PREVIEW: Leeds -v- Wednesday

PREVIEW: Leeds -v- Wednesday

Everything was going swimmingly.

Four wins from four, and only a straight-forward home tie in the way before the trip to Leeds.

Wednesday – strengthened by a couple of new, exciting signings – were on the march.

But football narrative dictates that the form side would lose to Brentford, a side who had conceded ten in their last three matches.

The defeat, while galling, was not the apocalyptic catastrophe that social media initially indicated.

Wednesday are still comfortably a top six side and will remain so given any result here.

Leeds are on the crest of a wave; this is their best season at this level since relegation from the top flight.

But they too have begun to drop unexpected points of late.

A bumper crowd will give the Saturday lunch-time fixture an extra edge.

 

 

Last game Opposition Result Shots On target Corners Cards Fouls Possession
WEDNESDAY Brentford (H) L 1-2 30 10 16 1 8 57%
LEEDS Ipswich (A) D 1-1 4 1 1 0 11 60%

 

Wednesday paid the price for a lacklustre first half display against a confident Brentford side.

Having conceded two very poor goals from set-pieces, it took The Owls until stoppage time at the end of the second half to gain any consolation.

John Egan driften unmarked to the back post to put The Bees ahead. The questionable defensive organisation and positioning from Kieren Westwood could both have been improved.

This came shortly after Fernando Forestieri was denied a clear penalty following a shove to the ground from a Brentford defender.

Carlos Carvalhal rued a “disaster” of a referee following the defeat, but his defenders were to blame again as Harlee Dean powerfully headed home a second.

The second half was much improved from a Wednesday perspective, with Winnall, Fletcher, Rhodes and Forestieri all forming a four-pronged attack.

The home side spurned a number of chances, notably Fletcher hit the post and Sasso skewed wide from a later rebound.

Fernando Forestieri notched his tenth of the season – a 90th minute consolation – with a lovely strike into the top corner from the edge of the area.

Bees’ stopper Dan Bentley enjoyed a fantastic game between the posts.

 

Leeds also dropped points in midweek, with a 1-1 draw down at Ipswich Town.

The Suffolk side started brightly and Freddie Sears gave them the lead on his return to the side.

Having wasted chances to further their lead, Town were pegged back by Leeds thanks to a poked finish from Stuart Dallas.

Ipswich even had chances to win the game from here, with Leeds showing little in the way of attacking enterprise, but the points were shared: a result which leaves both sides content with the place in the Championship table.

 

 

LAST 5 Brentford (H) Forest (A) Blackburn (H) Birmingham (H) Wigan (A)
WEDNESDAY L 1-2 W 2-1 W 2-1 W 3-0 W 1-0

 

Ipswich (A) Bristol C (H) Cardiff (H) Huddersfield (A) Blackburn (A)
LEEDS D 1-1 W 2-1 L 0-2 L 1-2 W 2-1

 

 

Wednesday need to find defensive solidity again

Of their four home games against top eight sides, Leeds have won two and lost two so far this season.

Of their five away games, Wednesday have won two and lost two.

Both sides, then, are capable of turning over their fellow promotion challengers.

The statistics here are too tight to call: Leeds sit ahead of Wednesday in the Championship table courtesy of an extra ‘1’ in the goal difference column.

Despite the defeat in midweek, The Owls are still among the form sides in the division and have lost just once in six away matches.

Leeds are formidable at home: a surprise defeat to Warnock’s Cardiff is the only blot on their last six Elland Road copy-book.

 

 

HEAD 2 HEAD WEDNESDAY WINS LEEDS WINS DRAWS
  31 24 37

LAST MEETING

 

20 August 2016, Hillsborough, Att: 29, 067

Wednesday 0-2 Leeds

(Antonsson 63′, Wood 85′)

Wednesday’s early season stumble continued in this televised defeat.

It now seems a long time ago, but Garry Monk was under pressure as his team came to Hillsborough, having secured just one point from their first four Championship games.

Wednesday could not capitalise of first half supremacy and Swede Marcus Antonsson gave United the lead after the restart.

