Often Partisan

Changing Formations

Birmingham City face Swansea City on Wednesday night buoyed by a comprehensive victory over Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend. However, the south Wales outfit are a considerable step up in class from the Owls and offer a completely different challenge to Lee Clark and his managerial abilities.

I think this fixture is a tough one for Clark. I believe that winning is a habit to get into and thus it doesn’t make sense to play a weakened team when there is a chance of building confidence and morale; however the cup could easily be seen as an unwelcome distraction to a league campaign which could still be a survival mission.

Whilst it would be nice to play an unchanged eleven it definitely won’t happen; Kyle Bartley cannot play against his parent club in the competition and there is a possibility that Jesse Lingard will not be allowed to play in the cup either. With one mainstay player definitely out Clark will have to work out if he is going to reshuffle his formation to play with just two centre-backs or if he’s going to stick with tactical consistency and bring someone else to play in the heart of the defence.

The easy solution would be to go four at the back, bringing Murphy in at left back and replacing the missing Bartley with a player such as Paul Caddis in the right back slot. The only issue then would be then if Lingard played would he play wide left or up front and if he played up front who would play wide left and vice versa. There are easily some options for a 4-4-2 or a 4-5-1 and it wouldn’t require a giant leap of faith to think Clark would go down this route.

However, I will admit I liked the 3-4-3 formation a lot; I thought it suited our personnel and I think some tactical consistency wouldn’t go amiss. Blues played the formation against QPR (who have some real quality in their team) and were unlucky to lose so there is no reason to think that they couldn’t use it against Swansea. That would mean bringing a replacement centre-back into the team and I reckon it could be an opportunity to give Will Packwood a first start since breaking his leg back in January.

As much as I don’t like playing weakened teams in cup competitions I can see a reason for playing a few fringe players in this game; Blues need to ensure their whole squad is up to speed and the cup could easily be seen as a distraction to a league campaign which could be all about survival. Thus I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ferguson play instead of Murphy and Caddis instead of Spector in a 3-4-3; maybe there is a case for Reece Brown to get a full debut in the middle of the park too.

I think that whatever Clark does he’s going to get criticism from some quarters but I do believe that something is starting to go right at Blues. Whilst they were slow to get started on Saturday I don’t think anyone could fault the commitment of the team and it struck me that players were still chasing down opportunities to score further even late in the game – Ferguson immediately springs to mind when he seized on a poor backpass and should have made it but shanked his shot wide. If Blues can maintain that level of commitment then formations etc won’t matter as much and maybe Blues can build on what was a faith-restoring victory.

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59 Responses to “Changing Formations”

  • BigmanSteve0 says:

    Anyone got mikkel forsell’s mobile number ? Kro

  • TonyE says:

    After 12 months out, I wonder it 2 games in 4 days might be too big an ask for Murphy, who was excellent on his return. How much better would we have been last season if we’d had both him and Carr available all season? I’d be wary of risking Packwood, who I rate highly, so soon after his terrible injury, but not sure who else we could call on in that position. Wonder if he’ll risk Robinsons aging legs, might be better to save him for Reading on Saturday.

    • zxcv says:

      If I were LC I think I would pass this game up, sod the cup why risk injury/bookings sending offs and fatigue. Different story if we were flying with a massive squad to choose from, but for me I wouldn`t play any of my first team at all.

  • Marky mark says:

    Play the kids and the reserves plus Zigic, this game is of absolutely no importance whatsoever.
    We are not going to win this competition so get out of it ASAP.

    No way should Murphy play again so quick after a lengthy injury asking for trouble. There will be fingers pointed at LC whatever the result Swansea are on another planet compared to us.

  • skareggae72 says:

    Morning all.

    It feels a lot better to come on here after a decent result(all too rare these days),
    but i certainly don’t see this as a second rate fixture & it is winnable if we give it 100% & Swansea (a very good side) could leave out some key players.

    It is likely Swans will dominate possession,but what we need is some more clinical finishing like that witnessed on Saturday,and it will certainly turn around our fortunes.

