
Jota, Kieftenbeld, Craig Gardner, Maghoma
I’m hoping Monk is just playing it cool in the press and know’s that both wingers will be available for the game as I really do think they are going to cause issues to a very weak part of our opponents. Usually I do a results prediction in my previews, but I wouldn’t dare tempt fate for this one. Although I have a much better feeling this time that I did the last time we made the trip to Witton.
On a side note as the game is being featured on Sky, lets make it be known that the City of Birmingham wants justice for the atrocities that occurred 44 years ago and meant that 21 Brummies lost their lives due to absolute cowardliness terrorism. Birmingham will remember them and both sides will conduct a round of applause on the 21st minute.
All that leaves me to say now is, for those who are going on Sunday: Be loud, be proud and be Blues. Give the players absolutely everything you have because you know they will do the exact same thing with Monk in charge. Let our rivals know exactly what we think of them and that the City will always be Blue, because we are the club of the City and we represent this great, working class City.
Enjoy the weekend folks and here’s to Sunday!
Keep Right On!
Picture Credit: The Telegraph