Hooper, Forestieri and Abdi all had chances to equalise, and it was the Swiss who come closest with a free-kick that clipped the top of the cross bar.

As Wednesday chased towards the Kop goal, Leeds broke away with five minutes to go and made the game safe through Chris Wood.

Wood celebrates – Image: Daily Mirror

Since Wednesday’s return to this level, fixtures with Leeds have often proven to be tight affairs. The Owls have notched two wins, both at Hillsborough, while United have three.

Memorable moments include Marco Matias’ wonder-goal last season and the 6-0 humbling at Hillsborough.

 

 

CARVALHAL’S COHORTS

 

Gary Hooper played on Monday for the Development Squad but is unlikely to force his way back into the eleven.

Tom Lees has been missed at the back and has returned to training. A return against his old club, however, looks unlikely.

Jack Hunt and Daniel Pudil both sat out of the Brentford defeat. Hunt’s attacking instincts and Pudil’s experience will be available to Carvalhal ‘with full energy’ for this one.

Don’t expect Wednesday to deviate from the shape that has worked so well away from home this season.

Forestieri will look to add to his ten goals starting alongside Rhodes, but will be able to drop deep to form a midfield five, should it be needed.

Barry Bannan is a Carvalhal favourite but has been out of sorts recently. Hooked at half-time in midweek, could Almen Abdi and Sam Hutchinson play together as a midfield two?

Charlie Taylor remains sidelined for Leeds. First choice defenders Jansson, Bartley and Ayling are all fit, however.

Options further forward include the aforementioned Wood, Souleymane Doukara and former Swansea winger Pablo Hernández.

WestwoodPreview

WESTWOOD

HUNT

SASSO

LOOVENS

PUDIL

WALLACE

HUTCHINSON

ABDI

REACH

REACH

RHODES

FORESTIERI

 

 

KEY PLAYERS

 

SAM HUTCHINSON – Has been exceptional for large parts of this season.

His disciplined performance at Newcastle was, for me, the best individual showing this season from a Wednesday player.

To achieve a similar result here, Hutchinson will need to play at a similar level.

Leeds’ midfield is fluid, tricky and quick: the former Chelsea man’s awareness and positioning will need to come to the fore to thwart Leeds going forward.

It goes without saying that Wednesday’s best chance of getting a result comes with Sam Hutchinson starting (and staying) on the pitch.

Let’s hope Sam keeps his head if it starts to get a bit, erm, tasty…

PONTUS JANSSON  – Initially joined on a season-long loan from Torino, which has since been made permanent to the tune of £3.5m.

His stellar defensive performances are key to Leeds’ promotion charge. He’s popped up three times at the other end of the table too, most recently to take a last minute win from Ewood Park.

 

 

 

THE BETTING BOX: 5 OF THE BEST

 

BET Wednesday WIN Leeds WIN DRAW Leeds/Draw HT/FT Forestieri FGS
BEST ODDS 11/5 13/8 9/4 17/1 13/2
BOOKIES

.

HUGH’S VERDICT:

 

Televised. Leeds away. 1-1.

It always has been and it always will be.

Leeds, backed by their bumper crowd and vociferous atmosphere, will overpower Wednesday and take the lead.

Wednesday to fight back, and, dare I say it, spoil the party?

We can hope.

VERDICT: Leeds 1-1 Wednesday

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

Images: SWFC, unless stated.


One Comment

  1. Sincere thanks for the latest in a long series of splendid articles. These are essential reading for this Owl, now permanently domiciled in California, and who has followed his beloved club since 1957 ! Since I am no longer able to occupy my customary spot at Leppings Lane, I glean my information from TV highlights and your articulate essays. They are intelligent, articulate, and enlivened and enriched by a keen sense of humour. They surpass with ease the offerings from the local press. I find myself in complete agreement with your forecast of a 1-1 draw at Elland Road.Should we lose, I suspect it will be attributable to incompetent match officials, player fatigue( the mind boggles), or a combination of the two.
    I look forward to your reflections.
    Up the Owls!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *