Date: 3rd March 2017 at 5:58pm
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Garry Monk brings his side Leeds United to St Andrews in what promises to be a good game tonight. Birmingham City have looked better in recent weeks, and Gianfranco Zola will hope that this increased level of confidence after the win over local rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers will convert to points tonight. Leeds United sit pretty in the play-off places and so will be tough to beat but overall, they haven’t been the most consistent so maybe the Blue boys can get something from the game.

In terms of well known names, Leeds United are full of them. Chris Wood, an old Birmingham City favourite, has scored his fair share of goals for the team from Yorkshire and he will be looking to add to that tonight for sure. Kyle Bartley also an ex-blue man, is at the top of his game but for me, the player who is Leeds United’s man main is actually the defender Pontus Jansson.

The tall Swedish centre half really does dominate games. It is often unusual for me to say this about a defender because it is usually the eye-catching tricks from wingers or exceptional goals from forwards that get seen. But Pontus Jansson is the name that commentators repeat throughout because he is always so involved. Not only is his heading ability second to none in a defence setting, he also chips in with a few goals such as the 89th minute winner against Blackburn Rovers at the start of February. He does seem to just fling himself at the ball in attacking positions but it is really quite effective.

For such a tall, gangly player, he is also very fast. He just seems to be everywhere at all times. He flies into tackles and jumps for headers. He is a little bit like a headless chicken at times so we can look to exploit those gaps but in terms of sheer effort then Jansson would win that award every time; he gives 110%. So we do need to try and play the ball in behind him or drag him out into wide positions because he is a good blocker of the ball as well as being good with his head.

He isn’t the best at bringing the ball out from the back so we could look to exploit this weakness also. But if he is not pressured then he can just lay a ball to the fullback as any professional player could, so I would advocate a high press in order to try and panic him. To be fair, most defenders aren’t the best with the ball at their feet so I would like to see that in all games but I know some managers really are against that.

With Monk sidelined due to an altercation with Huddersfield manager David Wagner in the derby, Leeds may not be at the races and we need to start off fast in order to make an impact.

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