Cardiff City are delighted to welcome back Michael Chopra from a longstanding knee injury, and Craig Bellamy from his persistent knee problems – but incorporating all our big guns into one side is always going to prove difficult leaving Dave Jones with some tricky decisions to make ahead of tomorrow`s clash with Bristol City.
The Bluebirds have been far from convincing in recent games, and have missed Chopra`s pace and running to create space for others. However, with Bellamy also fit to play, the system once again comes into question. Currently we prefer a fluid system with Bothroyd at the pinnacle and Bellamy & Burke out wide and joining in. This 4-5-1 / 4-3-3 system is not ideally suited to Chopra, who for many sides would be the key striker, and who likes to play off the shoulder of the last defender. He could be utilised on the right, that is in fact the preferred selection in the only game Chopra and Bellamy have played together (4-0 win over Doncaster). However, the formation looked unbalanced until Chopra withdrew and was replaced by natural wideman Burke.
With Drinkwater out, that would also mean we have to find the third central midfielder to partner Olofinjana and Whittingham. McPhail is the likely candidate but has struggled for form and had been dropped in recent weeks.
Therefore, in order to accommodate our most potent goalscoring threats, Dave Jones is sure to consider reverting to his tried-and-tested 4-4-2:
McNaughton, Hudson, Gyepes, Naylor
Burke, Olofinjana, Whittingham, Bellamy
That formation clearly promises goals, and is very attractive. A minor concern is Peter Whittingham`s strength and contribution in a two man midfield, it`s not his natural game but he is afforded extra protection by the powerful and impressive Seyi Olofinjana.
Jones may yet opt to rest Bellamy and/or Chopra ahead of Tuesday`s match at Coventry – depending on fitness. If both are to play, it means either a change in formation, of the unfortunate dropping of the lively Chris Burke to the bench. A tough decision indeed.
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