  • pierre says:

    i agree play the same formation with different players,surely the more times they play 3 4 3 the more they will get use to it,no more chopping and changing.

  • Bob Your Uncle says:

    Same formation, rest Murphy, Elliot, Robbo and Randolph. Maybe bring Zig or Asante back in. This formation works so we should try and get used to it. Would like to see Reece Brown make his full debut and would be great to get Packwood back in the team if he’s ready.

  • dave mann says:

    nothing to loose wednesday whatsoever, swansea are streets ahead of us, there performance
    against valencia was far superior to our result against a terrible sheff. w. team, looking forward
    to it though because they will come and play and we will be boyed by our one man demolition
    in lingard but i dont know if he will play wednesday, is he cup tied?KRO.

  • Tony Downing says:

    Winning & Losing become habits lets treat the Competition ,the fans & Club with respect that means playing the strongest Team possible against Swansea ,these are the games players want to play in ,the fans want to watch,in football you never know after all someone once said; it its a funny old game there could just maybe be a shock here the revenue of going into the next round helps too

  • river says:

    have to agree with playing same formation with different personel we have to keep the whole squad match fit,perfect opportunity against the swans and a big welcome to blues for jeese “the gun” lingarde i can here david moyes purring already just hope we can get him for the season KRO

  • Bluenose Jimmy says:

    Fantastic result on Sat and a great performance from all the players an coaching staff (including Clark who I am not the biggest fan of).

    As others have said Clark would be mad to change the formation AGAIN. The two games we have played the best in (QPR & Sheff Wed) we played 343. That given I’d stick with that formation and give some players who have hardly played & deserve a chance the start. So i would go with; Doyle, Packwood, Burn & Robbo, Caddis, Mullins, Brown & Hancox, Ferguson, Zigic & Asante. All those players should b reasonable fit (Robbo is the only doubtful 1 but I can’t think of any other cb) & they all deserve a chance 2 prove their worth.

    If we do get knocked out or any of these players take a wack we can say at least we had a go & we could live without these players 4 a couple of weeks. If Clark plays the same players as Sat an we loose any of them we will b nakered 4 the league which is far more important. KRO!

  • dave mann says:

    i agree tony winnings a habit and a good cup run brings in funds so i hope we play the
    strongest team available because werre need them against the swans no matter what
    team they pick but i dont thnk it would be as big a shock as other games if we win but
    on top of saturday it would top a great week and maybe, just maybe our look will have
    changed…….lets hope so! KRO.

  • Lee says:

    Amazing how the introduction of 1 player can alter a situation in such a huge way, I personally couldn’t care less for the cup so play a weaker side and don’t risk any injuries

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Other than our usual back 3, the other players that have been used there are Mullins and Spector.. so maybe one of those two will be deployed.

    If Spector is used in defence again, it might be a good opportunity to put Reece Brown in. Let him have a start against a footballing team, instead of the more physical Championship. Not sure anything has been decided about Lingard yet. He said he’d like to play against Swansea, so we’ll have to wait and see whether Utd say yay or nay.

    Personally, I’d only change personnel if I had to. Let’s keep as much continuity as possible.

  • Karsten says:

    Do you think that “something is starting to go right at Blues” could have anything to do with fact that we’ve borrowed a Man U striker? Or is this just a strange coincidence.

    I wonder what Moyes was thinking yesterday

    • StaffsBlue says:

      We’re not the only football league club to have borrowed a Utd striker this season. I was a bit surprised to see Federico Macheda plying his trade at Doncaster.

  • Swedish Bluenose says:

    What has happened to Callum Reilly, he was great last season, now he seems to be out of the picture? And Scott Allan has disappeared as well …

  • dave mann says:

    its true lee that us loyal supportere dont really care about the cups untill the rounds tick by
    and the closer to wembley we get the more interest we show and thats fair enough, like
    2010/ 11, but all those armchair fans will be preying for wembley so they might be able
    to go to there one and only game of the season, i hope we get through to be honest but
    i wont loose to much sleep if we dont because reading on saturday is more inportant.KRO.

