Vito Mannone – 5
Similar to many other performances by the Italian, but this time he was tested on occasion by Birmingham’s counter attacks, notably from the excellent Sam Gallagher (on loan from Southampton).
Leandro Bacuna – 5
Often did his best to inject some kind of tempo to the game, but once again, Stam insists on playing a left back that patently isn’t. Time and time again, Bacuna had to cut inside to get the ball into play, especially in the first half where he could have released Barrow – but this was not possible as HE’S NOT LEFT FOOTED.
Chris Gunter – 5
Returned to his rightful position of Right Back, but you wouldn’t know it. A distinctly average performance save for a stinging shot in the first half which Stockdale dealt with. Showed some aggression in the second half in front of the East Stand. Whilst Gunter is still the consummate professional that he is, his confidence is clearly on the floor.
Paul McShane – 4
Put simply, this was a huge struggle. Had to try every trick in the book to foil Gallagher and keep up with the strikers pace and power. Riddled with mistakes and lack of game intelligence, this was a performance to forget. Now seems way, way past his best.
Liam Moore – 6
Quite possibly of the few that could say that they left it all out on the pitch. That should be a standard effort to obtain, but once again Moore stood out. He wasn’t error free by any means but still showed enough desire to put others to shame. Stood alone at the end of the game just wondering how on earth we have managed to degenerate into a disgrace of side in 7 months. If he left this month nobody would begrudge him.
Joey van den Berg – 3
Errors. Errors. Errors. It may be down to frustration or simply trying too hard, but Joey consistently tried to pull off passes that his brain processes but his feet can’t pull off. Taken off at half-time. Quite possibly the only sensible decision made by Stam.
Pelle Clement – 5
Drafted in so stealthily that nobody saw this coming. Whilst having a remit that nobody could fathom, he did alright. Did somethings really well, did somethings really badly. It’s what we expect from Pelle as he learns what to do and when.
John Swift – 6
Joins the ‘giving 100%’ club with Moore for effort. At times, Swift was on a different page to the rest of the team, especially in the first half. In the second, City tightened up on Swift and he struggled to find the space he needed. Couldn’t fault the effort, including the obligatory “taking one for the team” yellow card as Birmingham burst forward at pace (again).
(Look away from now on, it’s going to get dirty…)
Mo Barrow – 4
Started well, but then disappeared in the second half. True, he was likely to be the only player that could score for us, but is so one footed that City just marked him out of the game. As mentioned earlier, couldn’t get too involved in the first half as Bacuna couldn’t be expected to bend the ball around three players to get to Barrow.
Sone Aluko – 2
Quite possibly one of the most insipid, spineless, uninterested, talent-less, flatlined effort I have ever seen in the Hoops. Did absolutely NOTHING of any note during the game whatsoever. Seems totally intent on being glued to wherever the left back is. Instead of stretching the game Sone just sits in an area around the edge of the box doing who knows what. When taken off (eventually) he quite possibly ran faster than he did for the entire game. A dreadful waste of money, whatever we paid for him.
Yann Kermorgant – 4
A huge struggle to get any involvement in the game and did his best work defensively, heading off the line in the second half. But this is not the Yann we once knew. Like McShane, his best games are now behind him. Could be training for Mixed Martial Arts instead after a couple of interesting challenges that could have either given away a free kick/penalty or red card. He and Moore stood motionless at the end of the game, both contemplating but quite likely for different reasons.
Tyler Blackett – 5
Changed nothing in game, bar giving the team better shape when Stam actually deemed that a left footed player in a left back position is generally quite a good thing. Couldn’t say that he affected the game in any way.
Garath McCleary – 4
McCleary bound onto the pitch like a spritely gazelle, cajoling all around him that this was our time, our moment, a night to seize this malaise….no, sorry, he was bored from the moment he walked on the pitch. He didn’t want to be there any more than any of our other halves that uttered “I ain’t going out in that…”.
Liam Kelly – 5
Put on the pitch to simply find some grass where there wasn’t a Birmingham player. How that is some sort of tactic to fool the opposition into submission I fail to understand.
Management – 2
Enough is enough, Jaap. This was mis-management if ever there was one.
Again, a left-back that isn’t a left back. A central defender way past his best. A central midfielder that was drafted in without so much of a sub appearance in recent weeks. The constant tinkering with midfield that leads to none of them knowing where the others are as they have no affinity with those players. Wingers that have no idea how to break away from their markers, one of which seemingly has no desire to play at all. A striker that, again, is past his best, that was not replaced or given any help.
When we were two goals down, what did you do? You brought on a (tiny) midfielder when we needed GOALS. But no, the downright stubbornness not to bring on another striker was just infuriating beyond belief.
This refusal to try ANYTHING beyond a dull 4-3-3 that the opposition can now deal with in their sleep. The players hate it, the fans hate it, and it delivers absolutely nothing except against home teams that leave themselves wide open.
The brazen blaming of everyone other than YOURSELF. The players aren’t doing what they are told. Garbage. The fans for expecting better when you don’t know what the fans want? Have a word with yourself. Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you’re doing the best thing, day in, day out, for this club.