Birmingham City have endured a stuttering start to the Sky Bet Championship season, with Pep Clotet’s embarking on a disappointing run of results of late.
Blues endured a difficult summer with the club getting rid of Garry Monk after a turbulent end to last season, culminating in a 17th placed finish following a nine-point deduction.
Nevertheless, Monk’s assistant, Pep Clotet, took charge of the West Midlands outfit, and got off to the perfect start with an opening day win over Brentford.
But since picking up a victory at Griffin Park in their first game of the season, Blues have picked up just three wins from their next nine league matches, and sit 14th in the league standings after three defeats on the spin.
It was always going to be difficult for City to respond after losing the likes of Jota and Che Adams in the summer, but one player that they did manage to keep hold of was Lukas Jutkiewicz.
The towering centre-forward played an integral part in helping Blues climb to within touching distance of the play-off spots before their points deduction last season, but he’s failed to reach similar heights this term.
He squandered a perfect opportunity to give Birmingham a 3-2 lead against Derby at Pride Park last weekend, and Jamie Paterson ultimately made him pay with a late winning strike for the Rams.
That summed up what has been a frustrating start to the season for Jutkiewicz, and here, we take a look at his season so far to see if he’s on course to match last season’s efforts…
Jutkiewicz was excellent for Blues last season, and whilst Che Adams grabbed the headlines and earned a big-money move to Southampton after netting 22 goals, the former still deserves a huge amount of credit.
Last season, in 4,289 minutes of football and across 46 Championship appearances, Jutkeiwicz scored 14 goals for Blues, as well as producing nine assists due to his knock-downs for Adams and other flair players.
Clearly, Jutkiewicz used his aerial threat and physical prowess to full effect, winning 1,138 aerial duels last season. But he’s failed to find the net regularly this season, scoring three goals in 10 appearances whilst also failing to register an assist.
Clotet has deployed many different formations this season which have seen Jutkiewicz play up top, but be used in many different ways.
Recently, they have used a 4-4-2 system which Monk utilised throughout the whole of last season, but Blues have also used a 5-3-2 system, as well as a 4-4-1-1.
But of late, another physical striker in Alvaro Gimenez has played alongside Jutkiewicz, perhaps explaining why he hasn’t been at his best when it comes to link-up play as opposed to when he played alongside Adams.
So far this season, Jutkiewicz has won 171 aerial duels, an average of 17 per game compared to last season’s mean of nearly 24 a game.
He also managed to put 116 shots on target last season, whilst managing just 23 shots on target this term, which is fairly similar to what he had amassed by the end of last season.
The goals will come for Jutkiewicz, as he offers Blues a different dimension up top, but whilst he was a standout performer under Garry Monk last term, he has failed to get going under Clotet this time around.
Where will Birmingham finish this season?