Birmingham City vs Huddersfield Town

Competition: EFL Championship Matchday 8

Date: 28/10/2020

Score: 2-1

Ground: St Andrew's

After suffering a defeat for the first time since the second game of the season against Preston, Huddersfield Town was hoping to bounce back in the West Midland against Birmingham.
Town had a good opening 10 minutes and was controlling the game with possession, although this control started to slip away and as Birmingham grew into the game, they were drawing Town into making fouls. In the 27', Bacuna gave away a foul on the Blues right wing. Jeremie Bela played in a brilliant ball and Gary Gardner headed home to open the scoring.
You would have thought considering Birmingham had scored all their goals this season coming into this game from set-pieces, that Town would have done their homework and not give away needless fouls and playing into Birmingham's strengths. Minutes later, Town gave away another free-kick and if it wasn't for a goal-line clearance from Richard Stearman then Town would have been two down going into the break.
At the interval, Carlos Corberan made his first change of the evening, Juninho Bacuna made way for Alex Pritchard.
Town had a few good chances in the second half, Josh Koroma hit the bar and Fraizer Campbell poked the ball wide.
Town's sustained pressure was rewarded when in the 85' Isaac Mbenza scored Town's first direct free-kick goal in a competitive game since October 2018 and his first goal since May 2019. A well-deserved goal for all the work he has put in this season.
Having thought Town had just won a point in the Midlands, Town went again to try and find a winner. Josh Koroma forced a save from Neil Etheridge. Although the game ended in defeat for the Terriers, a 90' winner from former Town loanee Lukas Jutkiewicz. The defeat leaves Town 16th in the Championship. 5 points above the relegation zone and 4 points below the play-offs.
Town's next game is matchday 9 in the EFL Championship on Saturday (31/10/2020) away at Millwall.

5 Conclusions from the Game

1. Isaac Mbenza is looking a rejuvenated player

Having endured a difficult first two seasons at the John Smith Stadium, the Belgian is looking a completely different player under Carlos. I know people have their opinions on him, but at the age of just 24, he still has a long career left ahead of him. The free-kick he scored proves he has the talent and now hopefully, this goal allows him to go on and become more confident to use it.
On a side note, I couldn't really care less about him posting the goal he scored on social media after the loss. It is not like he has just scored a 'tap in' in a 5-1 defeat, it was a really good goal. It shows that he actually cares and is proud to play for Huddersfield Town again.

2. Birmingham took out our biggest attacking threats

Town's full-backs have been their biggest threat this season and Birmingham did a great job in targetting them and effectively removing them from the game. This is going to be a worry for Carlos in my opinion, as he is going to need to rethink what he wants Pipa and Toffolo to do when a team inevitably does this against them again.

3. The Diakhaby abuse needs to STOP!

Unsurprisingly I have seen the clip circulating on social media of Diakhaby volleying the ball nearly out the stadium from a cross from the left-wing. If he scored that goal, then I would say it would have been up there for goal of the season as it was a very difficult chance to score. In a day and age when social media tears apart and scrutinise everything in a game, surely it must get players down when they see a clip of them making a mistake on repeat and all the abuse they are getting as a result. Maybe I am wrong and Adama doesn't care at all, but I don't think many people would like it if there was a camera placed in their bosses room when they are getting a telling off for making a mistake and then that footage is plastered all over the internet with thousands of views.
Another issue I have is people talking about his transfer fee. £9 million was definitely a good deal for Monaco, but Adama had no say in the fee. Look at Kepa Arrizabalaga, he is the world's most expensive goalkeeper and is constantly getting abuse and criticism for his performances. I again feel bad for the player, he is a good 'keeper it is just his confidence must be on the floor and that is causing him to make these mistakes. I believe the same is the case with Diakhaby. At the start of last season he was playing well, he was at one point the team's leading assister, the Forest loan was a disaster for him and certainly didn't help his confidence.
I will agree with anyone that says his performances have not been up to scratch but it gets to a point where I think you need to take a step back and think why is it acceptable to send abuse at a player. I believe people's Mental Health is very important and COVID has proved what a big impact a negative atmosphere can have on Mental Health. It is getting to the point now where I think players like Adama, Pritchard and probably at one point Ben Hamer was suffering mentally from the abuse that they were getting from fans.
Abuse in any form especially at your own players is never acceptable from any so-called 'fan'.

4. The players look tired

I do like midweek games, but it is becoming blindingly obvious that Town needs a good rest between games due to the style they are playing in. This is the second week straight that Town have had midweek games and they also have another next week, it is becoming clearer to me that Town need to rotate more in midweek games, otherwise we lack energy and revert to type and play negative and boring football. This was shown by Town having 77% possession and 84% pass accuracy while completing over 500 passes. Having high possession, pass accuracy and pass completion is a good thing but when you lose the game you have to look at is it worth prioritising ball retention over playing riskier passes.

5. All or Nothing

Something Town was criticised for last season was their happiness to settle for a draw. Against Preston and now against Birmingham it is great to see pushing and throwing men forward to try and snatch a point or winner in both cases. Although against Birmingham, our desire for three points left us empty-handed it is great and refreshing to see us not be satisfied with the one point and want to get the winner.

Town Team:

Starting 11: Ben Hamer, Pipa, Christopher Schindler, Jonathon Hogg (57' Lewis O'Brien), Richard Stearman, Harry Toffolo, Josh Koroma, Juninho Bacuna (45' Alex Pritchard), Carel Eiting, Fraizer Campbell, Adama Diakhaby (79' Isaac Mbenza)
Subs: Joel Pereira, Demeaco Duhaney, Lewis O'Brien, Alex Pritchard, Jaden Brown, Romoney Crichlow, Isaac Mbenza
Formation: 352

Match Statistics

Birmingham City: Huddersfield Town:
xG (Expected Goals): 1.22 0.74
Possession %: 23 77
Total Shots: 14 12
On Target: 4 2
Tackles: 13 10
Pass Accuracy %: 54 84
Fouls: 18 10
Yellow Cards: 2 1
Red Cards: - -

Latest Articles: