The festive period sees the games come thick and fast with hardly any time to prepare. On Sunday, one of the EFL Championship leaders Leeds United travelled to St Andrew’s Stadium to face Pep Clotet’s Birmingham City. Both teams came into this game on a back of one-all draws on Boxing Day. This game was a perfect opportunity for both sides to get back into winning ways after picking up poor results in the last three games.
In this tactical analysis, we will take a closer look at both teams’ tactics that lead to such a thrilling encounter.
Birmingham made three changes following a one-all draw away to Blackburn on Boxing Day. The backline including the goalkeeper remained the same. Connal Trueman (goalkeeper), Maxime Colin (right-back), Harlee Dean (centre-back), Wes Harding (centre-back) and Kristian Pedersen (left-back) kept their place in the starting XI. However, there were three changes regarding the midfield unit. Only Gary Gardner kept his place while Ivan Šunjić, Dan Crowley and Jude Bellingham came into the side after being absent for the Blackburn game. The striker partnership remained the same with Kerim Mrabti playing just behind the lone striker Lukas Jutkiewicz.
Their opponents, Leeds United, made only a single change for this game. The striker Patrick Bamford made his way out for Arsenal loanee Edward Nketiah. Kiko Casilla remained between the sticks with Luke Ayling, Ben White and Liam Cooper forming the back three. Hélder Costa started the game on the right wing with Jack Harrison occupying the left. In the middle of the park, Kalvin Philips was the one to provide defensive cover for the back line with Stuart Dallas and Mateusz Klich playing slightly further ahead of him.
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