Category Archives: Birmingham City

Wigan 8-0 Hull- What are the repercussions for both sides and the other teams involved in the battle to avoid the drop?

Wigan recorded their biggest ever league victory on Tuesday night as they dismantled a sorry Hull side to move 11 points clear of the relegation zone.

Paul Cook’s side were 7-0 up at half time, thanks to strikes from Naismith, Lowe and Williams, as well as doubles from Moore and Dowell, as Hull capitulated.

Dowell completed his hat-trick in the second half as the Latics recorded their eighth victory in their last eleven games, a run which has included 10 clean sheets.

This is a mightily impressive run of form when you factor in that they have a 12 point deduction looming, after the club were placed into administration last month.

It is the impending deduction, which leaves Wigan in danger of dropping down to League One. At the minute they sit 13th on 57 points but when the deduction is applied their points total falls to 45, which would take them to 21st, level on points with both Luton and Hull, ahead by only goal difference.

The EFL, according to the Evening Standard, have stated that the points deduction will only come into play this season if Wigan finish outside the relegation zone. It is therefore key that the club win their final two games to have any chance of staying up.

Buoyed by their recent performances, Paul Cook’s men will be full of confidence for their next game against fellow strugglers Charlton and their last fixture against promotion chasing Fulham. Win those two games, and it is likely that Wigan could remain in the Championship, even with the deduction coming in to play.

Wigan are just one of eight clubs that could face demotion to the third tier, as the bottom of the Championship table is incredibly tight with just two games left to play.

Hull City, who were pummelled by the Latics on Tuesday, Luton Town and yo-yo club Barnsley currently occupy the three relegation places. Barnsley are rock bottom, two points adrift of Luton and Hull who are level on 45 points, but with a game in hand on their relegation rivals.

Lingering above the drop zone by a single point are Charlton, who also boast a game in hand. Huddersfield, who were relegated from the Premier League last season, are nervously looking over their shoulder as they are two points ahead of Charlton, having played a game more.

Birmingham and Stoke City are next, level on 49 points they sit 18th and 19th, again having played a game less than the likes of Huddersfield, Luton and Hull.

Barnsley, who won promotion to the Championship last season, are likely to go straight back down to League One, as they have the hardest run in of any of those fighting relegation.

Gerhard Struber’s men face table toppers Leeds tomorrow night before entertaining in form Nottingham Forest in their penultimate game. They end the season with a trip to Griffin Park to play Brentford, and it is hard to see the Tykes getting anything from those games given their mixed form since the restart.

They have won two, drawn three and lost one of their six games since they returned from the break, but given how well the teams they are coming up against have fared they are in real trouble of going down.

Luton had looked nailed on for a swift return to League One before the break as they sat bottom of the table having endured a tough season, their first at Championship level in 12 years.

The reappointment of Nathan Jones, after he was sacked by Stoke has no doubt aided their fortunes, as the Hatters have defeated Swansea and Huddersfield since the restart, as well as picking up points against Leeds, Preston, Barnsley and QPR.

A heavy 5-0 defeat to Reading hasn’t helped their goal difference, which stands at -30, the highest in the league, which could be a determining factor in the race against the drop.

They face two cup finals to preserve their Championship status, the first a monumental clash with Hull at the weekend and the second against mid table Blackburn.

It will be a big ask, as Luton will also need others to slip up, but Nathan Jones’ men shouldn’t be written of just yet, especially given their recent revival.

Their opponents this weekend Hull have endured a tumultuous few months, and are in serious danger of dropping down to the third division for the first time since 2005.

Grant McCann will demand a response from his side in this weekend’s encounter with Luton and again against Cardiff after their dismal display on Tuesday night. They lacked any real fight and merely rolled over against the Latics.

They have won just one game since New Year’s Day, as their abysmal form in 2020 has seen them slide alarmingly down the table.

It is no surprise that their disastrous form has coincided with them selling their best two players, Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki in the January transfer window, and failing to bring in suitable replacements for them.

