Inspired by the excellent article posted by World Class, I thought I'd have ago at this. Apologies if I mess up.
Tonight sees Birmingham City travel to Merseyside to take on an Everton team looking for a third win on the trot. With injuries to several key players, including Barry Ferguson, Craig Gardner and Alexander Hleb, the Blues go into this match with a threadbare midfield, but Alex McLeish is still likely to play 5 across the middle in a 4-5-1 formation.
Barry Ferguson. Out for the Everton game with a broken rib?
So the puzzle for McLeish is just who to play in midfield. He has only five regulars to choose from, with younger fringe players, Nathan Redmond and Jordon Mutch, bith waiting in the wings.
Of the five regulars, we can expect McLeish to play both Fahey and Bowyer but the other three, Larrson, Bentley and Beausejour, normally ply their trade out wide. SUrely AM cannot choose all 3 to start?
Unless that is, Seb Larrson is given a central midfield role. He could do this- he's a good ball winner and can, generally distribute the ball well. His work rate is excellent, and if chosen in this role, he will need to play in a similar capacity to Lee Bowyer as a box-to-box player.
Another key decision is who will play up front for Birmingham. Cameron Jerome has been given the role of lone striker often this season, and despite his excellent work rate, the sad fact of the matter is that he simply doesn't score goals. Again, Obefemi Martins, although a skillful forward, doesn't really seem to be the ideal candidate for this role. Birmingham, therefore, will be praying that Nikola Zigic will pass a late fitness test and feed off crosses from both Bentley and Beasejour, with Larrson and Bowyer hoping to pick up on any knock downs from the big man.
Nikola Zigic could, if fit, be the key man for BIrmngham tonight.
This is, I believe, the third time this season that Birmingham have gone into a match while in the relegation zone - on both other occasions,they got clear immediately, but tonight could be a tougher challenge.
Of course, it all depends which Everton show up on the night - the one that beat Newcastle,or the one that lost to Reading. If Birmingham can win, it will see them rise to 13th in the table. Defeat would leave them in the bottom three with one game in hand on their rivals - away to Chelsea!
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