Birmingham City are back in action again this weekend after the international break and will face a stern test in the form of West Brom.
The Blues have been in a poor run of form as of late, with the side not winning in any of their last five games. The Baggies meanwhile have been in fine fettle, storming towards the top of the Championship and putting in a series of impressive performances.
It will be a hard ask for Birmingham to come away with some points then in their next fixture but the second tier is a funny old league and is often surprising and unpredictable. It is very possible for Lee Bowyer’s side to pull off a good result against West Brom but, in order to do so, here are two things for them to weigh up.
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Who starts for Birmingham up front?
The Blues have toyed with several different faces across their frontline so far this season. They’ve been operating with two strikers and then a CAM behind them as part of a kind of 3-4-1-2 system and it’s led to a number of different partnerships.
Scoring goals has also become somewhat of an issue for the side. They haven’t scored a single goal in any of their last four games and it’s a worrying trend that needs sorting or they risk falling into the drop zone.
With a few options to choose from, who do they select then? There’s Scott Hogan, the current top scorer, Chuks Aneke, Troy Deeney and Lukas Jutkiewicz. With only two getting the nod, who should they be?
It would be a safe bet to go with Hogan again, considering he has bagged three so far. However, his finishing has dried up over the last few weeks and it means he could perhaps do with being benched and rotated.
Jutkiewicz has also not been able to emulate his previous goalscoring feats and despite Deeney being proven at this level, he has also failed to bag consistently.
At the weekend, West Brom will be up for it. To combat that, it might be best putting Jutkiewicz and Hogan up top again, so they can try and feed off each other – and it’s also a partnership that has worked earlier this year.
Should the Blues consider a change in formation to suit Tahith Chong?
Tahith Chong looks liked a shrewd addition from Manchester United on loan and while he initially looked very bright with the Blues, he has since tailed off.
That could be down to a change in position and role. The player has often – for both the Red Devils and Birmingham earlier this season – worked better as a winger rather than behind the strikers. In his current position, he has to sit behind the two of them and it’s led to a series of average showings.
If you go back to the Derby fixture though, when given the chance to shine in his more suited position, he was quick and exciting and the Derby defenders were unable to handle him. During that tie, he also created the most chances in the match.
If the Blues switch up their formation to try and get back to winning ways then, perhaps they should consider adopting a more attacking three at the front approach with Chong on the left. They could fight fire with fire against the Baggies and they may be unable to handle the winger – and it could work in their favour.