Monday, January 03, 2005

New Year new hope

Sticking with the same team that had performed well for no reward against Arsenal, Souness saw his new 4-3-3/4-5-1 formation deliver in fine style against a Birmingham City team who looked like they'd all been down the Quayside for New Year's Eve.

Jenas, Bowyer and even Dyer had good games in the middle and completely dominated the midfield, reducing Lily Savage to nothing more than a whinging bit-part player. Only our own profligacy in front of goal prevented us from being out of sight at half time, as a fine header from Shola Ameobi, after excellent work from Bellamy, and a fine Lee Bowyer shot following Laurent Robert's cross saw us lead two nil at half time.

The second half was a more subdued affair, as we allowed the Blues to recover from their hangover and find some rhythm, and in the process allowed Heskey to crack a strong left-footed shot past Shay Given (one of these day's we'll keep a clean sheet...). Fortunately we refused capitulate and if anything finished the stronger side, with Dyer crashing a shot off the crossbar in the dying seconds.

The only note of concern being the site of Bellamy limping down the tunnel mid-way through the second half. However, the new formation appears to give us the necessary width and solidity which we've been seeking all season, and also allows our midfield triumvirate to work together to good effect.

The trick now, is to string a few good performances together and carry the momentum with which we've started the year through to May and hopefully beyond.


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