PREVIEW: Wednesday -v- Burton Albion

PREVIEW: Wednesday -v- Burton Albion

Well that was good, wasn’t it?

Wednesday enjoyed their biggest win and best performance of the season in a comfortable showing against Norwich City on Saturday.

To borrow from Carvalhal’s new-found love of Yorkshireisms: everything certainly was all reyt.

More than all reyt, actually.

This team is built on good characters.

It is doubly satisfying to win a big game when a team functions as a unit, rather than as a result of moments of brilliance.

When individual genius meets collective effort, you get the sort of performance we witnessed on Saturday.

Well, I didn’t, because I gave my ticket away.

Burton Albion play in yellow, so I can pretend it’s Norwich again.

“Wait, Norwich played in a changed strip?”

This modern football will never catch on…

 

 

Last game Opposition Result Shots On target Corners Cards Fouls Possession
WEDNESDAY Norwich (H) W 5-1 10 5 3 0 14 41%
BURTON Bristol (A) D 0-0 10 3 5 5 15 42%

 

Wednesday took an early lead against Norwich and never looked back.

Fox celebrates his first in blue and white

Sam Hutchinson chased his own block from a Tim Klose pass, forcing Canaries ‘keeper Ruddy into a mistake. The former England stopper gifted the ball straight to Ross Wallace who found the net from 40 yards.

Fernando Forestieri crossed for Jordan Rhodes midway through the first half and Morgan Fox added his first in Wednesday colours just before the interval.

Cameron Jerome had reduced the arrears before Fox’s third but Wednesday were confident with a two goal lead at half time.

Rhodes added a fourth, this time from a Barry Bannan cross, before Forestieri set the seal with a 25-yard free-kick into the top corner.

The entire eleven enjoyed a good performance, but the best reception was saved for the late introduction of Jose Semedo.

The Portuguese is another important personality that makes this team tick. Despite his limited game time, you only have to see how often players celebrate with him to understand the role he plays within the squad.

Following the game, Forestieri revealed how important Jose’s pep talks have been to him this season.

“He sits next to me and says ‘you are the best player, you need to help the team.'”

Burton picked up a solid away point at fellow strugglers Bristol City over the weekend.

The Brewers were lucky to come away with a draw: Lee Tomlin fired over from the penalty spot after Aaron Wilbraham had a goal disallowed for the home side.

Albion did have a chance to steal a victory, former Watford winger Lloyd Dyer contrived to Lucas-Joao-embarassment-at-Brentford it from two yards.

The draw leaves Burton three points from the drop zone.

 

 

LAST 5 Norwich (H) Leeds (A) Brentford (H) Forest (A) Blackburn (H)
WEDNESDAY W 5-1 L 0-1 L 1-2 W 2-1 W 2-1

 

Bristol (A) Blackburn (H) Derby (A) Norwich (H) Brighton (A)
BURTON D 0-0 D 1-1 D 0-0 W 2-1 L 1-4

 

 

Despite the two defeats, Wednesday are still among the form sides in the division.

Unfortunately, joining us at the top of the ‘Last 10’ table are most of our promotion rivals.

Fulham, who sit five points behind with a game in hand, play Leeds tomorrow night and then take a trip to Newcastle at the weekend.

With our trip to a resurgent Villa to come, then, this home fixture has be fully taken advantage of.

Burton were notoriously good at home during the first half of the season, only struggling because of their poor away form.

Their two away wins have come at QPR and Rotherham, drawing three and losing nine on their travels against teams higher placed than them.

Indeed, Burton have suffered defeat in all their games against the top six. All but one.

Their last two away games have been 0-0 draws, suggesting that Nigel Clough is calling on the favoured (and often successful) tactic of relegation threatened sides: do not concede under any circumstances. Simple, really.

Wednesday have finally hit their stride going forwards: scoring 21 times in ten games.

Will the attacking trident of Rhodes, Forestieri and Winnall be able to break down a resolute Brewers backline?

