20/21 Mid-Season Ratings: The Results

Well, we’ve reached the half-way mark (just over, but let’s no be pedantic) of another ‘breathtaking’ Birmingham City season. I don’t know about anyone else, but this one seems to have dragged along at a pace Adam Clayton would be proud of – perhaps that’s because Blues providing a glimmer of hope throughout these difficult and challenging times has been very few and far between.

So, what better way to look back on a fantastic 25 game spell where we get you to give us your initial thoughts and ratings on the players and then for me (a world renowned football expert) to compare them with mine. Some I’m sure we’ll definitely agree on, others I might think you’re being incredibly harsh and there also might be the odd occasion where you think I’m talking total b*llocks – it wouldn’t be the first time if you’ve watched Fat Lads Go in Goal.

So, without further ado, let’s get straight into it and see just how YOU (the voters) and ME (the football expert) ranked those who have donned the Royal Blue & White, Red and Green so far this season.

Etheridge

When Blues decided to part ways with Lee Camp I had mixed emotions. The first being “thank f**k for that” and the other being “I’ll actually miss seeing him at Blues”.  It was imperative that we replaced him with someone who had a bit of pedigree in this league, but also that they didn’t have hands that resembled a Papadum. When Etheridge walked into the club I think 99% of Blues fans were delighted. A good, strong shot-stopper and someone who’s tasted promotion from this division. On the whole I think he’s been a breath of fresh air in between the sticks and he’s made some huge stops to keep us in games already this season. However, there has been the odd howler here and there – Boro at home being the most memorable one. Overall though, I’ve been impressed with him. I think both ratings are very much bang on the money here as he’s been one of the better performers so far this season.

Fan rating: 7.7
Jack’s rating: 7.5


Colin

Mr reliable throughout his time at the club and definitely the most impressive from the infamous Brentford raid in 2017. I personally don’t think he’s reached the heights we’ve seen from him in previous seasons, but he’s had games where he has linked up well with his new teammate Ivan Sanchez. Overall I’d say he can hold his head a little higher than most, which might not be a huge thing to be shouting off about. Bang on the money with the rating with this one too.

Fan rating: 7.0
Jack’s rating: 7.0


Pedersen

The human definition of marmite, some rate him, whilst others are still pulling their hair out Blues didn’t take Watford up for that supposed £10m bid for the Dane a couple of seasons ago. When Peds first arrived I saw a talented player, but someone who was still very raw, due to the fact he made silly mistakes like lunging into challenges or being caught out of position on regular occasions. I thought that may change over time and in someways he’s got better at it, then there’s games where he looks like he’s never played football in his life. This season he’s particularly struggled for regular game time and injuries, but even when fit I haven’t been totally impressed, which is why I’ve gone slightly lower than your average rating. Sorry Pedersen fans.

Fan rating: 4.9
Jack’s rating: 4.5


Dacres-Cogley

I’m still utterly shocked JDC has managed to resurrect his Blues career. I thought he’d be marooned in league 2 for a few years before finding himself down at Solihull Moors with the rest of the ex-blues ‘legends’. To be fair to Josh, when he’s be called upon he hasn’t put in a bad shift, but it’s still not really at a level to get ahead of Colin and it’ll most likely be a bit-part season for him and who knows where it’ll go from there, but for now, he’ll do for me as a back-up.

Fan rating: 5.2
Jack’s rating: 5.0


Friend

I think everyone has been pleasantly surprised by George Friend so far this season. Going off what Middlesbrough fans were saying; I was half expecting him to arrive in a wheelchair and turn like the Titanic. However, he’s been a breath of fresh air since his arrival. Leadership, professional, work rate and he isn’t even that slow! Out of all of those who have played across the back line, he’s definitely impressed me the most and I’m in agreement that he deserves the average rating you have gave him.

Fan rating: 7.5
Jack’s rating: 7.5


Dean

Oh Harlee. Where do we start? I know many aren’t particularly keen on the club captain and I won’t begrudge them for having that option at all, because in some ways he certainly hasn’t helped his cause during his time at the club. Although, if you’re going to point out when he’s had a stinker, you always have to do the same when he’s played particularly well and on a few occasions this season, it’s certainly been the latter. Under Karanka he seems to have turned a corner and looks a lot more confident in the middle of that backline. There have definitely been blips and bumps along the way so far, but he’s been nowhere near as bad as previous seasons. Some may say a 6.9 is a little generous, but I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt and round it up.

