PREVIEW | Derby -v Wednesday

PREVIEW | Derby -v Wednesday

Consistently inconsistent.

Wednesday’s season so far has been a curious affair.

After a shaky start, a couple of wins and a scoring run from Hooper set the season alight. Derby disaster and a surrender at Birmingham had many lighting 140 character Carvalhal effigies. A 3-0 trouncing of Leeds extinguished many of those flames.

Our second defeat to hapless Bolton has put the Head Coach under significant pressure.

Carlos revealed recently that Dejphon Chansiri wanted to sit alongside him on the bench against Leeds. Even if you take this as the dreaded ‘vote of confidence’ – from which managers usually last another three or four days – it’s hard to envisage a situation currently where the chairman would let his man go.

Defeat at Derby would increase fan unrest but, in isolation, a loss to a fellow promotion contender away from home would not be enough to engage Carvalhal’s ejector seat.

Even to the happiest of clappers, our progress or lack thereof has been a major disappointment.

The biggest question lies with the two words that began this preview: consistently inconsistent.

How can the coach, and this set of established, well-rounded players be capable of turning in such catastrophically poor performances in the wake of excellent displays in previous games?

Carvalhal has managed Besiktas. Our players have experienced Old Firm, Tyne-Wear and Second City derbies. How on earth could coaches and players so fatally prepare for the Steel City derby after two consecutive wins?

Why has our team of internationals gifted two very poor sides their first victories of the campaign?

‘Who is at fault: squad or gaffer?’ is a rhetorical question because the end result – if performances continue for a lengthy period – will always be the same.

Carvalhal has turned results around before, but as more time passes the higher the expectations become. I really hope he does but, like many fellow clappers, I’m starting to lose faith.

Whoever is advising the chairman is surely looking at available replacements? The British game is a awash with the tired and tested, so surely another left-field appointment will follow when the time comes.

For now, Carvalhal has a chance to turn his fortunes around with a performance at Derby.

 

 

 

Last game Opposition Result Shots On target Corners Cards Fouls Possession
WEDNESDAY Bolton (A) L 1-2 16 10 6 3 10 67%
DERBY Forest (H) W 2-0 14 4 7 0 10 43%

 

Wednesday were embarrassed by Bolton Wanderers for the second time this season.

Unbelievably, the home side had not scored since their 3-2 victory over ourselves almost two months ago.

The returning Sammy Ameobi took advantage of a slip from Kieran Lee to bend the ball beyond Joe Wildmsith after just ten minutes.

Wednesday were slow, sluggish and uninspiring for the remainder of the first half and struggled to get going in the second, despite a double change at half time.

Bolton took advantage of the away side’s incompetence and made it 2-0 after Sam Hutchinson deflected the ball past his own ‘keeper.

Wednesday fell to another disappointing defeat

Wednesday began to turn the screw and were rewarded with a succession of good chances.

Kieran Lee poked home after Felipe Morais handled the ball deliberately in the box: that Lee converted the chance saved the Bolton midfielder from a certain red card.

Jordan Rhodes missed two excellent chances inside the six yard box: first by getting under an Adam Reach cross, and second by attempting to head a low ball from the right.

Lee was then involved in the game’s most controversial moment, after being scythed down in the Bolton box, the Oldham-born midfielder was inexplicably booked for diving.

It finished 2-1 and, despite past promises that referees would never be the focus of his post-match attention, Carlos Carvalhal took the easy option.

Pressure: pushing down on me, pushing down on you

His interview did not make for appeasing listening.

“The fans are unhappy and they have reasons to be unhappy. I agree with them because I am unhappy.

“But we are not far from the first positions and all teams are losing points. We still believe we can achieve promotion this season.”

Derby took the spoils in their 100th competitive meeting with Nottingham Forest.

Matej Vydra netted the fastest goal of the Championship season so far to put the Rams ahead inside one minute after a well-worked throw in.

Forest then went on to control proceedings, but could not force an equaliser before the break despite the best efforts of Daryl Murphy and Barrie McKay.

The chances followed for the visitors after half time, with young forward Jason Cummings poking an effort over the bar from a Ben Osborn cross.