  • des says:

    Luckily I like to leave the tactical stuff to the manager, personally dont think tactics ever win matches, its more how comfortable your players slot into systems. Someone said to me once about fergies treble winning team midfield of Becks Scholes Keane & Giggs, up front yorke& cole so 4 4 2 picked itself as at that time those six players were probably amongst the best in the world in thier positions!


  • Chris W says:

    I would like to say that a cup run will bring in much needed finances, but all that will do is prolong the inevitable and keep PP and CY controlling the club longer.
    Personally, I am looking forward to the game, just to see Swansea play their football, something I think LC is trying to do at Blues. It took Swansea a few years to get their style to pay dividends, but they did have a supportive board who strove for consistency.
    I do feel that LC should stick with 3-4-3, it suits the players, they are starting to get use to it, most fans are seeing the benefits too and it will instil consistency.
    Maybe play Ziggy for half the game to get some playing time under his belt and give Swansea something to worry about, would be nice to see Packwood, the two Reece’s, Hales & Brown and possibly Asante.
    Swansea has plenty on their plate with Europe so might just play a weakened team, which might just see Blues sneak a win.
    Whatever the result, team or formation, just enjoy the game, it might be sometime before we see Premier opposition at ST Andrews and this is going to be one of our hardest seasons yet, if not THE hardest in our history… KRO

  • dave mann says:

    we as fans on here including myself, go into detail and babble on about formations and
    players and who should play here and who should play where. footballs a simple game
    and we try to complicate it as though its a science, lets make it easy and play 11 players
    who play in there favorite position and ask them to go out and do the job they know……..
    ……simples, its quite easy really chapps to be honest. KRO.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I totally agree with that sentiment dave… but unfortunately, formations/systems are where it’s at today. I’ve still to understand the benefit of having bloody FA/Eufa coaching badges.

  • Frankie says:

    I’d take the same view as I would with the consultant surgeons down at Heartlands hospital.
    Wouldn’t dream of ‘second guessing’ theireexpertise.

    Leave it to Lee Clark, he knows far more about the game than any of us !

  • TracyKRO says:

    I will play same formation with different players so if they are called upon through injury or bookings
    they would know what to do when they called upon, so I will have Doyle, Spector, Burn, Packwood
    Caddis, Mullins, Ambrose, Hancox, Asante, Novac, Shinnie for wed kro

  • StaffsBlue says:

    From everything I’ve read, Zigic won’t be back until Reading.. unless he surprises us tonight and actually wants to play.

    • almajir says:

      I don’t think it’s about “not wanting to play”, I think he is genuinely coming back from injury…

      • StaffsBlue says:

        You’re reading what isn’t there again. I meant as in how David Murphy put himself up on Saturday. He told the gaffer he wanted to play.

        • almajir says:

          But by that comment you’re implying Zigic didn’t and can’t be arsed – which isn’t the truth.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            You’re implying that I was implying. I wasn’t.

          • almajir says:

            You might say that you’re not but the implication is still there.

            Maybe you should re-word what you say?

          • StaffsBlue says:

            From everything I’ve read, Zigic won’t be back until Reading.. unless he surprises us tonight and actually wants to play…. in this match, instead of waiting for the Reading game.


          • almajir says:

            No, because you’re still implying he doesn’t want to play.

            If you said “unless he surprises us and is fit enough to play on Wednesday…” you might be closer to the truth.

  • dave mann says:

    im at level 3 staffs, just one of uefa but havent bothered to carry it on because its a load
    of nonsense to be honest but i wouldnt want to put any one of doing them, this country
    needs more coaches so go for it, but not for me i will just whatch others doing it now
    cause ive retired from all that, as for wednesdays team, god knows, by the way anyone
    get the 11 and formation for saturday, bet no one did unless there liying! KRO.

  • pc brigade says:

    Throw all the kids out against swansea n let them have the time of their lives

  • StaffsBlue says:

    All I meant was, that no one thought David Murphy would play on Saturday, but he put himself up for the game. I was saying that Zigic might do the same, and tell Clark that he wanted to play instead of waiting for Reading. I was implying nothing else.

