30-year-old Lukas Jutkiewicz ranked 1st in Championship player statistics according to whoscored.com, and boasts standout aerial dominance to get there.
Centre forward Jutkiewicz, who had his best season of 14 goals and 10 assists in the 2018/2019 campaign, has a 7.72 player rating which puts him in the Championships best starting eleven, next to Aston Villa’s Tammy Abraham.
Averaging 12.4 aerial duals won per game, the target man has been key to unlocking the best in strike partner Che Adams. Of all the teams in the Championship, it’s Blues who lead the way for winning aerial duals won, winning 54.8% of the in air battles. It’s no surprise then Garry Monk’s side have become renowned for their physicality and ability to make use of aggression the right way.
Second to Jutkiewicz for aerial duals won is Bolton Wanderers’ Josh Magennis, who wins an average of 8.7 of his aerial duals per game. The rest of the top 10 in this department were made up largely of the relegation threatened teams such as Millwall, Bolton and Rotherham.
However, it’s Jutkiewicz 13 man of the matches that make him arguably the most effective striker in the air and a handful for defenders to mark. It was evident in his first game for the club where his looping header gave Blues a stoppage time winner at home to Sheffield Wednesday, and more distinctly this season, when his first half goal at Villa Park made him the first Blues player to score there since 2008.
When compared to the most prolific performing attackers in the league, he holds his ground well and outperforms Teemu Pukki, Oliver Norwood and Jack Grealish for assists who finished the season on nine, eight and six respectively. These were all players from top six teams, with Pukki’s Norwich and Norwood’s Sheffield United going up automatically.
Chance created by Blues have increased this season with Monk’s side finding the net 64 times. The best partnership for scoring goals in the league belongs to Brentford with Said Benrahma assisting team mate Neal Maupay on six occasions. It’s worth noting Algerian Benrahma went on to claim the top spot for assists in the league at the end of the season with his tally of 14. It’s Blues who make up the second and third place for assisting goalscorers though.
Spaniard Jota has provided five assists to Jutkiewicz, whilst Jutkiewicz matches that himself with the five goals he has set up for fellow striker Adams.
With limitation in the summer transfer window for Blues, Monk will be keen to maintain the figures his forwards have met this campaign. As Premier League interest in Adams still remains though, who do you think Blues should go in search of, to ensure they have another competitive strike team?