So the dust has now settled after Monday night’s astonishing game against Birmingham…but if anything what did we learn about the team after the monumental 3-3 draw?
1. The defensive frailties which were so evident against Reading in our last home game are still there for all to see. I found it utterly amazing that once again such elementary mistakes were punished by goals. We just cannot seem to keep clean sheets at home and it’s cost us big time this season.
2. The conundrum of not being able to reproduce our away form at home has once again surfaced, just a couple of days earlier at Oakwell West Ham arguably put on our best performance of the season as we brushed aside Barnsley with style and panache whilst looking rock solid at the back…such qualities were lacking against the Brum.
3.The spirit shown in the 2nd half at 3-1 down was a joy to behold. It may have been an avalanche of endless long balls into the Birmingham box but there was a steely determination to get something out of the match, it showed that we do possess the stomach for a fight, which could prove vital as we now almost certainly head into the Play-offs.
4. Sam Allardyce’s bizarre team selection; now I cannot possibly know if we’d played the same team that obliterated Barnsley we would’ve beaten the Brum on Monday…but it was such an accomplished display surely to send a message to the team that if they can play like that away there’s no reason they cannot do so at home Sam should’ve started the same team?
5.And lastly what we found out against the Brum on Monday is that the atmosphere at Upton Park is most definitely back, the fans stuck with the team in the 2nd half and the result was one hell of a comeback. This togetherness must continue as we now almost certainly head into the Play-Offs. I wasn’t lucky enough to be there but fans still talk about the atmosphere of our Semi Final win over Ipswich in 2004 well the atmosphere in the last gasp draw with Birmingham tells me we’re on-course for another such cacophony when our home leg arrives.