Wigan’s impending point deduction has given them an olive branch but if they don’t collect any points from their final two games, which given their current state of affairs will be a tough ask, they could still go down.

Last season’s League One Playoff winners Charlton are also involved in the relegation scrap. They won back to back games straight after the restart, but are since winless in four to leave them hovering over the dreaded drop zone with three games left to play.

They face off against Birmingham tonight in a must win clash, before hosting Wigan and travelling to Leeds on the last day of the season.

A return of four points from those games should be enough to keep Lee Bowyer’s side in the division, but it is going to be a struggle given their lack of goals recently amidst the departure of their star striker Lyle Taylor.

Although very much still in trouble, a win this evening should ease fears of relegation for the Addicks.

A team in dire need of a victory are Huddersfield, who are in serious danger of suffering back to back relegations, given their poor form since the restart. They have won just one game since the break and have failed to hit the target in their last four games.

A 0-0 draw last night against Sheffield Wednesday, coupled with a Charlton victory tonight would leave the Terriers just three points above the drop zone. They have West Brom and Millwall in their last two games, a difficult run in compared to others around them.

With goals hard to come by, they really have to dig deep to grind out some results, as they will need to avoid defeat in both those fixtures to stay up.

Birmingham are another team who have been pulled into the relegation battle, as results since the restart haven’t come their way. They have lost four of six games, drawing the other two, the form of a club in real trouble which cost manager Pep Clotet his job.

They have three games left, against Charlton, Preston and Derby, and with four points separating them and Hull, and Wigan’s impending deduction, their early season form has probably saved them from falling out of the division.

A major rebuild will have to commence at St Andrews next season however, with Clotet gone and talented youngster Bellingham set to join Borussia Dortmund for £22.5 million.

Stoke City are also fighting for survival, after an inconsistent season. Their form since the restart has encapsulated this notion. Michael O’Neill’s men drew with Reading before losing to Middlesbrough and Wigan. They then thumped Barnsley 4-0, lost to Leeds 5-0 and beat Birmingham 2-0, to distance themselves from the drop zone.

They had an awful start to the season under Nathan Jones, winning just 2 of their 14 games to sit in the relegation zone. Michael O’Neill’s arrival at the bet365 Stadium mid season helped to steady the ship, and the win over Birmingham helped them take huge strides towards securing safety, something which looked impossible in November.

They face Bristol City tonight, knowing a win will all but guarantee safety, helping them break into the 50 points bracket with two tough games left against Brentford and Nottingham Forest.

Given the erratic nature of the Championship predicting who will go down is arguably one of the most difficult tasks in football. Yet, it is hard to look past Barnsley and Hull to be relegated, given their remaining fixtures and poor form.

Who will join them is where it gets interesting as Luton, Charlton, Huddersfield and Birmingham are all scrapping to avoid falling into the final relegation place.

Throw in Wigan’s impending points deduction and the Championship relegation battle becomes even more complicated and simultaneously intriguing for a neutral watching on.

For more reaction to Wigan Athletic entering administration see video below:

Who is Jude Bellingham?

Jadon Sancho. Lautaro Martinez. Erling Haaland. We see plenty of names being branded about as the next best young players but one player that has flown into the public eye recently is Birmingham City’s Jude Bellingham.

The 16 year-old turns 17 on the 29th and has amassed 33 Championship appearances since 2019, scoring four goals. He caught the attention of FourFourTwo magazine when he scored the winner for the Birmingham U23’s side against Nottingham Forest at the ripe age of 15. By March 2019, he’d made 10 development side appearances and bagged three goals. He was also being linked with top clubs around Europe, Borussia Dortmund being the most talked about name at first.

Bellingham then signed a two-year scholarship with Birmingham to begin in July 2019. He was part of the first-team squad in their pre-season training, played and scored in some pre-season friendlies and was subsequently given the number 22 shirt for the 2019/20 campaign .

