BBC WM, as any local football fan can attest, often makes for interesting post-game listening.
Last evening, in the wake of a sixth consecutive win for Wolves, the phone-in was largely dominated by the topic of Birmingham’s second half performance.
In the eyes of the commentary team, though admittedly few of their fans, they had given the league leaders one of their sternest challenges this season.
Couple this with Steve Cotterill’s rather laughable assertion that we were ‘average’ and that ‘without goal line technology, they might have got away with it’ and the picture of a rather chastening night at the office becomes clear.
And yet, the home side didn’t muster a shot on target all evening.
Which begs the question, if this is to be considered one of the more challenging victories of the season so far, then is anyone really capable of landing a punch on this team?
Labels such as ‘the Manchester City of the Championship’ often prove to be more of an albatross around the neck than lasting compliment, but in this case it’s beginning to look fitting.
Like City, Nuno’s ensemble have begun to demonstrate an aptitude for winning in all manner of ways, whether it be in the vein of recent shellacking of Bolton or this more arduous of successes.
This has been irrespective of how the opposition have performed, with few teams actually standing out as being poor thus far.
Despite their inability to pepper John Ruddy’s goal, the Blues were in the ascendancy for much of the second half.
Nonetheless, I never really feared that we’d let the points slip away from us. Tell me, is that overconfidence or acceptance of the reality that we’re simply too good for the majority of teams in this league?
Much has rightly been made this season of our passing ability but what’s equally impressive to me is the ferocious appetite the players show when closing down their challengers, a skill flaunted on numerous occasions last evening.
With Ruben Neves’ enforced absence a glaring feature of our inability to penetrate a resolute (if appallingly over-competitive) home guard, the need to suffocate Blues’ play was more pressing than it likely would have been had our Portuguese maestro not been missing.
And press they did, with potential threats such as Jota and Lukas Jutkiewicz squeezed out of the game almost entirely.
Willy Boly was integral in this respect, turning in a performance as good as any I’ve seen from a Wolves defender past or present.
Though our success to date has been resultant of the efforts of all our players, it’s clear to see who the key individuals are within this current outfit and the gargantuan Frenchman, along with the rejuvenated Connor Coady, is certainly the key cog in our resilient defence.
Also standing out was the unrelenting work rate of our wing backs, a feature of our play that I feel is slightly under appreciated at present.
I shudder to think what training actually entails for Barry Douglas and Matt Doherty, but they’re both fit as fiddles and two of the stand-out performers at present.
It was a more fitful evening for our lauded front three, but some of the play conjured was a marvel to behold with Diogo Jota once again earning the acclaim of pundits in spite of his challengers’ cynical attempts to halt him in his tracks. Whether he stays beyond this season remains a topic for discussion, but it’s been a privilege to watch him play in old gold regardless.
Ultimately, despite Cotterill’s Scooby Doo villain-esque remarks to the contrary, it was another win for Nuno’s promotion chasing juggernaut and, with our perceived counterparts in sky blue chasing a 14th successive win in the Premier League, it’s left to us delirious supporters to ponder when this remarkable run will end.
With basement boys Sunderland in town next, you wouldn’t bet on it being any time soon.