The Chalkboard: Maikel Kieftenbeld let the occasion get the better of him vs Villa

Birmingham City’s clash with Aston Villa on Sunday was overshadowed by an incident involving a fan, but one Blues player also showed a real lack of maturity and let the occasion get the better of him.

On the chalkboard

With eight bookings to his name this season prior to kick-off and coming back into the starting XI having been rested for the defeat against Hull City at the KCOM Stadium previously, Maikel Kieftenbeld needed to not let the derby atmosphere affect him early on at St Andrew’s on Sunday.

I wrote last week that the 28-year-old should produce a fair tackle on Villans captain Jack Grealish in the opening exchanges just to let him know he was there, but that advice was only 50% heeded.

Instead, the Dutchman flew into the 23-year-old and picked up his ninth yellow card of the campaign with less than five minutes on the clock.

Costly yellow

The midfielder then knew that he had to be careful for the remaining 85 or so minutes in order to remain on the pitch, and that of course naturally took some of the bite and aggression out of his game as a result.

Kieftenbeld has become such a key player in the centre of the park for City over the course of the past couple of seasons, but he restricted himself following a daft decision.

It was of course Grealish who popped up the winning goal while John McGinn and Conor Hourihane also had efforts as Villa upped the ante, with the 28-year-old unable to get as close to those players as he would have liked.

Next time the former Netherlands U21 international needs to play the occasion rather than letting it play him, as his yellow was one of the contributing factors in why Birmingham ultimately slipped up.

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