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2010/11 Review of the Season: Birmingham City

June 1, 2011

Much like Arsenal, who they defeated to win the Carling Cup; Birmingham City’s season fell to pieces after the first domestic trophy of the season had battled over. In the twelve league games that Alex McLeish’s side played since the Carling Cup final, they claimed just seven points and fell from 14th into the relegation zone.

However, it would be unfair to simply blame the last three months of the season for Birmingham being relegated. The club simply didn’t score enough goals across the 38 league games they played and that is the simple reason why they will play in the Championship next season.

They scored just 37 goals with midfielder Craig Gardner finishing as the top scorer with a poor return of eight. In a season that broke the records for the number of goals scored in a season, it was never going to be enough.

Regular Starting Eleven

Game of the season Arsenal 1-2 Birmingham City In the face of relegation, it’s easy to forget that Birmingham did end the season in possession of a trophy. On the day, Birmingham performed admirably against the heavy favourites. Arsenal were pressured on the ball and not allowed sufficient time to impose their strategy on the game.

The game will be remembered for the mix-up that lead to Obafemi Martins’ winner but to say Birmingham City were lucky to win the game overall is harsh.

Player of the season Ben Foster Joe Hart left behind big gloves to fill. The England number one enjoyed a superb loan season with City so when he was replaced by the former Manchester United player, some were expecting Foster to struggle. On his debut in the league, Foster saved a penalty and didn’t look back. Behind the formidable central pairing of Scott Dann and Roger Johnson, Foster looked calm and assured when called into duty. He had a fine first term with the Blues.

Season in a tweet

Biggest disappointment Alexander Hleb While there are quite a few attacking players to pick from, Hleb has to rank as the biggest failure. He was supposed to be the midfield spark linking up with the forwards and creating chances. It just didn’t happen for the former Arsenal man and as the season progressed, he featured less and less.

Changes needed for next season? Alex McLeish’s biggest task will be hanging on to his better performing players. The defensive trio Roger Johnson, Scott Dann and Ben Foster are all expected to be playing in the Premier League next year. He’ll need to replace them with players that gel quickly so that Birmingham can return to the top flight at the first time of asking.

It’s more than likely that the senior players will stay around for a second-flight season but McLeish may lose some of his foreign signings such as Zigic and Martins. Cameron Jerome should be able to get goals in the Championship.

And don’t forget Birmingham have to navigate an European campaign as well as playing 46 league games. It promises to be a busy summer at St. Andrews followed by a hectic playing season.

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