PREVIEW: Manchester City -v- Wednesday

PREVIEW: Manchester City -v- Wednesday

Sheffield Wednesday travel to Eastlands for the second time in five months to face in-form Manchester City in the hope of pulling off one of the shocks of the season.

Wednesday have collected 12 points from their last six fixtures and will be looking to avoid a repeat of the 7-0 humbling suffered in the League Cup last year.

Meanwhile City are unbeaten in twelve, currently level with Chelsea at the top of the Premier League and looking forward to the Champions League knock-out stages.

All stats come from Soccerbase and Soccernet.

Last Game Opposition Result Shots On Target Corners Cards Fouls Possession
WEDNESDAY Wigan (A) W 1-0 6 4 0 3 13 47%

Last Game Opposition Result Shots On Target Corners Cards Fouls Possession
CITY Sunderland (A) W 3-2 32 12 10 2 14 64%

 

Wednesday ended 2014 with another good away win to leave Stuart Gray’s men in the Championship’s top 10 going into the New Year. Atdhe Nuhiu scored his first goal in three months with just over ten minutes remaining as the Owls looked to take the game to the ten men of Wigan.

Nuhiu celebrates scoring the winner at Wigan

Nuhiu celebrates scoring the winner at Wigan

Callum McManaman had already received a straight red card for a vicious challenge on Claude Dielna, this gave Wednesday the added impetus that bore fruit in a deserved winner for Nuhiu.

Having survived a few scares in the closing moments, Wednesday kept another clean sheet and have done so now in half of their League outings.

City surrendered a two-goal lead at home for the second time in a week as Sunderland arrived at Eastlands. Two superb goals, firstly from Yaya Toure who sent a bullet into the roof of the net from 25 yards, and then a cute Jesus Navas flick gave City a seemingly unassailable 2-0 lead, before two ex-Blues restored parity, firstly a Jack Rodwell header and then an Adam Johnson penalty set up a superb finish.

Frank Lampard, having recently extended his City loan until the end of the season, came off of the bench to give City a 3-2 lead, one that the ultimately wouldn’t surrender as Pellegrini’s men marched level with Chelsea the top of the Premier League.

LAST 5 GAMES Wigan (a) Blackpool (h) Fulham (a) Wolves (h) Blackburn (a)
Wednesday W 1-0 W 1-0 L 4-0 L 1-0 W 2-1

LAST 5 GAMES Sunderland (h) Burnley (h) WBA (a) Crystal Palace (h) Leicester (a)
City W 3-2 D 2-2 W 3-1 W 3-0 W 1-0

Surprise defeats to both Wolves and Fulham had the alarm bells ringing for many of the blue and white persuasion over the Christmas period.

Successive victories over struggling Blackpool and Wigan have given us renewed hope ahead of the New Year, and this optimism will be crucial if Wednesday are to gain anything from this game.

Since losing at home to CSKA Moscow in October, City are unbeaten and have qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League having beaten Bayern Munich and AS Roma.

Eight wins in nine in the Premier League have seen the Champions climb the table and now look set to battle it out with Chelsea for the League title. Champions League success remains unlikely for Pellegrini but a League-Cup double is certainly not beyond their reach.

HEAD 2 HEAD WEDNESDAY WINS CITY WINS DRAWS
42 (0 in FA Cup) 35 (3) 27 (2)

LAST MEETING: 24 September 2014, Eastlands, Att – 32, 346

City 7-0 Wednesday 

(Lampard 47 90+3, Dzeko 53 77, Jesus Navas 54, Toure 60, Pozo 88)

The old cliché ‘a game of two halves’ was written with this game in mind. City were ultimately in control during the first period but Wednesday fought well to maintain parity.

Lampard showing his class in our last meeting

Lampard showing his class in our last meeting

The Owls almost took the lead when Gary Madine found himself unmarked in the City box but could only direct a limp header towards Caballero.

City were superb after the break and scored three in seven minutes, first Lampard and Dzeko before a rocket from Jesus Navas gave the Champions total control.

Kamil Zayatte then received a straight red card and conceded a penalty; Yaya Toure sent Chris Kirkland the wrong way on the hour.

Wednesday battled with a changed side but were to be embarrassed as Lampard and Dzeko each added their second while Jose Pozo scored his first City goal to make it a magnificent seven.

11 SHADES OF GRAY

Joe Mattock is a doubt for this one, and with Royston Drenthe heading back to Reading (apparently), Jeremy Helan will probably move up into a midfield position, with Claude Dielna filling it at left-back.

Skipper Glenn Loovens looks set to return, while Gray could gamble on the resting of key central defenders and give them a big Austrian problem to think about.

Manuel Pellegrini has several thousands players to choose from, any combination of which will be a test for Wednesday. Sergio Agüero is injured, however. Small mercies.

WESTWOOD

WESTWOOD

PALMER

PALMER

LEES

LEES

LOOVENS

LOOVENS

DIELNA

DIELNA

SEMEDO

SEMEDO

MCGUGAN

MCGUGAN

MAGUIRE

MAGUIRE

MAY

MAY

HELAN

HELAN

NUHIU

NUHIU

 

KEY PLAYERS

Kieren Westwood has been the Championship’s outstanding goalkeeper this season and is an integral part of our side, probably winning us more points than any other individual with a string of remarkable saves. Chris Kirkland has so far been given the nod ahead of our #1 in the Cup competitions and it will be interesting to see who starts here given the transfer speculation surrounding both players.

David Silva is a magician. He makes the best defenders in the Premier League look incompetent and is likely to give every member of Wednesday’s back four a torrid afternoon, should he start. I expect some rotation, given City’s wealth of options, but with likely replacements such as Sagna, Lampard, Dzeko and Caballero, Wednesday are in for a tough afternoon.

THE BETTING BOX: 5 OF THE BEST

BET Wednesday WIN City WIN DRAW Man City -3 Wednesday 1-0
BEST ODDS 20/1 1/6 7/1 14/5 45/1
BOOKIES betfair-logo BetVictor-logo BetVictor-logo betfair-logo betfair-logo

Unsurprisingly, City go into this one as heavy favourites with their match result market drifting around the 2/11 and 1/6 mark. Wednesday are not fancied in the slightest and can be found at reasonable odds with Betfair.

Your £10 will return £450 if you see the Owls continuing their streak of 1-0 wins into the New Year. Remember that Wigan beat City 2-1 in the Quarter Final stage last year.

Man City with a -3 handicap looks a pragmatic selection for the weekend coupon at 14/5 with Betfair, and if you fancy a repeat of our last encounter you can get 19/5 on Draw/Man City in the HT/FT markets with Victor.

A repeat of the League Cup scoreline is 100/1 with the same bookmaker.

HUGH’S VERDICT

City are in scintillating form and Manuel Pellegrini will not want any embarrassing back-page headlines on the Monday papers.

Wednesday do go across the Pennines in good form, with confidence and the desire to put right a poor second half performance in our last meeting.

Stuart Gray will want to ensure that any defeat on Sunday is not another catalyst for a bad run in the league.

VERDICT: Wednesday to begin 2015 with another spirited performance but ultimately lose out to the greater fitness and quality of City, losing 4-0.

Hugh
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: admin@owlsalive.com
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive or @hugh_wragg


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