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Analysis: a look into Birmingham City

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On Saturday afternoon Sheffield United will host Birmingham City, attempting to pick up from where they left off before the international break where they endured a run of four straight wins.

The Blades come into this round of fixtures in 1st, with a 3pt gap to 2nd. Birmingham City on the other hand are down in 17th, but they are in decent form coming into this game.

John Eustace’s side have been lining up in a 3-5-2 formation. This is how I think Birmingham will line up on Saturday afternoon:

When it comes to Birmingham City’s style of play, Eustace’s side likes to play long, they play the 3rd most amount of long balls per game across the league. They do attempt a large amount of crosses per game, registering nearly 30 crosses per game. 

Eustace’s men love to get stuck in, they are 8th for total tackles attempted and 10th when it comes to total aerial duels. They commit 11.8 fouls per game, which is the 3rd most in the Championship. 

Former Blade, Scott Hogan, has been in good form this season, scoring 5 goals already this season. We know what to expect from the Irishman, he’ll attempt to use his pace to get down the sides of our backline. 

He will get plenty of chances to do that too, as you can see above, as soon as our right centre-back and our left centre-back step up the pitch, Hogan will be lurking and looking to run into the channel that they just vacated. So if Birmingham does manage to win the ball back, there will be opportunities to spring a counterattack with Hogan and the likes of Chong and Bacuna to get involved too.

Bacuna has had an impressive start to the season, registering 3 assists and making 1.7 key passes per game. He has also been an active shooter, attempting over 2 shots per game. 

The Blues are 17th in the Championship, and according to the infogol model, they should be even lower than that, in approximately 23rd. They have created one of the lowest expected goals in the league, and they’ve conceded the 2nd highest xGA this season. 

I expect it to be a tough game in terms of physicality due to Birmingham’s aggressive style of play, but I think United’s quality will shine through, and I expect the Blades to win the game by a few goals. 

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