Blues 0 Aston Villa 1 .. Ron's View

Last updated : 16 September 2009 By Richard Barker

So, partly for that reason and partly because I had the heaviest weekend of my life and my brain feels like it has been eroded, I'm not going to go into a tremendous amount of detail. I'm just going to make a few points and then have my 73rd pint of water of the day.

It really wasn't much of a game, for the "neutrals" that we always talk about, watching at home on Sky. I wrote after the Stoke game that sometimes you get lucky and win a game that should have been a draw, and sometimes you're unlucky and lose a game that should have been a draw. I think the latter is certainly the case here. I don't think any result could arguably have been fairer having watched this game than a draw. Neither team really did enough to merit a win and neither were bad enough to really deserve to lose.

Saying that is a bit silly though, really, as Villa clearly did do enough to win - just scroll up and look at the top of the page. They won the game. It's almost too obvious to say it when I like to pretend to be insightful and analytical, but with both teams set up playing 4-5-1 and packing the midfield, it always seemed that it would be the team that took that risk that would win it. It just felt like whoever made that move first (unless both did it at the same time), would just seize the initiative. And so it was. You could see it coming.

After recent meetings with them, it's understandable that Alex McLeish was cautious and perhaps even reluctant to throw on the extra striker for fear of losing the game. Still, sometimes you have to do it to try and wrestle the initiative for yourselves.

Joe Hart was barely tested, and if this wasn't a local derby and it wasn't the Villa and the performance that you saw from the opposition was as it had been, you'd have viewed the game differently - I'm sure you would have. If that had been Wigan or Hull or Bolton, you'd have thought, "blimey, these don't have a lot and are creating nothing - let's get another striker on and try and break them down". Blues didn't though, and that was because of the fear of losing to the Villa again - something that happened anyway.

Three points is three points, and Blues and Alex McLeish have a duty and an obligation to pick up as many of them as they can. Even a point is a point. I just genuinely feel that too much respect was paid because of who you were playing and because of the fear, rather than playing the game as it was panning out.

Look, don't get me wrong, again Blues played nicely and there are encouraging signs. Lee Bowyer was absolutely magnificent. Barry Ferguson was great again, whilst Stuart Parnaby and Teemu Tainio were fantastic filling in for others in alien positions.

However, Blues have now played five games and scored one goal from open play. They've played Portsmouth, Stoke City and Villa at home, and not scored in open play. Yes, over the course of those three games they've performed fairly well, but I said after the first two games, the lack of goals may kill Blues this season.

How we all laughed at Albion last season, playing pretty football all year long but getting beat. "Brazilbion" we called them. How funny it was to see these deluded fans arguing, "well, at least we're playing football in the right way, even if we're losing". Oh how foolish they were.

Well, erm, dare I point out the irony? Blues fans now seem happy with the football (very happy in a lot of cases), but it's beginning to look about as productive as Albion's last season. We can play all the pretty stuff in the world in and around the midfield, but you'll play teams who will get one or two chances, will score, and we'll lose 1-0. We'll then all clap the team off and reflect on being unlucky, but we'll be relegated with a few games left.

I didn't want to be too negative, and in some ways I'm just trying to play devil's advocate and reflect on it in a different light. If we can just add a few goals to our game, I assure you that I'll be delighted with the way we're playing too. That looks some way off at the minute though, and somehow Blues need to be able to not only score goals, but actually create some decent chances.

The next three games are huge. Hull look like a team who've gone one season too far and could drop like a stone. Bolton at home is extremely winnable, as is Burnley away. Nine points shouldn't be unthinkable, and four to five points should really be the minimum. These kind of games make and break the season, and we'll see where we are after that.

I can't help feeling already though that Blues have passed up some good opportunities for points, even at this stage.