Birmingham City: It’s not time for a reset but it is time for a rethink
Lee Bowyer’s side have only managed to score one goal in their last four games
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Birmingham City made it four games without a win and just one point from their last four with the 2-0 defeat away at Queens Park Rangers.
A double from Ilias Chair was enough to hand the Blues their third defeat in four games but the blank fired from the visitors also means it is now over four hours of football since they last found the back of the net.
Arguably the most worrying thing from last night was the opposition. QPR went into the game in worse form than Birmingham. They’d lost their last four and were devoid of all confidence and that showed in the early stages.
Blues started brightly and were the better team but again failed to capitalise in front of goal and once Chair had gone down the other end and converted the first shot of any anger that the Hoops had - that devoid confidence soon shifted to Bowyer’s side.
Understandably frustrations have begun to rise in the fan base but it shouldn’t be panic stations just yet, just as it wasn’t full steam ahead to the Premier League last month.
A serious rethink is needed moving forward but it isn’t time for a complete reset, yet.
Attack v Defence
The Blues defence has gone from the best in the league through the first six games to - in fairness, like the one of old.
They have found themselves coming under a lot of criticism lately and for the most part that has been deserved, but, it’s the attack where the team have really been falling short.
Against QPR, Blues created more chances and had more shots but failed to hit the target once. They had a higher expected goals (xG) but found themselves on the end of a 2-0 loss. This isn’t an uncommon occurrence either, this has been a regular theme so far this year.
There have been defensive mishaps that have led to certain goals being conceded but you could argue the defence are being put under extra pressure. The team aren’t scoring many, if any, so the defence know they need to be keeping clean sheets if the team are to get anything from a game. That, mentally, can take it’s toll.
Would the mistakes have happened if the Blues had got their noses in front in any of these matches? Nobody can say that for definite but without a doubt the pressure would have been lifted on not just the defence, but everyone in the team.
Sticking with a similar theme and there have been plenty clambering for a formation change. Half to address the goals being conceded and half to help up the other end.
It might seem straightforward to some but if you take the points above, this isn’t an easy decision for Bowyer to make.
It’s the same formation that saw the team do so well early on and the same formation that saw the team put five past Luton so what has changed?
It’s a formation intended to attack and the statistics in the majority of games will back that up. It allows wing-backs to bound forward and at times can result in five “attackers” on the field.
With that said, there have been times where it feels like the attackers aren’t getting involved enough. It’s alright if multiple players on the field are getting involved but if it isn’t falling to those that are paid to put the ball in the back of the net, there lies your issue.
Tahith Chong, Jeremie Bela & Maxime Colin don’t exactly have goalscoring records that set the world alight - Troy Deeney on the other hand, certainly does.
If it takes a formation change to get him more involved, even if it results in others not being as far forward then so be it.
Deeney has certainly not as some have suggested, ‘lost it’. With the correct service and game-plan, he will score a hat-full of goals in the Championship and Scott Hogan and Lukas Jutkiewicz could both easily hit double figures. The fact the majority of chances aren’t falling to those names in question is the biggest concern.
A wise man once said: “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
This is a quote that resonates so well at times within the footballing world and can be highlighted in big letters right now surrounding the Blues.
Four games, one point and one goal scored. Whether it’s formation, personnel or other means, something needs to change in order to get results.
I’m not paid nearly enough to know the answer to what exactly needs to change but Lee Bowyer needs to find his solution.
As a manager he needs to be brave and realise that currently things are not working. Jordan Graham was signed in the summer and has barely kicked a ball. Chuks Aneke has still not started a game in the Championship this season, surely he’d be worth a shot?
Bowyer has found ways to win before. The team looked destined for League One before he took the reins at the end of last season and that was with a far worse squad than he has now.
He’s said himself that the team he has put together have a different mentality to the one that survived relegation in the last campaign so now it’s time for them to show it.
Back at home with the fans on side on Saturday is the perfect opportunity to right the wrongs of the last few weeks and that will be key. The fans on side. Blues fans are as good as any in the country when it comes to supporting their team and they’ll have to be right there again this weekend.
Lowly Nottingham Forest are the visitors and a response will be demanded if not expected.
It’s the final game before the international break and it would make everyone feel a hell of a lot better if they can take three points into it with them.
Something needs to change, so let’s see if it does.
If it doesn’t, we may end up going into the fortnight off with even more questions than we had beforehand.