Date: 11th January 2017 at 4:11pm
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Following the announcement that Birmingham City have signed West Bromwich Albion midfielder Craig Gardner on loan for the rest of the season, I thought it would be a good idea to analyse where he actually fits in at the club.

As I mentioned in the last week or so, Blues currently have five first team midfielders at their disposal, six now former League Cup winner Gardner has been brought in, but what does Gianfranco Zola intent to do with him is the main question I`d like answers to.

Although I can`t really answer them myself, I believe I may be able to work some aspects of the deal out.

Zola has clearly brought Gardner in to add that little bit more threat in front of goal from the midfield trio that he likes to deploy.

Last week in the draw against Newcastle United, Blues` midfielders David Davis, Maikel Kieftenbeld and Stephen Gleeson were fantastic so Gardner may actually have to bide his time.

However, the reason why Zola has brought the 30-year-old into the club is so that he can make an instant impact. Whether he will do that straight away or not is beyond anyone`s thinking really because players can have different impacts at different times.

The move is a smart one because Gardner does improve the attacking threat in front of goal from the midfield because we all know he is quite fond of a banger in front of the Tilton but I also believe there is more to the move than that.

It is well documented by many in the footballing world that Baggies boss Tony Pulis is a master of setting his team up for defensively solidity and with Gardner potentially having learnt a few things off Pulis in the last few years, Zola will be hoping he can add to what he is looking for in midfield.

Albeit, Gardner probably won`t sit in front of the back four like Gleeson did against the Magpies last weekend but he will be able to rotate in the trio that is usually in the middle of the park and that is what we really need.

Personally, I couldn`t turn round and say I know who Zola is going to pick as his strongest three midfielders because we don`t know what happens at the training ground.

However I, like most others, would have a pretty strong idea of how Blues could potentially line up.

With Gardner now at his disposal, I believe that Zola will mainly choose between him, Davis and Gleeson, although Kieftenbeld would be my preferred choice.

Blues fans, out of the six midfielders that Gianfranco Zola can now choose from, who do you think he will opt for against Nottingham Forest this weekend? Let us know in the comment section down below!

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8 Replies to “Craig Gardner is the all-rounder Blues and Zola needed”

  • Gardner isn’t an all rounder, Sure he can dig in and break down the opposition and put his body on the line if needed but he is a central midfielder who will battle for the ball and help get things moving. He isn’t an attacking midfielder but will support attacks,, and if he gets sight of goal he will have a pop at it, mostly from outside the box. Pretty good with a dead ball too.
    I cant see him starting on Saturday but he will get his moment off the bench. Too soon to be getting to know the other players and the system IMO. He adds some flexibility to how we can play but I see him being very central with one each side or just a two and a holding midfielder. Take your pick on who else plays but I think it will depend on the opposition and if we get a new holding midfielder to play in the hole.

  • No. He isnt a number 10, a 7 or an 11. These are midfield positions described as attacking midfielders. He isn’t an attacking midfielder so isn’t an all rounder. Too slow for a start.

  • Gazal- you’re being very picky as to what an all-rounder actually is. Here we are clearly talking about an all-rounder in a central midfield position. Not out wide or being the striker which is what number 7, 10 and 11 are. Anyway, Gardner is an excellent signing and, as Tom said, the all-rounder that Blues need.

  • No he doesnt play the position behind the striker, although he will most likely to be found somewhere behind the strikers looking after the space he does his work in. If he gets licence to go forward he will, just as any midfielder does but you wont see him running at defenders. He is a central midfielder winning tackles and moving the ball on whilst supporting the team as they go forward to attack and go back to defend. Much the same as our current midfielder but perhaps a little better. What is Davis? he plays as a central midfielder and covers a lot of ground. Is all rounder the new term for a player who plays left right and center or wherever he needs to be in central midfield? because if this is the case then all central midfielders are all rounders and the comment was a waste of time.

  • Gazal – you say he’s not an all rounder but you acknowledge that be can defend, pass and support attacks. How much more rounded can he get?

  • I have the agree with Gazal. Would you play him as a forward? No. Does he beat players with pace? No. Can you play him as a wide player? No. He tackles, can pass a good ball and has a shot him. Blues have to play to his strengths to get the best out of him.

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