PREVIEW: Wednesday -v- Brentford

PREVIEW: Wednesday -v- Brentford

Kieran Lee’s return on Saturday helped catalyze a Wednesday side who, thus far, had struggled to fizz.

The victory over Nottingham Forest came as a result of an authoritative attacking performance that reminded fans of the very best of this Wednesday team.

A shame then, for this author, to miss his league first fixture of the season.

Carlos  – orchestrating from on high – delivered a Saturday Special of lobster and shrimp,to the relief of the attending Wednesdayites who were still struggling to digest the earlier pork-beef offerings.

Carlos’ latest food analogies aside, the feeling around Hillsborough was noticably improved by the return of Lee, Barry Bannan’s brilliant form (Bolton aside) and a solid debut for JOOOOOOOST Van Aken.

A positive atmosphere was kindled with some attractive early play that saw Jack Hunt and Adam Reach bomb down the pitch from full-back.

Lee’s return added an extra fluidity into midfield and his link up play with Gary Hooper lifted the side.

Steven Fletcher and Gary Hooper have benefited from recent goals and a developing understanding that has made them Carlos Carvalhal’s first choice front pair.

Fletcher: consistent

As for Brentford, they have undergone a strange start to their campaign: scoring seven League Cup goals in two away fixtures to progress to Round Three, while failing to notch a single league goal away from Griffin Park.

Star man Jota has left for Harry Redknapp’s latest bankruptcy project, leaving the spine of a good Championship side who, on their day, are capable of masterminding defeat of the strongest sides in this division.

Indeed, only a last minute Hutchinson header rescued a solitary point for Wednesday against the Bees last season. Former Wednesday captain Dean Smith will have enjoyed leaving Hillsborough with three points in February.

But after six games without a win this season, Smith will be under pressure to deliver soon.

The only other winless side in the Championship? Bolton.

Bolton: the reason we know that no games are gimmes at this level.

 

 

Last game Opposition Result Shots On target Corners Cards Fouls Possession
WEDNESDAY Forest (H) W 3-1 17 7 8 0 5 44%
BRENTFORD Villa (A) D 0-0 18 5 4 0 14 51%

 

Wednesday’s entertained the Hillsborough crowd and really could have been three goals in front by the break.

These two combined to give Wednesday a second lead

Chances fell to Fletcher, Hooper, Lee and van Aken before Wednesday took the lead.

Hooper gave Wednesday the lead after a sloppy clearance made its way to Bannan. The Scot remained composed to find Hooper who coolly slotted home from the penalty spot.

Ben Osborn restored parity for the visitors after a flowing Forest move, skipping past the challenge of van Aken before beating Westwood at his near post.

A hectic two minute spell in the second period swung the game firmly in Wednesday’s favour: Tom Lees cleared off his one line with Westwood beaten, only for Wednesday to counter attack and force a dubious corner after a challenge between Fletcher and Tendayi Darikwa.

Lee curled in a well paced corner for Fletcher to rise and bullet a lovely header into the Leppings Lane goal.

Provider turned scorer as Lee enjoyed a solid return to action, turning the ball home after some pinball in the Forest box.

Jacob Butterfield made his debut with a fairly tidy late foray.

Brentford may be winless in the league so far but they were unfortunate not to take all three points from Villa Park this weekend.

MUFC graduate kept Brentford at bay

Steve Bruce admitted that his goalkeeper Sam Johnstone “earned his spurs” in a performance that he rated amongst the worst he had experienced in his time as Villa boss.

Dean Smith was happy with a point but will be frustrated that his side could not find the back of the net from one of their eighteen shots.

Yoann Barbet and Ollie Watkins carried most of Brentford’s threat, while former Bee Scott Hogan came off the bench to come closest for Villa.

Tricky Spaniard Sergi Canos was withdrawn on the half hour and looks set to miss the Wednesday game after aggravating an ankle injury that ruled him out of August’s fixtures.

 

 

LAST 5 Forest (H) Burton (A) Bolton (A) Fuham (A) Sunderland (H)
WEDNESDAY W 3-1 D 1-1 L 2-3 W 1-0 D 1-1

 

LAST 5  Villa (A) Wolves (H) QPR (A) Ipswich (A) Bristol C. (H)
BRENTFORD D 0-0 D 0-0 W 4-1 L 0-2 D 2-2

 

HEAD 2 HEAD WEDNESDAY WINS BRENTFORD WINS DRAWS
  13 13 10

 

 

LAST MEETING

 

Wendesday 1-2 Brentford

21 February 2017, Hillsborough, Att: 25, 014

Forestieri 90′

Wednesday came off the back of four straight wins to lose to a resurgent Brentford at Hillsborough.

Two goals in quick succession gave the Bees a healthy cushion before half time.

Two current Wednesday ‘targets’ were key. First, Ryan Woods’ floated free-kick was headed home by John Egan, before Harlee Deen thundered home after leaping highest in the Kop six yard box.

Wednesday turned the screw after half time, with Bees’ keeper Dan Bentley making a string of fine saves to deny Rhodes, Fletcher, Forestieri and Sasso.

Forestieri would claim a 90th minute consolation with a beautifully curled shot from the corner of the box.

Wednesday stayed sixth as a result of the defeat: one of six on home soil last campaign.

 

 

CARVALHAL’S COHORTS

 

Carlos revealed on Monday that there will be late checks on the fitness of Jack Hunt, Kieran Lee, Ross Wallace and Steven Fletcher.

Expect all of them to start, then.

With options in midfield, resting Lee should not be criticised ahead of the trip to Cardiff and looming Steel City derby.

With such reliance on full-backs with the current system, Morgan Fox could return from a rest at the weekend to feature.

Joost van Aken will be hoping to build upon his solid start in blue (and white).

WESTWOOD

HUNT

LEES

VAN AKEN

REACH

WALLACE

JONES

LEE

BANNAN

HOOPER

FLETCHER

 

 

KEY PLAYERS

Bannan

BARRY BANNAN – Bolton aside, has done everything right so far this season.

His quickened his tempo with the ball, been more daring with passes, and retained his endearing tenacity without overdoing it and leaving his side exposed.

Against a tricky, mobile and dynamic Bees midfield, Bannan will have to be at his best if Wednesday are to enjoy the same chances as they did against Forest.

It is a standard of which he is well capable.

NICO YENNARIS – Bannan’s opposite number, part of the Arsenal side that collapsed against Wednesday two years ago.

Since then, Yennaris has become a dependable presence in the Brentford midfield, organising those around him and making important tackles. He will have it all to do against a Wednesday midfield that looks at its most cohesive right now.

 

 

THE BETTING BOX: 5 OF THE BEST

 

BET Wednesday WIN Brentford WIN DRAW
Lee any time BTTS Yes
BEST ODDS 11/10 11/4 11/4 5-1 Evens
BOOKIES

 

HUGH’S VERDICT:

One criticism this season has been the inconsistency in performances which show no sign of abating even though we are now in the third year of Carvalhal’s tenure.

The solid defensive display at Fulham gave way to disorganised chaos at Bolton, which in turn gave way to a shaky display at Burton Albion.

This inconsistency makes us damned difficult to predict. Throw in a couple of Carvalhal alterations and second guessing this fixture becomes an author’s minefield.

Like, who on earth would predict a solid, comfortable, *easy* 2-0 win at Bolton?

I won’t be making that mistake again.

 

VERDICT: I missed the Forest match so I’ve become used to 1-1 home draws in the league.

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

Images: SWFC, unless stated. Line up images: Getty.


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