On the 6th August 2019, Bellingham became Birmingham City’s youngest ever first-team player when he started an EFL cup tie with Portsmouth. At the age of 16 years and 38 days, he beat the record of 16 years 139 days that Trevor Francis had previously held. The Englishman also captained England U15’s in the 17/18 season and went on to do the same for the U16’s by the end of 2018.

In the current season he has played 33 times, as mentioned before and has played a mix of wing and central midfield positions. He has the physical presence needed for a central midfielder and has a good eye for a pass. For a young player he seems very composed and plays with a maturity beyond his years.

With four goals from midfield, you could also say he has a decent eye for goal, which at 16 is highly impressive. The Championship is a notoriously difficult league to play in and with him being able to establish himself, you would have to say the hype surrounding his talents is justified.

Pep Clotet and the club staff feel he is most suited to an advanced central midfield role.

Speaking in October, Clotet said:

“The only difference between a player who is 16 and a player that has a lot of years as a pro is the way they handle the load.

“He’s handling it very well at the moment and he’s a strong player so I don’t see why he can’t hack it.”

His performances have certainly garnered a lot of attention from Europe’s top clubs, with Bayern Munich now entering the fray alongside Dortmund and Manchester United. There were reports in January linking the youngster with a £50 million move to United, a deal that never seemed likely.

However, it does bring up the topic of English players going for a certain premium. As £50 million for a player who had only played half a Championship season seems very steep.

Bellingham will be able to sign his first professional contract when he turns 17 on Monday – he earns a measly £145 per week at Birmingham, which means clubs have just a few days to convince him to join them. Bayern Munich have made an effort to potentially hijack a deal to Dortmund, with Bellingham choosing the latter over United because of the success Jadon Sancho has had.

It would be difficult to see where he fits in at Bayern, whereas Dortmund you could assume Bellingham would get more playing time. Wherever his career path takes him, you can be sure that we haven’t heard the last of this starlet.

Golden Boy 2020 Nominees Revealed

Tuttosport yesterday revealed their long list of the 100 young footballers nominated for this year’s award, given to the best player under the age of 21 playing in a major European league.

Last year’s winner Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix fails to make the cut this time around, after he narrowly pipped Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho in 2019.

The Englishman is one of the favourites to scoop the prize this year, alongside club teammate Erling Haaland and Bayern Munich’s rising star Alphonso Davies. All three have had staring roles in the Bundesliga this term, with Sancho netting 17 goals in the league and providing 16 assists.

Nineteen year old Haaland only arrived in Germany in January, but already has 11 goals to his name in just 12 appearances whisky Canadian Davies has put in a number of eye catching performances at left back as Bayern Munich romped to their 8th consecutive Bundesliga title.

Twenty-three starlets nominated ply their trade in the top flight, coming from nine different Premier League clubs. One of them will be hoping to become only the fourth player to win the Golden Boy whilst starring in the Premier League.

Arsenal’s Trae Coyle, breakthrough stars Bukayo Saka, and Gabriel Martinelli as well as on loan St Etiene defender William Saliba make the list, alongside North London rivals Spurs’ duo Oliver Skipp and Ryan Sessegnon.

Both Manchester clubs have three young guns nominated, Phil Foden, Eric Garcia and Claudio Gomes for City and Angel Gomes, James Garner and Mason Greenwood for United.

European champions Liverpool are represented on the list by Scouser Curtis Jones, full back Yasser Larouci and Dutch centre back Sepp Van den Berg, whilst Norwich’s flying full back Max Aarons also makes the cut.

Chelsea have four nominees; Tino Anjorin, Scotsman Billy Gilmour, RB Leipzig loanee Ethan Ampadu and winger Callum Hudson-Odoi. Wolves’ Pedro Neto and Morgan Gibbs-White alongside Southampton’s Irish striker Micheal Obafemi complete the list of Premier League players chosen.

Two Americans make the long list for the award, which is whittled down to just 20 players through of a public vote, before a panel of 40 esteemed journalists choose the winner later in the year.

Nineteen year old Ajax defender Sergio Dest, who was named Ajax’s Talent of the Year makes the cut alongside Borussia Dortmund’s Giovanni Reyna, who has enjoyed a breakout campaign, scoring once and providing an assist in 16 appearances this term.

