Whilst some of the talk coming out of the game this weekend was about the change in goal, there was one thing from the previous game that didn’t change.
Having gone most of the season with a 4-4-2 formation, Pep Clotet decided to stick with the 4-2-3-1 formation that he utilised against Fulham before the international break, with Jacques Maghoma and Jeremie Bela taking the places of Fran Villalba and Kerim Mrabti respectively.
Clotet said during pre-season that he wanted his teams to be flexible, but he hasn’t really shown it that much this season given how he stuck with the 4-4-2 for so long during the early stages of the campaign. Now though it looks as if those plans are starting to come to fruition.
I personally believe that this is the best formation for the Blues going forward, as it gives the opportunity for more people for help out Lukas Jutkiewicz up top. With the two wingers being pushed further up the field, it allows more bodies to be in and around the penalty area when Jutkiewicz wins the knockdown headers.
And although Birmingham have only managed to get one point out of the last two games with the formation, I think there is plenty of potential for it to be effective in the future, all they need is time to get used to it, and more importantly trying to find the right people to fill those positions.
As Brian Dick noted in his assessment of the game regarding Jeremie Bela, although the same point can be made for a number of players:
“Billed either as a flying wing or a goal-scoring forward there wasn’t much opportunity for the 26-year-old to show his abilities in either capacity, as the change to a 4-2-3-1 in many ways pressed the reboot button and the team had to start to learn a new set-up. The player, like the system had something of a ‘work in progress’ appearance.”
How many goals will Bela score this season?
1 - 5
5 - 10
Once those adjustments have all been made and players are comfortable in their roles, things will get better for the Blues, but just as I’ve been saying all season, a little bit of patience is what we need. Then the results will come through.