Birmingham City suffered a 3-0 defeat to Peterborough as Blues’ unbeaten record away from home ended in emphatic style.
Gary Gardner was sent off in the second half for a tackle he made on Posh captain Nathan Thompson to add more misery for Bowyer on a disappointing afternoon.
Here’s what stood out.
Wing-backs nullified and targeted
Peterborough’s rigid 4-4-2 shape off the ball meant Blues struggled to find any joy down the flanks as both Posh wingers Siriki Dembele and Joe Ward remained defensively disciplined throughout.
After the hosts forced an early advantage, both wingers formed solid partnerships with their full-backs, Nathan Thompson and Dan Butler, who were hard to pass with their team-mates always offering support.
With neither Deeney or Jutkiewicz willing to offer a run into wide areas and peel off into vacant space down the wings, both wing-backs Jeremie Bela and Maxime Colin struggled to make an impact going forward. This meant service to Birmingham’s big forwards was limited.
Going the other way, Colin was caught out for Peterborough’s first goal, as Dembele proved a tricky customer not only in the opening stages but throughout. The winger was clever and intelligent with his movement off the ball, which especially caused problems for Colin.
Bela, who we know isn’t a natural defender, dealt well with Peterborough’s right winger Joe Ward for the most part. But with his performance and contribution to Bowyer’s team heavily reliant on the attacking aspect of his role, Bela was nullified and later replaced for the second half as Blues changed their shape.
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More to come from Deeney and Jutkiewicz partnership
Blues fans were treated to the long-awaited signing of Deeney as the summer transfer drew to an eventual close last month. While supporters and indeed defenders know all about the striker’s threat and robust style, nobody could have predicted how Deeney would partner either Scott Hogan or Lukas Jutkiewicz in Bowyer’s side.
At Peterborough, Deeney and Jutkiewicz gave centre-backs Ronnie Edwards and Frankie Kent a hard time, not that the Posh pair wouldn’t have expected a scrap.
The two didn’t only give Peterborough something to think about throughout the game, but they also allowed Blues to play an effective out ball which, more often than not would be collected in the final third by Deeney or Jutkiewicz with their head, chest, knee… you name it.
On an afternoon where it all seemed to go wrong for Blues, the forward partnership was hard to assess, but certainly promising nonetheless.
Chuks Aneke replaced Jutkiewicz in the second half and lined up alongside Chong slightly deeper behind Deeney and Blues looked more likely to score with two players around Deeney instead of a single striker besides him.
The best chance Blues created fell to Aneke, but the forward couldn’t convert an opening that you would’ve thought Deeney or even Jutkiewicz would have.
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Consistency will be key for Bowyer
Under Bowyer, Birmingham are yet to discover the sort of defensive solidity that will propel the Blues up the league table in a hurry, but there’s signs that with a little time, Birmingham could be a team to be feared in this division.
They won’t be free scoring every week, but they can be a team that every side in the Championship does not want to play against.
With the likes of Deeney, Jutkiewicz, Aneke and Hogan all available to Bowyer, the Blues boss can mix and match strike partnerships and keep a consistent theme running at the top of the pitch.
Powerful, aerially dominant forwards and livewire attackers could form the lethal combination that Blues will require to threaten every defence in the division.
Back to the defence and there’s still work to be done. Blues were undone by a simple move inside the first minute of the game and struggled to contain Peterborough’s forwards to which Bowyer blamed on fatigue, having just lost 4-1 to Fulham on Wednesday night.
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Away days are well and truly back
Away day Blues. Bowyer’s side were unbeaten on the road before travelling to Peterborough on Saturday afternoon, but they were second best in every department on Saturday afternoon.
After the 5-0 demolition of Luton Town, most teams in the Championship would have taken note of how Birmingham can take teams apart, but equally, hold on to a valuable away goal, like they did against Sheffield United on the opening day of the season – a team that have real Championship quality across the pitch.
Though, after getting an early goal, Posh didn’t rest on their laurels. Instead, they smelt blood and took the game to Blues.
4,000 or so Birmingham fans packed into the Weston Homes Stadium for the visit and their vocal backing was certainly heard by a set of Blues players who had to do more to repay what would have been a 12th man behind the goal that Bowyers side kicked towards in the second half.
At least Blues will look the part away from home this season in that bright yellow jersey.