This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Comment’ series, this content strand is where the author of the article issues their personal opinion on the topic at hand…
Neil Warnock’s Cardiff City have had a mixed start to their return to the Championship, with the South Wales club having picked up two wins, two draws and two defeats in their first six games of the season, yielding a points return of just eight points from a possible 18 available.
Their current plight can be mainly put down to the form of their strikers so far this term, with Isaac Vassell, Gary Madine, Omar Bogle and Robert Glatzel only having scored two goals between the four of them,, something that Warnock will be looking to address as soon as possible.
With the loss of Kenneth Zohore to West Brom for a fee of £8.01 million, Warnock has dipped into the transfer market to fill this void with the addition of striker Robert Glatzel from Bundesliga Two side FC Heidenheim for a fee of £5.40 million, making the German Cardiff’s marquee summer signing.
However, the move has so far failed to pay off for both the 28-year-old player and Cardiff, with the striker yet to have found the back of the net for the Bluebirds in his first five Championship games.
This lack of form could attribute to the lack of possession that Cardiff have had this season, with the side as a whole recording an average of just 42.2%, putting them at the lower spectrum of the Championship’s possession table.
That will have negatively affected a player of Glatzel’s quality, with the German often cutting an isolated figure when playing up front, mostly as a lone front man, for the Bluebirds this season.
Furthermore, people may point to the fact that Glatzel’s personal performances haven’t been up to scratch, with the striker averaging just 2.8 shots per game, whilst also being disposed on 1.8 occasions and losing control of the ball at least 2.8 times per game.
These are bad traits that have been negatively impacting the team as a whole, with Glatzel’s main role in Warnock’s side being to hold the ball up and bring others into play, something which just can’t be done if he loses the ball so often.
One solution to this problem could be the option of starting with two strikers up top, with fellow forward Isaac Vassell providing a good potential partner for Glatzel. The front man has the quality to compliment Glatzel’s strength with Vassell possessing great pace to get in behind the opposition’s defence from Glatzel’s flick-ons.
In addition to messrs Glatzel and Vassell, Cardiff possess two experienced forwards in Gary Madine and Omar Bogle. However, both players have so far failed to hit any kind of consistent form this season. Madine has so far failed to score in any of his two appearances, where as Bogle has mustered just one goal in four outings for the Bluebirds.
As with Glatzel, both Bogle and Madine are in the mould of your standard ‘target man’ with both players strong in aerial duels for the ball.
These strengths are all well and good, but, they are two of four players that are competing for one spot in Warnock’s starting formation of 4-2-3-1.
The change that needs to be made by the Bluebirds’ boss is clear, two strikers should be starting up top in order to create more chances, with all four of the forwards within the squad possessing the qualities needed to benefit from Warnock’s style of play that largely focuses on long balls and attacking through the middle of the pitch.
To summarise, a switch to a flat 4-4-2 formation would help to going some way towards solving the club’s goal scoring issues, particularly with the opportunity to attack as a 4-2-4 when in possession of the ball. The combination of two of the four strikers plus wingers, Jacob Murphy and Gavin Whyte, will help to create more scoring opportunities in both standard and counter attacks.