Celtic’s young sensation Karamoko Dembele makes the list along with a number of La Liga stars. Valencia’s Ferran Torres and Lee Kang-In, Real Madrid trio Vinicius Junior, Takefusa Kubo who is currently on loan at Real Mallorca, and Rodrygo are also included alongside seventeen year old Barcelona star Ansu Fati, who has scored six goals already this term.

Rennes prospect Edoardo Camavinga and Brescia’s Sandro Tonali who are attracting interest from top clubs across Europe are some of the other notable inclusions. A shock exclusion was Birmingham’s sixteen year old wonder kid Jude Bellingham, who has registered 32 senior appearances, scoring four Championship goals, and is rumoured to have agreed a deal to join Borussia Dortmund.

Full List of Golden Boy Nominees:

Goalkeepers: Ionut-Casian Rus (Cluj)

Defenders: Max Aarons (Norwich), Ethan Ampadu (RB Leipzig), Benoit Badiashile (Monaco), Mitchel Bakker (PSG), David Colina (Hajduk Split), Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich), Sergino Dest (Ajax), Tiago Djalo (Lille), Eric Garcia (Manchester City), Lutsharel Geertruida (Feyenoord), Ozan Kabak (Schalke), Yasser Larouci (Liverpool), Svetozar Markmovic (Larisa), Loic Mbe Soh (PSG), Juan Miranda (Schalke) Patricio Nehuen Perez (Famalicao), Jean-Claude Ntenda (Juventus), Strahinja Pavlovic (Partizan Belgrade), Eduardo Quaresma (Sporting CP), William Saliba (Saint-Etienne)

Midfielders: Yacine Adli (Bordeaux), Lucien Jefferson Agoume (Inter), Faustino Anjorin (Chelsea), Adil Aouchiche (PSG), Edoardo Camavinga (Rennes), Phil Foden (Manchester City), James Garner (Manchester United), Morgan Gibbs-White (Wolves), Bryan Gil (Leganes), Billy Gilmour (Chelsea), Claudio Gomes (PSV), Matias Goncalo Ramos (Benfica), Ryan Jiro Gravenberch (Ajax), Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea), Mohamed Amine Ihattaren (PSV), Curtis Jones (Liverpool), Takefusa Kubo (Mallorca), Dejan Kulusevski (Parma), Alessio Riccardi (Roma), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Oliver Skipp (Tottenham), Dominik Szoboszlai (RB Salzburg), Sandro Tonali (Brescia), Hamed Traore (Sassuolo), Sepp van den Berg (Liverpool)

Attackers: Abel Ruiz (Braga), Karim-David Adeyemi (RB Salzburg), Marley Ake (Marseille), Angel Gomes (Manchester United), Myron Boadu (Alkmaar), Rayan Cherki (Lyon), Facundo Colidio (Saint-Truiden), Trae Coyle (Arsenal), Leon Dajaku (Bayern Munich), Jonathan David (Gent), Karamoko Dembele (Celtic), Sebastiano Esposito (Inter), Daniel Fabio Silva (Porto), Ansu Fati (Barcelona), Lyle Foster (Cercle Brugge), Zeljko Gavric (Red Star), Willem Geubbels (Monaco), Lorenzo Gonzalez (St Gallen), Amine Gouiri (Lyon), Mason Greenwood (Manchester United), Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund), Mamadou Kaly Sene (Juventus), Mohammed Kudus (Nordsjaelland), Diego Lainez (Real Betis), Kang-in Lee (Valencia), Daniel Maldini (Milan), Felix Khonde Mambimbi (Young Boys), Antonio Marin (Dinamo Zagreb), Alejandro Jose Mendez Marques (Juventus), Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal), Michael Obafemi (Southampton), Paulinho (Bayer Leverkusen), Pedro Neto (Wolves), Euclides Rafael Camcho (Sporting CP), Reinier (Real Madrid), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Rodrygo (Real Madrid), Miguel Romario Baro (Porto), Thomas Sabitzer (LASK), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Sergio Gomez (Borussia Dortmund), Mathias Soule (Juventus), Mateus Tete (Shakhtar), Ferran Torres (Valencia), Amad Traore (Atalanta), Lassina Traore (Ajax), Heorhiy Tsitaishvili (Dynamo Kiev), Yari Verschaeren (Anderlecht), Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid), Dusan Vlahovic (Fiorentina)

