PREVIEW: Newcastle United -v- Wednesday

PREVIEW: Newcastle United -v- Wednesday

Quietly limping towards Christmas, Wednesday only seem have added pressure to their situation despite two wins-to-nil against Barnsley and Rotherham.

Two unconvincing Hillsborough performances have restored the side to the top six, but with injuries and question marks over individuals mounting, Boxing Day does not seem the ideal time to face Newcastle United.

A third consecutive win for Wednesday would be a real Christmas cracker.

 

 

Last game Opposition Result Shots On target Corners Cards Fouls Possession
WEDNESDAY Rotherham (H) W 1-0 23 5 7 1 13 68%
NEWCASTLE Burton Albion (A) W 2-1 9 4 5 1 10 42%

 

The six points gained by Wednesday last week will likely feature as important ‘well-fought’ victories, come the end-of-season revisionism.

And this, while true, will help to mask two rather tepid and lifeless displays. Wednesday were largely uninspiring against a side who are comfortably the worst in the division.

His recent performances have been important to Wednesday’s success

Steven Fletcher’s penalty was the difference. One major criticism of Carvalhal’s first year was how his side never looked capable of seizing points from poor performances.

Wednesday sit four points and one place better off compared to this time last year.

Rafa Benítez is on course to lead Newcastle to become the first 100-point side since, erm, Newcastle in 2009/10.

On Saturday they took three points from the Pirelli Stadium to maintain their one point gap from Brighton at the top of the table.

Three goals in the first half settled the match, with Dwight Gayle and Mo Diamé securing the points for the Magpies.

 

 

LAST 5 Rotherham (H) Barnsley (H) Reading (A) Preston (H) Wolves (A)
WEDNESDAY W 1-0 W 2-0 L 0-1 W 2-1 W 2-0

 

Burton (A) Wigan (A) Birmingham (H) Forest (A) Hull (A)
NEWCASTLE W 2-1 W 2-0 W 4-0 L 1-2 L 1-1 (1-3)

 

 

Wednesday are statistically better than last season but, if we’re honest, less inspiring.

The added expectation, coupled with the lack of improvement offered by our summer transfers has made this season seem all the more lethargic compared to the experience of a unique unknown in 2015/16.

Gayle: 17 goals already (Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

Newcastle are free-scoring, especially at home, but are not without their own faults.

They have already lost three at St James’, the last of which halted an eight game winning streak.

They also concede – on average – more than one goal per game at home.

Both teams have failed to score just three times in the Championship – a joint best for the division – so goals at both ends are likely, you’d think.

Ciaran Clark and Jamaal Lascelles are both comfortable in this division and, should Wednesday go route-one to Fletcher or Joao, will come off better.

With Hayden, Diamé and Shelvey (suspension pending) patrolling the middle of the pitch, the Wednesday midfield should be able to find time on the ball. However, against Bannan and Lee, or even Jones, the Magpies will have a significant physical advantage.

One weakness could be Newcastle’s right side.

Should Fernando Forestieri – fresh, fit and firing – or Adam Reach be deployed in an orthodox wide position, Wednesday could find joy against DeAndre Yedlin.

The American full-back and Matt Ritchie are more renowned for their marauding forward play but will have to be wary of the Owls’ danger men.

 

 

HEAD 2 HEAD WEDNESDAY WINS UNITED WINS DRAWS
  40 51 37

LAST MEETING

 

23 September 2015, St James’ Park, Att: 33, 986

Newcastle 0-1 Wednesday

McGugan’s goal sealed a memorable win

(McGugan 76′)

Wednesday set up a memorable night a Hillsborough against Arsenal with this League Cup third round victory last September.

Newcastle made six changes to Wednesday’s nine but it was the Owls who stole a victory through a deflected Lewis McGugan half-volley.

Having rode their luck at times, Wednesday managed to turn the atmosphere against the home side and then deservedly took the lead with fifteen to go.

Sergiu Bus somehow skied over from two yards after Lucas Joao had hit the bar.

 

 

CARVALHAL’S COHORTS

 

Jack Hunt recently spoke to The Star about the importance of having a run in the side. And so Liam Palmer predictably replaced him against Barnsley and then kept another clean sheet against Rotherham.

The right-back remains an unknown.

Lees, Loovens and Pudil will make up the rest of the back four.

Sam Hutchinson has been excellent recently and will again split the back four and allow both full backs to press higher on the counter-attack. Expect Bannan and Lee to maintain a narrow shape and Adam Reach to float wherever the game takes him.

Steven Fletcher scored a couple of memorable goals in Tyne-Wear derbies.

The first goal in this fixture will be crucial: Newcastle have won the seven home games in which they have scored first, and lost the other three. Hopefully Fletcher can grab a seventh for the season and send us on our way.

WestwoodPreview

WESTWOOD

PALMER

LEES

LOOVENS

PUDIL

PUDIL

BANNAN

LEE

HUTCHINSON

FORESTIERI

FORESTIERI

FLETCHER

FLETCHER

REACH

REACH

 

 

KEY PLAYERS

 

Fernando Forestieri – Welcome back, Fernando. Oh welcome back, sweet cherub. Oh welcome back, you money-grabbing, you team-spirit ruining, creator of the downward spiral that never materialised.

Do all the Fernando things. Run at Yedlin. Terrify him. Make him cower in the corner. Anger the crowd. Make them scream for your blood. Please score a goal. Please don’t get sent off.

Mo Diamé – Let’s hope he doesn’t get the better of Hutchinson, this time. I have a feeling that Sam will be out for a spot of revenge.

 

 

 

THE BETTING BOX: 5 OF THE BEST

 

BET Wednesday WIN United WIN DRAW BTTS  Verdict (see below)
BEST ODDS 5/1 7/10 141/50 23/20 37/1
BOOKIES Betway 188Bet

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HUGH’S VERDICT:

 

 

I’ve tried to remain optimistic in writing this but, simply, I can’t.

For the past four or five weeks, I’ve been dreading this fixture. With our collective propensity to over-react, a televised examination by Newcastle could spell trouble.

As a side, they are everything that Wednesday struggle against. Big, tough-tackling midfielders. Pacey, tricky forward players. They have width, depth, and Rafael *chuffing* Benítez and his band of all-conquering coaches should they need to make changes.

Wednesday have scored more than one goal on just five occasions this season. Even if we make it six here, will that be enough?

VERDICT: 4-1

Please prove the statistics wrong, Wednesday.

Hugh
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: owlsalive@gmail.com
Twitter: @OwlsAlive and @hugh_wragg


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