Managerless Birmingham City suffered a humiliating 8-0 home defeat to Bournemouth on Saturday, a result that continued the hosts’ slide and pushed the Cherries up to fourth in the Championship and, unsurprisingly, also to the top of the goal difference chart.
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe will probably have some sympathy for his opponents as his own side suffered a couple of thrashings early last season, to the extent that despite a strong finish goal difference always counted against them as they challenged for a play-off spot.
Birmingham dropped into the relegation zone on Friday after Fulham beat Charlton, and slipped another place after their own result. Admittedly, Birmingham did have to play 83 minutes with 10 men after David Edgar was sent off for a professional foul, and had a penalty saved at 3-0, which would have given them a fighting chance, but the team’s capitulation in the final quarter will have horrified the St Andrew’s faithful.
Indeed, the first job the next manager will have is to somehow turn around the team’s shocking home form; Birmingham have won only one of their last 18 matches at St Andrew’s. Having only maintained Championship status in injury time last season, Lee Clark will have hoped this season, with fresh faces, would wipe the slate clean, but it hasn’t happened and Clark lost his job last Monday.
It is always hit and miss when a club faces a managerless team: sometimes opposing players escape from any restrictions previously imposed on them and play to their potential – Fulham, under the still yet-to-be-appointed Kit Symons, being an example – while others lack the focus to express themselves during the period of change, or, of course, are simply not good enough. With Birmingham it was the latter and Bournemouth exploited it ruthlessly:
“We got a great start and the sending-off was a key moment in the game. From that moment it was always going to be difficult for Birmingham and we really put them to the sword in the second half. The most pleasing aspect was that we didn’t showboat. We wanted more goals but we did it in the right way,” said Howe.
Nevertheless, the managerial change at Birmingham is at least understandable. At Elland Road, however, the circus continues, with Darko Milanic the latest casualty of Leeds owner Massimo Cellino after just 32 days in the job. True, Milanic was winless in his six matches in charge, his final game a 2-1 defeat to Wolves, but with no real opportunity to mould his own team – a similar situation to that of his predecessor, Dave Hockaday – it’s hardly surprising Leeds legends such as Johnny Giles are coming out and telling Cellino to “get out of the club” for the sake of the fans.
Wolves’ victory saw the Midlands club go level on points with Derby and Watford. The Rams went top on Tuesday and remained there on Saturday despite a surprise home defeat to Wigan. One team enjoying a tough time are Nottingham Forest, whose winless run stretched to seven games after defeat to Blackburn. Stuart Pearce’s side dropped outside of the play-off zone as a result.
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