    • zxcv says:

      How do you know that ziggy didn`t put himself up (as you put it) for the Sheff/wed, game.? I agree with Dan, it sounds very much like another Zigic dig.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        Sorry to disappoint you, but it wasn’t. If I’m going to have a dig at a player, I’ll come right out and say it, like many on here. It wasn’t a dig. End of.

        • steve says:

          He has a persistant back injury due to his age and size.This injury isn’t going away and needs to be managed properly.

        • zxcv says:

          “Unless he surprises us and actually wants to play”
          No of course that’s not a dig is it? silly me.

          Cant you really see the insinuation in that comment. I think it is a disgusting thing to say about a member of our own team.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            I know what I said and I know what I meant. Whatever you read into it doesn’t change what I meant. If you can’t accept that, fair enough. That’s my last word on it.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    I have said repeatedly that I have full confidence in Lee Clark. BUT if I was forced to pick the team I would make the fewest changes possible and play Packwood instead of Bartley.

  • Ali Duncan says:

    I’m just looking forward to an entertaining game of football against a very good passing side. I don’t feel I’ve been “properly” entertained down at Stans for well over a year so I’m looking forward to, hopefully, an open game where I expect us to be totally dominated but maybe cause them problems on the break. I’d like to see Koby start and really run at their back four.

  • gerrymc says:

    Play the best available team. hopefully the one that played on Saturday, you DON’T flirt with form? Another good Cup run would lift the pall of gloom at STANS, the League Cup win in 2011 has given us all something to hang our hats on for years to come, why not give it everything we have? This early in the season you don’t need to rest players, plus it’s going to be a long hard season battling relegation anyway – GO FOR IT!

  • Pete says:

    Rest Robinson- who does not need another booking. Rest Murphy, so he can be ready for the next game after so long out and with Bartley out too- I would play Spector and Packwood at the back, Then put Ferguson on the left midfield role. After that do not change a thing. The formation suited all players on Saturday, so let them keep continuity.

  • Sh*t on the villa says:

    If clark wants one last tinker with formations and players like lovenkrands and ambrose, i would rather him do against swansea rather then the league.

    Hoping to see Brown, Reilly, Hancox, Arthur and asante all get a good run out. After this time to concentrate on getting points.

  • Fazza says:

    I think we mostly agree we like the way this formation works and should leave it grow rather than chop and change the tactics again…only changes I would make his Spector drop in a the third cb with Bartley missing and caddis going to rb…Hancox for murphy! Lingard may be available depending on what man united say so if he was available been unwise to take him out the team after a game like that..I know we have reading on sat but I would leave the rest the same and get zig Asante packwood on bench! There’s ability in this team…they’ve just got to build some confidence and starting believing in themselves more..the weds game will hopefully help! KRO

  • andy says:

    What a ridiculous statement by marky mark. The cup game is of no importance whatsoever? Im afraid this game is about winning things and if that attitude is adopted, then you deserve to win nothing. Not so sure whether Bradford wrote themselves off the same way!

    • Marky mark says:

      Bradford didn’t win anything and it cost them any chance of promotion ??
      We have one priority and that’s to stay in the division a pointless cup run no thanks.

      You enjoy it, wembley was probably the last game you went to

  • mike b says:

    hi all…………i sorry but i do think that the cup game is important!!! see i am old…….
    put out a strong team keep the impetus going…he can change it at half-time depending on the score…….plus the crowd might be bigger with saturdays result and if we entertain them they might come regularly………….

  • steve says:

    I think Clark has said that only Randolph and Murphy will be stood down on Wednesday.Apart from the loans.Pick as close to the same team as on Saturday and play the same formation.Stop tinkering and let the players get used to a system.

  • Blueboy88 says:

    Swansea will put out a second string because of their Europa Cup commitments.

    So they are their for the taking if Clark holds his nerve , doesn’t mess around too much with Saturdays formation ,
    & swaps out Bartley & Lingard like for like…

  • mark says:

    Being a bit of a gambling man like all cup games they are open to shocks. I fancy blues cup run continuing that why I will be there…..kro

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