David Nugent put the hosts two up, with Tom Lawrence almost adding a third from two set pieces.

Derby were winless in four before victory over their closest rivals; they sit just behind Wednesday in the table with sixteen points from eleven games.

 

 

LAST 5 Bolton (A) Leeds (H) Birmingham (A) United (H) Cardiff (A)
WEDNESDAY L 1-2 W 3-0 L 0-1 L 2-4 D 1-1
LAST 5  Forest (H) Cardiff (A) Brentford (A) Birmingham (H) Bristol (A)
DERBY W 2-0 D 0-0 D 1-1 D 1-1 L 1-4

 

HEAD 2 HEAD WEDNESDAY WINS DERBY WINS DRAWS
  43 50 38

 

 

LAST MEETING

 

Wednesday 2-1 Derby

22 April 2017, Hillsborough, Att: 28, 889

Fletcher 58′, Hooper 64′

Wednesday ensured it would be a comfortable climax to the season with a sixth consecutive win.

Carvalhal’s boys ended the Derby hoodoo – taking our first win against the Rams in eight attempts at Hillsborough.

With Leeds toppled by Burton Albion, Wednesday knew that victory against Derby would need just two points from their remaining two games to secure a second consecutive play-off berth.

Darren Bent gave the Rams the lead just after the break, but Wednesday came flowing back with two goals in six minutes to secure a win.

First, Steven Fletcher poked forced home a headed cutback from Gary Hooper, before Hooper himself capitalised on some poor goalkeeping from Scott Carson to make it 2-1.

You can read Billy’s ramble here.

 

 

CARVALHAL’S COHORTS

 

I seem to mention this with regularity these days, but surely changes have to follow a defeat at Bolton.

Sam Hutchinson made his comeback from the bench, only to score an own goal. Glenn Loovens edges closer to a welcome return at centre-half, and should slot in alongside Tom Lees to give JvA a handy education from the bench.

Both are unlikely starters at Derby however.

The top two will continue, leaving Carlos’ other favourites clambering for positions. Adam Reach had a torrid time at Bolton but should feature somewhere on the left. Questions over others – Bannan, Jones, Wallace – and their ability to turn in 10/10 performances one week, followed quickly by abject displays, continue.

Barring strikingly obvious set-up changes – obvious to many, less so to Carvalhal – Wednesday will continue with their rigid, narrow 4-4-2.

Joe Wildsmith made an error in the lead up to Bolton’s second on Saturday, but otherwise the young stopper has been excellent and should continue between the sticks regardless of Kieren Westwood’s fitness.

 

WILDSMITH

PALMER

LEES

VAN AKEN

REACH

WALLACE

LEE

JONES

BANNAN

HOOPER

FLETCHER

 

KEY PLAYERS

 

GARY HOOPER – Again.

TOM LAWRENCE – The Manchester United trainee made his name with a string of successful Championship loan spells and became the hottest property on the market last summer.

His year at Ipswich Town showcased all of his quite exceptional talents: fleet-footed trickery, exquisite pace, mature thinking on the ball.

Lawrence would be an asset to any side at this level and his form this season saw him included in the Welsh side, filling the boots of the injured Gareth Bale.

Nine goals from 32 starts last sesaon, he is yet to find the net this campaign.

Don’t bet against Wednesday breaking another duck.


 

THE BETTING BOX: 5 OF THE BEST

 

BET Wednesday WIN Derby WIN DRAW
Lee FGS BTTS Yes
BEST ODDS 13/5 13/10 12/5 18/1 Evs
BOOKIES Various

 

HUGH’S VERDICT:

I really cannot envisage a way that Wednesday will win this game.

Derby – our bogey side, have exactly the sort of players that trouble our defence at the best of times. Unfortunately, our defence is going through an unforgiving and extended poor patch.

Will Excellent Wednesday or Terrible Wednesday arrive at the iPro? As ever, it’s difficult to tell.

This has become a high pressure game and pressure is something that this squad and its management are not responding well to right now.

VERDICT: Please don’t lose Wednesday, for goodness sake.

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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