This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
There’s only so much one man can do.
Having gone through a rather baron spell in front of goal that hadn’t seen him find the back of the net since the end of August, Lukas Jutkiewicz finally ended that drought by scoring the winner against Luton on Saturday.
Speaking after the game, Blues boss Pep Clotet spoke about just how effective someone like Jutkiewicz can be in this division:
“For us he is very important because he is a dominant striker in the Championship, this means the opposition has to put double effort on him, this means he always keeps one-and-a-half, or two centre-backs occupied. That frees up the second striker.
“Importantly for me, tactically he manages to give us that space our players need in front of him.”
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The only problem with what Clotet is saying there, is that Jutkiewicz isn’t getting any major help from his current strike partner.
Although his physical presence is taking away some of the efforts of the defenders, nobody is there to pick up the pieces. Alvaro Gimenez for instance has only found the back of the net once this season in 12 appearances.
Birmingham at the moment are working out of a 4-4-2 formation, with Gimenez acting as his main partner.
However, the best way to utilise Jutkiewicz would be to have a third person playing off of him to give the defenders something else to think of, but more importantly another option for him to give the ball to.
If they adopted more of a 4-3-2-1 formation, with Jude Bellingham pushing further up the field in support, Jutkiewicz can use his aerial prowess to win balls in the air for the pacier Bellingham to run off and behind the defence.
As he showed with his goal against Charlton, he certainly knows how to time his runs and create space for himself.
The more options for Jutkiewicz to play with, the better that Birmingham are going to be because they’re going to get more chances.
This isn’t so much about making Jutkiewicz a better player, it’s about what makes him great and turning that into a strength for the team.
That’s the little spark that Birmingham are missing at the moment.