Fan rating: 6.9
Jack’s rating: 7.0


Roberts

I’ve got to be honest with you all now, I’ve never really rated Marc Roberts. I was shocked how much we paid for him at the time and I’d probably be more shocked to know how much we pay him on a weekly basis. But, when you’re writing these sorts of reviews/pieces you need to be fair and unbiased. Therefore I’m going to do the exact opposite and still stick to my guns and say I haven’t seen anything to prove me wrong that he should be a starting centre back in the Championship. It’s the same silly errors and inability to keep the ball on the ground that has recently seen him come out the side lately and I’m surprised he’s been able to muster up a 6.1 on the average votes. You may feel I’m a little harsh on this one, but I’m going to put him lower.

Fan rating: 6.1
Jack’s rating: 5.5


San Jose

This one is going to be a tricky one. MSJ came with a huge pedigree when he joined Blues and with that followed a huge expectation from Blues fans (me included). We saw glimpses of that pedigree during the opening few games of the season, his ability to pass the ball is second to none. Unfortunately you do need a bit more than that in order to play midfield in the Championship and it became increasingly obvious he didn’t have the legs to play in a midfield two and if you played him in a back five, the rest of the team suffered due to the inability to create chances. However, he’s recently found himself drop into centre-half with Harlee Dean and without tempting fate, it looks like that might be a more permanent home for him. The rating is fair for me and hopefully it can improve over the second half of the season.

Fan rating: 6.0
Jack’s rating: 6.0


Clayton

Poor old Adam Clayton. I’ve seen many opinion on Clayton and whilst some maybe a little harsh, some are very fair. When he first arrived and played in the middle with Sunjic he looked a fairly useless addition. Until he picked up an ankle injury against Huddersfield and since then he appears to be way off the pace. Some have even mentioned he runs like he has a caravan attached to him. I see him more of a rotational and back up player as well as someone for the dressing room when the chips are down, but overall it hasn’t been a hugely impressive stint for Clayton, it’s still nowhere near as bad as the average rating though and I’d argue that case with anyone (please don’t ask me to, I don’t have that much time on my hands).

Fan rating: 3.4
Jack’s rating: 4.5


Sunjic

Another player who divides opinion is the combative Croatian with a massive member (I think that’s the rumour anyway). Personally, I see the benefits of having Ivan Sunjic in the side and he does a lot more than people will notice throughout the game. At the start of the season he was one of the top performers and only started to dip when the rest of the team were about as useful as an inflatable dartboard. Since Kieft came back in (let’s not start that one) he looked back to his better self and that was mainly because he wasn’t doing someone else’s job as well as his own. I’m now intrigued to see how he will fair with new boy Rekeem Harper (who’s thought to be more of a number 8) and if that’ll see him go back to Sunjic we saw at the start of last season.

Fan rating: 5.7
Jack’s rating: 6.5


Gardner

I feel for Gary Gardner, he was arguably the best of a bad bunch last season and one of the few who could come out with his head held high after lockdown. This season he’s struggled to get a foothold in the side whether that be due to injury, others being ahead of him in the middle, or the fact Karanka fancies him as a right winger. I will say, whenever he does come on, he gives it his all and makes an absolute nuisance of himself all the time, so I’ll be generous as go a little higher than the average rating.

Fan rating: 5.4
Jack’s rating: 6.0


Bela

I still to this day question how we managed to get Bela on a free deal. He’s levels above that Spanish bloke we broke our transfer record on and I’m not just saying that because he became a DVB. When Bela’s on the pitch it’s no coincidence Blues look a much better and more dangerous side. The only downside is, he seems to be flat out after 70 minutes (which is no surprise given the fact he sprints for a good 65 of the game). Whilst his ability to beat his man with the ball is exceptionally good, there’s still more needed in terms of end product and his overall defensive work rate too. I still think he’s been a brighter spark in a very mundane season, therefore I’ll round up his score.

Fan rating: 6.7
Jack’s rating: 7.0


Sanchez

I feel like I’ve just said this about the other winger, but how on Earth did we manage to get this guy on a free deal? He’s everything we expected Jota and Villabla to be. Frighteningly good with the ball due to his  balance which makes him almost impossible to stop when he cuts back in onto his left foot. He’s already created a good partnership with Colin down the right hand side and hopefully more of that will come as they’re playing more regularly together. Definitely the brightest and best player for Blues this season. The average rating is bang on the money and I will just re-affirm that one.

