' This is what Birmingham City Face this Friday Night '

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' This is what Birmingham City Face this Friday Night '

Postby Forever Blue » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:17 am

Birmingham City v Cardiff City: This is what Blues must do to ground the Bluebirds


Birmingham Mail


Wednesday 11th October 2017

Birmingham City face the unenviable task of taking on Championship leaders Cardiff City, who will no doubt bring thousands of fans to St Andrew’s on Friday night.

The game will be the first since Steve Cotterill succeeded Harry Redknapp and the new manager will be desperate to kick start his tenure with a positive result and performance.

But it won’t be easy, the Bluebirds arrive having lost just once in the league all season and with a reputation as a well-organised and hard-working unit.

Here’s how Blues can disrupt that.



Match the energy


Blues looked so jaded at Hull last time out but will hopefully have a spring in their step after Cotterill’s appointment and will be better conditioned after last week’s mini-pre-season.

They will need to as well because matching Cardiff’s energy will be absolutely key.

Neil Warnock’s team defend as a single unit, press high up the pitch and harry and hassle their opponents into mistakes.

Blues will have to earn the right to play and they only way to do that is to run long and hard.




Battle for territory


Neither Cardiff nor Blues tend to dominate possession but revealingly Cardiff spend a higher proportion of the game in their attacking third than any other team in the division.

They are in the final third an impressive 34 per cent of the time - compared to Blues’ 27 per cent.

That will create something of a chess match in terms of tactics, do Blues allow Cardiff to come on in the hope of quick counters or do they try to push them back?





Influential without scoring

Kenneth Zohore is the focal point of everything Cardiff do.

The striker might only have three goals to his name this season but he’s been involved in the build up to most of their 17 strikes.

Often Cardiff will play into his feet and he’ll bring a team-mate into play. Either blocking the pipeline into the 23-year-old or stifling him will be so important to neutralising the dangerous attacking pair of Junior Hoilett and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.




Taking aim

Cardiff allow their opponents an average of just 9.9 shots per game - third fewest in league.

In terms of taking shots at goal Blues rank 17th in the division, it seems obvious they are going to have to be more effective on that front.

Sean Morrison and Sol Bamba are no-nonsense Championship defenders but perhaps key to threatening the visitors will be bypassing Aron Gunnarsson in midfield, who makes more interceptions than anyone else in the division.




Right balance

Blues can look quite dangerous when full backs Maxime Colin and Emilio Nsue are pressing forward but they also look exposed at the back and vulnerable to counters.

The balance between attack and defence will have to be struck because Cardiff will be both difficult to break down but also rapier-fast on the break. If Mendez-Laing gets behind whoever plays left-back it could be a long night for Birmingham.

That said shackling the Championship’s surprise package will make a massive dent in Cardiff’s goal threat.
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' This is what Birmingham City Face this Friday Night '

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Re: ' This is what Birmingham City Face this Friday Night '

Postby Danny Says » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:44 pm

"thousands"?

Is that expected?
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Re: ' This is what Birmingham City Face this Friday Night '

Postby oohahhPaulMillar » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:46 pm

That's not a bad summing up...interesting to see that they had a mini preseason over the last 2 weeks since Cotterall took over
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