Birmingham City Season Review 2018/2019

    23 May 2019 | Championship | Opinion
    Birmingham City Season Review 2018/2019
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    Birmingham City finished their season in 14th place in the Championship, and although the west midlands club were handed a 9-point deduction for infringement of the financial sustainability rules handed down by the Football League, Garry Monk’s side successfully avoided any last-minute relegation dramas this time around.

    Overview

    Birmingham City had previously been involved in two consecutive last day relegation dramas in the last two seasons in the Championship, firstly, with former manager, Harry Redknapp steering The Blues to safety with an edgy 1-0 win over Bristol City, and then Garry Monk engineering an impressive 3-1 home win over eventually promoted Fulham, who, admittedly, fielded an under-strength side prior to their play-offs success.

    A much-needed season of stability followed this season under the impressive guidance of manager Garry Monk, who dealt admirably with the transfer embargo placed on his side and got the best out of a small squad at his disposal.

    Highlights

    Positive unbeaten sequences of results at the beginning and end of the season proved that Birmingham City were finally able to string together meaningful unbeaten runs under manager Garry Monk.

    An 11-match unbeaten sequence from the end of August through to the end of October had Blues fans daring to dream of a possible play-off place in the top six of the Championship, and although it never materialized, Monk’s side were on the fringes of the play-off pack for some time without making the breakthrough.

    Towards the end of the season, following the 9-points penalty deduction, Birmingham City again dug deep under Monk and put together a season saving seven-match unbeaten run which included an impressive 1-0 home win over automatic promotion chasing Leeds United, which resulted in successfully avoiding another last day relegation battle!

    The strike partnership forged by Che Adams (22 goals) and Lukas Jutkiewicz (14 goals) was a particular highlight as Blues finally had a formidable goal scoring partnership up front who caused plenty of headaches for defenses up and down the country.

    Stand-out Performer

    This was undoubtedly Birmingham City’s top goal scorer for the season, Che Adams (22 goals) who swept the club’s recent end of season awards and was the target for a few Premier League clubs during the January transfer window.

    Birmingham managed to hold onto him for the second half of last season but it seems only a matter of time before a Premier League club come in for the services of the former Sheffield United striker, who made a major contribution in what was a more successful and stable season for the west midlands club.

    What went wrong?

    A five-match losing streak from the start of March coincided with the 9-points penalty deduction which finally put paid to any lingering hopes that Birmingham City might have had of grabbing a play-off spot, and instead, Blues faced a nervous last few weeks of the season as they found themselves hovering just five points above the relegation zone.

    During this losing period, Birmingham City suffered defeats to arch-rivals Aston Villa and west midlands rivals, West Brom in what was the darkest period of the club’s season.

    One to watch

    Young defender, Wes Harding, who can play either right-back or central defense, proved to be a more than capable replacement for first-choice right-back Maxime Collin, and on occasions, in central defense when deputizing for the injured Harlee Dean.

    With manager, Garry Monk, expected to further trim his squad ahead of next season, Harding looks to have a bright future at Birmingham with increased playing time under Monk looking extremely likely.

    Next season

    With the transfer embargo now lifted and the penalty handed down by the Football League now spent, Birmingham City can look forward to a more positive campaign next season where Blues will look to push on under the impressive Garry Monk whose side showed tremendous resilience when faced with adversity.

    Loan signings, Connor Mahoney and Gary Gardner, have both returned to their parent clubs, Bournemouth and Aston Villa respectively, but both are on Monk’s radar should a deal be on the table.

    Whether Blues can hold onto last season’s leading goal scorer, Che Adams, remains to be seen, but the likes of newcomers to the squad, left-back Kristian Pedersen and midfielder Kerim Mrbati, should get more game-time under Monk next term.

    The long-term fitness of midfielder David Davis and forward Isaac Vassell, the latter being used sparingly by Monk following a lengthy absence due to an ACL injury, continues to be a concern, but Blues fans will be hoping they can both stay injury-free next season.

    Birmingham City are still 4-5 quality players short of becoming genuine challengers for a play-off spot, but a top half finish looks to be very achievable under manager, Garry Monk.

    Predictions for Championship

    Home team - Away team Tip
    flag_2 CH
    FulhamQPR
    22/11/2019 20:45
    1
    flag_2 CH
    Charlton AthleticCardiff City
    23/11/2019 13:30
    X
    flag_2 CH
    Blackburn RoversBarnsley
    23/11/2019 16:00
    1
    flag_2 CH
    BrentfordReading
    23/11/2019 16:00
    1

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