Birmingham v Brentford Betting Tips: Home joy awaits for Zola
Both of these teams currently reside around the middle of the Championship table, but relatively far apart with five points separating the two sides.
Birmingham made one of the shock managerial decisions of recent times when they fired Gary Rowett and replaced him with Gianfranco Zola recently. The Italian managed to get his first point as Birmingham manager after an excellent comeback from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Barnsley on New Year’s Eve following defeats to Brighton & Hove Albion and Derby County.
Zola’s job is to turn Blues into a more attacking side after they relied so heavily on the counter-attack under the previous manager which the board felt unsatisfactory. The Barnsley match saw them score two but one was on the counter and one from a penalty, so hardly the most free flowing football you will ever see. Defence is undoubtedly Birmingham’s strength and they can be relied upon to help pick up points whilst goalkeeper Tomasz Kusczack is in the form of his life right now.
Blues lost their first match at home under Zola in cruel circumstances to Brighton, but this match against Barnsley really is a must-win if Birmingham are to continue their play-off push. They did have a good record at St. Andrew’s under Gary Rowett with just two losses on home turf this season and it will be interesting to see if controversial Zola can emulate that.
Brentford are currently on a three-match win-less run following their draw against Norwich City. The Bees have kept just one clean sheet in their last eight which proves they are not the best at the back but they tend to score enough goals which allows them to pick up points.
Away form is certainly an achilles heel for Dean Smith’s side with three defeats in their last four in which they conceded nine goals, whilst they have failed to record consecutive victories on the road since April.
Coming back from 2-0 down will have given a huge confidence boost to Zola’s men going into this must-win game. Brentford suffered another match without a win last time out and, with confidence likely to be draining and away form poor, I think they may struggle at Birmingham. The reverse fixture finished 2-1 to Birmingham and I expect Blues to come out on top again with their good home form.
In front of a home crowd, Zola can oversee his first win as Birmingham manager and the hosts are a team to back at 6/4.
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