Joe Lolley’s Forest require penalties to see off eight-man Mansfield to reach the EFL Football Manager Quarter-Finals

The last 16 of the Virtual EFL Football Manager Cup certainly delivered up its fair share of drama this past week.

The round featured a classic Championship versus League Two tie between Nottingham Forest and Mansfield Town. Following the game virtual manager Joe Lolley said:

“Well if that’s not repeated on sky sports classics for the next 20 years there is no justice.”

Indeed, Lolley’s Nottingham Forest side had to overcome the spirited effort from Jamie King’s Mansfield Town. The League Two side went ahead twice but their discipline certainly proved problematic as the match ended in a 2-2 draw.

In extra time Forest had as many as three goals ruled out before ultimately coming through on penalties against FM content creator King’s troops.

A remarkable hat-trick from Birmingham City’s centre back Harlee Dean meanwhile saw the Lee Camp’s blues progress to the last eight at the expense of Luton Town in another thrilling 3-2 Championship clash.

Following his side’s victory, virtual manager Camp said:

“We took the game to them, took the lead like we did last week and controlled the game.  They had a couple of moments but it’s cup football and you expect the opposition to come out and ask you questions but overall I thought we managed the game very well.”

Elsewhere, Brentford and Preston North End emerged victorious from their respective local derby matches against Queens Park Rangers and Blackburn Rovers.

Sam Jaques’s Brentford side ultimately emerged with a 3-1 victory over their fellow Londoners, while Tom Barkhuizen rounded off Preston’s 2-0 victory over their Lancashire rivals.

There were also wins for Fulham, Huddersfield Town, Swansea City and Middlesborough  who complete the line up for the last eight.

Who do you fancy to go all the way?

Don’t forget that throughout the tournament you can donate on the JustGive page to Mind UK. #haveyourmatesback.

https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/TheEFLFootballManagerCup

EFL Football Manger Cup Round Two Review

The EFL Football Manager Cup is building up ahead of steam following the second round’s completion.

The virtual cup began on Monday 18 April with 54 teams in the hat and has now been whittled down to just 16 sides.

The match of the round was undoubtedly Brenford’s compelling encounter with Shrewsbury Town.  The Bees had to come from behind twice to secure a 2-2 draw in normal time.  Following an additional 30 minutes, the sides still could not find a winner so the contest was settled by who could keep their nerve from the penalty spot.  Ultimately it was the Championship side who prevailed 3-1 thanks to goalkeeper David Reyna who produced the crucial save from Shrewsbury’s midfielder Shaun Whalley.

Joe Lolley’s Nottingham Forest meanwhile managed to put five past Southend at the City Ground thanks to two goals from Ben Watson and Portuguese left back Yuri Ribeiro.  Lee Camp’s Birmingham City side also managed to score five in an impressive 5- 0 over Forest Green Rovers.

Elsewhere, Luton Town progressed to round three with a 3-1 success against Ipswich, mirroring the exact result between the sides when they met in the Carabao Cup back in August.  While there were 1-0 wins for Fulham and Mansfield Town against Charlton Athletic and Portsmouth respectively.

This tournament has so far managed to raise £1,879 for the mental health charity, Mind UK and you can continue to donate via the JustGive Page until it’s conclusion on the 17th May.

The draw for the next round is set to take place this Sunday via the Football Manager twitter page.

EFL Football Manager Cup Schedule

The Round of 16 – Commences week of May 4th

The Quarter-finals – May 11-14th

The Semi Finals –  Saturday May 16th

The Final – Sunday May 17th