Fan rating: 8.0
Jack’s rating: 8.0


Leko

This is a difficult one because there’s a few factors which may have caused us to not see the best from Leko so far. You can’t disregard the fact he has only recently got over a potentially career changing injury and it’ll take a while for him to be fully back to the level where he doesn’t have it in the back of his mind that it may still happen again. That being said I’m a bit disappointed with his end product, not just shooting, but his passing too. I know you can’t make every single pass you attempt to play during a game, but there’s a recurring theme whenever I see him play. That may change and improve with age, but at the moment it’s one of the reasons he doesn’t find himself a regular start for Blues. I’m going to knock him down .5 on the average rating and I think it’s completely justifiable.

Fan rating: 5.5
Jack’s rating: 5.0


Toral

Many Blues fans were pleased to see the return of Toral during the summer, with the 15/16 season still fresh in the mind where he excelled under Gary Rowett. It’s probably still fresh in the mind because it was the last time were any good. For me he’s a risk worth taking, especially when he does unlock that ability we’ve all seen before. He’s showed glimpses of it throughout the season, especially in that midweek game against Reading, however it’s not really been on a completely consistent basis so far (which is similar to the team in general). I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt here and that’s due to the fact he’s been integral in the games which we have won this season.

Fan rating 6:0.
Jack’s rating: 6.5


McGree

Stepping stone himself. Yes, he’ll never been able to get away from that one, not because it was completely outrageous, but because it was hilarious to see the meltdown it caused – especially when most people still probably forget he’s a Blues player. At the start of the season he showed some glimpses of a talented player, perhaps a little lightweight, but there’s ability in there. He could also feel a little aggrieved he’s not played that many games too, because I don’t think he’s actually done a lot wrong when he has played, however he’s competing for a position that’s quite stocked. Hard to really disagree with the average rating for him and he’s certainly not any higher, so therefore I’ll round it down.

Fan rating: 5.8
Jack’s rating 5.5


Halilović

The Career Mode and Football Manager wonderkid who has somehow found himself playing his trade in Bordesley. Where did it all go wrong?! I along with a few Blues fans were gobsmacked to see us land someone like Halilović, mainly because he was dubbed to be the next Messi and when that didn’t work out he went and played for that club called AC Milan, you may have heard of them? However, he’s at Blues and it’s definitely something that suits both parties, because he wants to kickstart his career again and Blues need a creative spark, which he has shown in glimpses before suffering an unfortunate injury. I’m definitely expecting a lot more from him during the second half of the season.

Fan rating: 5.8
Jack’s rating: 6.0


Hogan

The fun begins now doesn’t it? Ultimately strikers are ranked on their goals. You may feel that’s a tad unfair if they bring something else to their game, but the main job is to stick the ball in the back of the net. Hogan is one of those strikers who will do that when he has a little bit of confidence and the chances are being created for him. Unfortunately for Scott, the hangover from his lockdown form seems to be taking an age to shake off and there hasn’t been a shed load of chances being created. That being said in recent weeks he’s looked a lot more with it and the fact he’s playing higher up the pitch is allowing his team mates to do the same and create more chances for him. I’m hoping his recent injury isn’t a lengthy one, because that’ll be another set back to him gaining any form of confidence. The original rating is a slightly harsh one for me, but I can see why it’s possible people have gone that low.

Fan rating: 5.2
Jack’s rating: 5.5


Jutkiewicz

I was wrong the fun begins with this one, but please don’t go for my throat on here. Juke is an absolute warrior, he’ll run through a brick wall for his side, get his head taped up and do it again. Time and time again he’s popped up with the odd vital goal in a game and he’s definitely enjoyed his most successful spell of his career at Blues, reaching 14 and 15 league goals the past two seasons. However, I’m a firm believer you can’t hold onto something forever and this season is starting to prove that a little. For me personally, he doesn’t look the same player we all know and love, whether that be down to a system that doesn’t suit him, starting to get on in age, or any other underlying issue that could be a factor, he just doesn’t look the same. Juke does thrive off playing in a front two and we’ve seen that first hand down the years. However, Blues are going down a different path with a different set of players and it does seem that Juke just doesn’t get the best out of himself in that role. I hope to see him improve over the second half of the season and score a few more goals which help push the team up the league, because he deserves it for the hard yards he’s done for the club over the years.

Fan rating: 4.9
Jack’s rating: 4.5


I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my thoughts and ratings on the players so far this season and I’d like to thank you all for providing your ratings for me to use as a comparison for this piece. Let’s all hope for a better second half of the season, where Blues kick on, generate a bit more consistency and have their division status settled by March, because I can’t be dealing with another last day drama and there’s only so many times you can escape the trap door. Maybe a few new additions will change that and a more settled and cohesive side will see Blues climb the table.

All the best and Keep Right On!

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