 

 

HEAD 2 HEAD WEDNESDAY WINS BURTON WINS DRAWS
  0 1 0

LAST MEETING

 

16 August 2016, Pirelli Stadium, Att: 4, 997

Burton 3-1 Wednesday

(McFadzean 7′, Irvine 45′, Dyer 77′ // Hooper 12′)

Wednesday spectacularly under-estimated the threat of Burton in this early season encounter.

It would be wise to give a little more credence to Clough’s tactical nous as he brings his side to Hillsborough.

The two sides will be very different from those that took the field in August, however.

Wednesday played without a recognised centre-half and, even then, one of the stand-ins – Jose Semedo – didn’t make the half-time whistle.

Burton celebrate their victory in August

Kyle McFadzean gave the Brewers an early lead before conceding a penalty which Gary Hooper – remember him? – comfortably dispatched.

The makeshift back-line buckled on the stroke of half time as record-signing Jackson Irvine nodded Burton ahead.

Fernando Forestieri returned to Owls action from the bench after his Norwich-AWOL-disaster, but could not inspire his team to an equaliser.

Lloyd Dyer’s goal in the 77th minute ensured it was a comfortable end to the game for Albion, who registered their first ever second tier points with the victory.

 

 

CARVALHAL’S COHORTS

 

The aforementioned Hooper is nowhere to be seen. Tom Lees is yet to return to a match-day squad, while Almen Abdi sat out of the Norwich game with a new knee problem.

Sam Hutchinson limped off during the first half of the weekend win; Wednesday look set to miss his midfield thrust in this one.

Morgan Fox enjoyed his best game in a Wednesday shirt, and looks set to keep his place.

Burton play with both a 4-5-1 and 3-5-2, and will not experiment here.

Owing to Wednesday’s aggressive full-backs, the 4-5-1 looks a likely choice. Burton will be organised, deep, compact and downright difficult to break down.

Wednesday’s three man midfield can become four with Jones dropping back while the two full-backs push forward and offer width. Forestieri can drop deep to make it a conventional 4-4-2.

The Argentinian has scored three goals in four games. Can he notch his twelfth of the season here?

 

WestwoodPreview

WESTWOOD

HUNT

SASSO

LOOVENS

FOX

WALLACE

JONES

BANNAN

WINNALL

RHODES

FORESTIERI

 

 

KEY PLAYERS

 

Two keys to our success

BARRY BANNAN – Returned to form with a terrific display against Norwich.

Tuesday night will be a different challenge however: he will not be afforded the time, space, or territory that Norwich gifted him Scot on Saturday.

Wednesday will have to play patiently: don’t expect the goals to keep flowing against a struggling side.

Bannan’s role is key: finding space between the lines, taking possession in risky areas and then creating something from those opportunites. It will be a challenging task, but one that we know he is capable of accomplishing.

In a packed midfield, he will have to know when to take risks and potentially expose those behind him to the counter-attack.

An assured, intelligent performance from Bannan could be match-winning for Wednesday.

JACKSON IRVINE  – Scored eight goals in his first season in England and is Albion’s record signing.

The Australian international will have a job on his hands marshaling the Burton midfield with Michael Kightly injured.

He has averaged over two tackles, two interceptions and three clearances per game this season.

 

 

THE BETTING BOX: 5 OF THE BEST

 

BET Wednesday WIN Albion WIN DRAW Draw/SWFC HT/FT Forestieri any time
BEST ODDS 4/6 11/2 57/20 18/5 6/4
BOOKIES

 

HUGH’S VERDICT:

Wednesday should have enough here. No disrespect to Burton: they simply have too many injuries for a small squad to handle.

Carvalhal has plenty of options, even with players on the sidelines.

Whereas Brentford had the quality to make the most of their defensive organisation, I feel that The Brewers won’t have enough with to trouble Wednesday up front.

Step forward, Chris O’Grady.

VERDICT: Back to first half wars of attrition; Wednesday to have enough in the second period. Owls 2-0 Brewers.

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

Images: SWFC, unless stated.


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