PREVIEW | Wigan -v- Wednesday

PREVIEW | Wigan -v- Wednesday

Wednesday head to Wigan with renewed optimism after the long-awaited capture of Jordan Rhodes.

The poor midweek result – twice letting a lead slip to Bristol City – was somewhat overshadowed by the protracted transfer saga that had Owls fans nervously checking Twitter until Wednesday lunch-time.

With only one win from five in the Championship, could Rhodes be thrust straight into the starting eleven against relegation-threatened Wigan?

 

 

Last game Opposition Result Shots On target Corners Cards Fouls Possession
WEDNESDAY Bristol C. (A) D 2-2 13 3 3 4 12 48%
WIGAN Man Utd. (A) L 0-4 7 5 2 1 6 28%

 

Wednesday have looked much less convincing at the back during January and have conceded four rather poor goals in their last two league games.

Carvalhal’s side need to put a run together to keep pace with the top six; this month has seen us lose a five point gap to Derby County and, as a result of our poor chance conversion, we lie outside of the play-off spots on goal difference.

Forestieri gave Wednesday the lead at Bristol

The Tics have enjoyed a great January in the Championship. After defeat to Huddersfield on Bank Holiday Monday, Joyce’s men have put three consecutive wins together.

Having lost star-man Yanic Wildschut to Norwich, Athletic signed no fewer than eight players on Deadline Day.

What effect will this, coupled with a heavy cup defeat to Manchester United, have on their squad?

 

 

LAST 5 Bristol C. (A) Brighton (A) Hudds. (H) Boro (A) Wolves (H)
WEDNESDAY D 2-2 L 1-2 W 2-0 L 0-3 D 0-0

 

United (A) Brentford (H) Burton (A) Forest (H) Hudds. (A)
WIGAN L 0-4 W 2-1 W 2-0 W 2-0 L 0-1

 

 

Despite our recent run there is much to be optimistic about.

Rhodes with his new boss

Carvalhal has strengthened areas in which we are weak and has moved on several players who were deemed surplus to requirements.

Several players are returning to this squad with points to prove and places to hold on to. The prospect of discovering a working solution to our front-line problems is something to look forward to.

As a club-record transfer, Rhodes will obviously be given a chance straight away.

Can Sam Winnall add to his eleven league goals before Gary Hooper gets a chance with the Scottish international.

Or will Steven Fletcher return from suspension and link up with his compatriot?

Wednesday are creating more chances than many would give them credit. Labelled ‘energetically wasteful’ by experimental361, Carvalhal’s side are creating a number of chances; our players have scored ten goals fewer than the statistics suggest they could have.

With a much-strengthened forward line, surely these chances have to start finding the back of the net?

With Carlos taking the division’s fifth-strongest defence to the home of the weakest attack, perhaps we could see a more enterprising game plan? Don’t bank on it!

 

 

HEAD 2 HEAD WEDNESDAY WINS WIGAN WINS DRAWS
  4 3 0

LAST MEETING

 

10 September 2016, Hillsborough, Att: 24, 860

Wednesday 2-1 Wigan Athletic

(Fletcher 29′, Forestieri 62′ // Grigg 5′)

Fletcher makes it 1-1

This result gave us another Carvalhalism to add to the ever-growing scrapbook.

“We want to the the mirror of the city and of Yorkshire. We put our heart on the pitch.”

Will Grigg (‘s on fire) opened the scoring after five minutes and Wednesday took a while to get going from there.

Fletcher scored the first of his six Owls goals to draw level, latching on to a long Barry Bannan pass that was not dissimilar to the ball that set up Wednesday’s first in midweek.

Wednesday added tempo and flair to their game in the second half and spurned a myriad of chances (repeat ad finitum) before Fernando Forestieri finished from a difficult tight angle.

 

 

CARVALHAL’S COHORTS

 

We have all the forwards.

Fletcher and Hutchinson will sit this out as their final punishment for ridiculous red cards at Brighton.

The back four picks itself at the moment despite a shaky couple of games. Morgan Fox had a solid debut at Bristol and should retain his place.

I would like to see David Jones retain his place anchoring the midfield. Barry Bannan’s energy alongside him will be key.

Now it gets interesting. Will Rhodes go straight in? Is Hooper fit? Where does this leave Winnall?

Rhodes is lacking match practice so don’t be surprised to see the record-signing sitting on the bench. The same goes for Hooper, back from long-ish-term injury, the poacher scored two and was injured in a Development Squad game at Barnsley recently.

Might we see one striker and the lesser-spotted Abdi?

 

WestwoodPreview

WESTWOOD

PALMER

LEES

LOOVENS

FOX

WALLACE

BANNAN

JONES

REACH

REACH

FORESTIERI

FORESTIERI

WINNALL

 

 

KEY PLAYERS

 

Reach: under pressure?

Adam Reach – Probably hasn’t realised this yet, but is now under pressure with Wednesday’s options up front.

Assuming Fletcher, Hooper, Rhodes and Winnall are going to be taking care of the two striker’s slots, that leaves Reach in competition with Forestieri for the drifting-mostly-left-sided-but-do-whatever-you-want-to position.

Reach’s strength is his versatility, as he has shown on several occasions already this season, playing anywhere on the left and through the middle.

He is obviously a Carvalhal favourite – he has featured in more games than any other player since his arrival.

However, with competition for his place now hotter than ever, Reach needs a big performance.

Stephen Warnock – Enjoying a good spell at the back for the Tics, at present. Has played at left-back and centre-half.

Will need to be at his best to thwart Wednesday, if and when the away side decide to turn it on. Will probably have to marshal the hapless Dan Burn, too.

 

 

 

THE BETTING BOX: 5 OF THE BEST

 

BET Wednesday WIN Wigan WIN DRAW Rhodes Anytime  Verdict (see below)
BEST ODDS 16/11 12/5 9/4 23/10 10/1
BOOKIES

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HUGH’S VERDICT:

This is much trickier than it looks. Wigan are on the up, Wednesday are very much heading in the opposite direction.

Changing that trend here would be a timely achievement.

We’re set for a dire first half as both teams will retain a tight, narrow shape. Wednesday have less to worry about on the counter attack if Loovens and Lees can isolate the threat of Will Grigg, so pushing bodies forward earlier is an option.

Expect Wednesday to bring on the cavalry for the second half and do just enough.

VERDICT: Wigan 1-2 Wednesday

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

Images: SWFC, unless stated.


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