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Birmingham City
Posted by Arun Verma on 03/28/2011

Nine games. Nine games to save our Premier League dream. Nine games to get as many points as possible and keep our heads above the water. Nine games to avoid the depth back into the abyss.
Carling Cup Champions, tick.
Survival specialists?

It's a crazy life, being a Bluenose. We have nine games left in this campaign, and it's impossible to know how to approach this. We sit in the bottom three, but we aren't a terrible side, as we've proved. We are capable of good results and very good performances. We are also capable of self-destructing. Worse yet, we are capable of playing well and still losing. Rollercoaster isn't the word.

Passion, pain and pleasure is the name of an album released by an American music artist, but it may as well be used as the tagline for this season's review DVD. However, Bluenoses just want to know one thing: how will it end? How does this story end? Does it end with heroic performances and memories that last long in the memory? Or is this the start of another 'nearly' story, with 'nearly' men?

Nine games left, and here I'm going to take a look at each and look for reasons why we can do it. Reasons why we will survive. Reasons why our hope isn't misplaced.


Bolton (H) 2nd April
Cup foes, but will Blues be top of the class in a crunch clash? Even before the FA Cup encounter, Bluenoses were honestly admitting that they could stomach a defeat in the Cup if it guaranteed them a victory in the league against Bolton. That's how big this game is. With only 4 games left at St Andrews, this one has to be down as a win-at-all-costs encounter. Blues cannot afford another poor performance here, no way.
The tag-line for this game is 'Your Club Needs You', and it does. It needs the fans, it needs the management staff and it needs the players to turn up on the day.
A Blues team boosted with the return of several key players from injury, will win...just.
Blues win

Blackburn (A) 9th April
Tough. Blackburn are a team who can produce moments of great magic alongside performances befitting a club in the lower leagues of English football. WIth the chicken farmers in control, Blackburn have been making all the noises you'd expect from a top 6 side, but somehow, when you hear a small Lancashire club talking about signing Ronaldinho, something doesn't quite add up.
The honest truth is, from a Blues point of view, we can 'take' these. We can beat them. Blackburn are nothing special, and nothing extraordinary. They can be overcome and can be played round. They won't be beaten into submission, but if Blues dig in, and attack from the off, it's hard to see us being put out of the game. Blackburn are a rigid and organised side, and it will be down to the pace of Jerome and ingenuity of Alex Hleb if Blues are to find a way through Rovers.
Can we win? Yes. Will we? With the pressure on, Blues come out fighting.
Blues win

Sunderland (H) 16th April
Sunderland...Ah, old foes. They're an extremely talented side with youngsters throughout the team who can cause you problems. Steve Bruce has set up his side to soak up pressure and hit back with excellent pace and precision. Blues will have to be wary of Bruce's charges, but with only a few home games remaining, we're going to need something from the game.
You can see Blues going for it, full throttle, but you just get the feeling that Sunderland will stay in the game. Thye have developed into an excellent side, and they know how to recover from losing positions. The fact that Darren Bent has not been wholly missed since his departure is down to the tactical and decisive management of Bruce, and he'll know how to set his team up to get something from St Andrews.
Draw

Chelsea (A) 20th April
Win. Easy win...if only. Can we realistically get anything from Stamford Bridge? We'll try, and we'll set up for a point, but being realistic, this game won't decide our survival.
Blues lose

Liverpool (A) 23rd April
Liverpool away. Six months ago, you would've been very confident of getting something from this game. Now, you never know. Liverpool have been good generally under new (or is it old?) management, but they also show severe weaknesses at points. Their midfield, minus Gerrard, looks better than ever, but isn't fully solid. There are gaps that can be taken advantage of. Strangle Suarez (not literally!) and you have a great chance of keeping a clean sheet and shutting LIverpool out.
If we set up with the 4-5-1 formation we have played in recent times, we can cause an upset, and get a point, if not all three. The tracking of Raul Meireles will be key, but Liverpool will also need someone to watch the onrushing forays forward by Bowyer and Gardner. Blues to score at least once.
Draw

Wolves (H) 1st May
Big game. Very big game. Our record in Midlands derby games this term has been quite shocking, but we need to get it together for today. I have a lot of respect for Wolves, a team of honest grafters who fight until the very last minute. You have to respsect the job that MM has done at Molineux, but the loss of Kevin Doyle will mean that this Wolves side loses something important. Doyle's style of play is the epitomy of what Wolverhampton Wanderers represent. This will be a game low on quality, but high on passion, drama and tension. I don't expect there to be many goals, but you can't see this one ending in a stalemate. Someone will win, and you just have to hope that Blues can get the rub of the green. Jerome has a knack of scoring against Wolves, and let's hope he can do it again.
Blues win

Newcastle (A) 7th May
It's a tough place to go, but we're going at a good time. Having lost Andy Carroll, Newcatle have gone through a mixed bag of results in recent weeks, and if they're off colour on the day, Blues can take advantage. It's a tough place to go when the crowd is at their best, but if Blues can silence the crowd and gain a foothold on the game, we can be successful.
Newcastle have dangerous players when you look out wide, but a now seemingly, blunt attacking line-up means that they don't pose as much of a threat as they used to. Defend resolutely and set up to counter-attack, and Blues will create chances...but will we score?
Draw - Newcastle might not be able to attack, but that doesn't mean we will

Fulham (H) 15th May
Massive. Our last home game of the season and one we have to win. Fulham may need the points, but something tells you our need will be greater than theirs. Blues will no doubt be roared on by a big crowd at St Andrews, and with everyone behind them, can you see them losing? I can't.
Blues win - crucially.

Tottenham (A) 22nd May
A great side, but will they have a Champions League Final to look forward to? Okay, maybe not. But they are a terrific attacking unit, and if they need a win to guarantee a shot at fourth place, you can imagine them going out all guns blazing at the Lane. In all honesty, every Bluenose who saw the fixture list probably saw this game and thought " ****** **** ***** ***** ". It's a horrible place to go when you need something from the game, but Blues have to remember that even Wolves managed to win there, and if they could, why can't we?
Keep Lennon and Van Der Vaart quiet, and then Modric can still get you. Stop him, and watch out for Defoe. Simple. Oh wait...there's some guy called Crouch there too...
Blues lose


There you have it, that's my take on proceedings. 15 points. Too optimistic? Maybe, but you have to remember that this team CAN do this. We have seen that they are more than capable.

KRO. As Mr McLeish said, 'Your Club Needs You', so can a hero please step forward.

We are all waiting...and praying.

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About
Arun Verma Arun Verma - I'm a student, and a massive Birmingham City fan. Football has played a massive part in my life since I was just a child, and the World Cup in '98 turned me into a footballaholic; my very first love was the beautiful game. My aim for the future is to become a sports journalist and in little over a year, I can say that I feel extremely privileged to have received the opportunities that have come my way. Apart from ESPN Soccernet, I also write for the official Birmingham City Football Club Matchday Magazine, Made in Brum, which is an unofficial Blues magazine, and www.joysandsorrows.co.uk (using the tagname akvbcfc). If you would like to contact me about anything I have written about, feel free to email me at arun.k.verma.91@gmail.com.

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