Birmingham’s young guns hold the key to unlocking Leeds’s defence

This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more… 

Odin Bailey.

Having burst onto the scene somewhat with his goal against Middlesbrough, we need to start talking about whether or not he has a future in the side long term, or if he was just a flash in the pan.

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On the chalkboard

If you take a look at the profile that Birmingham Live did on him in the aftermath of that Middlesbrough game, they note that:

“Bailey is renowned as one of the most technically able starlets at Blues’ training ground. He’s predominantly left-footed and would be identified as a No.10 in the modern game. The youngster enjoys playing between the lines and often drifts inside when he’s deployed on either flank.”

Whilst we have discussed on this site before about the decision to use young players, and that they shouldn’t necessarily be played just for the sake of being thrown in to ‘please the crowd’, Bailey might actually fit into the category of a player that Birmingham City could do with particularly against Leeds United.

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Given Gaetano Berardi’s red card record and general clumsiness as he demonstrated against Millwall before the international break, if you run at him and force him into an error, then you could conceivably get him sent off once again.

That’s where Bailey’s play can really help. If you play him either as the number ten or as a winger and get him to cut inside, he could have a devastating impact against the Swiss centre-back if he plays.

On that note of pace, you can also play the other young flavour of the month Jude Bellingham alongside him.

Should Odin Bailey start?

Yes

Yes

No

No

If Leeds carry on their habit of wasting chances this season, placing the young pair behind Lukas Jutkiewicz and have them tiring the Leeds defence throughout the game, you can switch them out for two fresh attackers in Fran Villalba and Alvaro Gimenez to finish the job later on.

So whilst he might not get the ball in the back of the net, he might just be able to set the stage for a Blues victory, countering on the lack of Liam Cooper in Marcelo Bielsa’s ranks.