PREVIEW | Ipswich Town -v- Wednesday

PREVIEW | Ipswich Town -v- Wednesday

The context of a result and a performance can often change with time.

Take Saturday for instance. Should Bristol City’s good form continue, our 0-0 draw could reflect one point gained rather than two points dropped come the end of the season.

As Joe pointed out in his ramble, if Wednesday continue their little unbeaten run in our upcoming away games – with travelling Owls more successful than home birds – our Saturday stalemate won’t look so bad at all.

A good point it may turn out to be, but the game itself against Bristol was inexcusably dull.

I’d like to think I appreciate the opposition more than most when it comes to reflecting on a game. Carlos was absolutely right to be cautious of a side who had lost just twice in sixteen and had won their last two on their travels.

That said, Wednesday’s lack of enterprise with the ball was still a cause of frustration with apparent weaknesses in Bristol’s game.

Dull as dishwater

Without wanting to sound too Praise or Grumble, let’s address some common complaints:

The oft-demanded ‘Plan B’ – arrived too late with the introduction of Joao. Hooking Hooper – unknown injuries aside – ruined any transition up the pitch and Joao, unfortunately, gave the ball away at every available opportunity.

In the year of our Lord Brexit 2017, all teams must now play with ‘passion’, or pashun, because your Dad told you so when you were playing Sunday football in shorts at least four years too big for you.

Wednesday’s lack of pashun is a concern, although I’d wager that the majority of those who make the complaint on the radio and online have never considered what playing with passion might look like.

I think it’s pretty obvious that Saturday’s performance was a reflection of a very specific set of instructions. How do players inject passion into the laborious exchange of passes across the back four?

Extra pace? Angrily demanding the ball? Or by quickly doing some samba steps after making the pass?

No no no no no (Image: Metro)

Speaking of Brexit opinions; Good Football Men Pulis, Pearson and Allardyce are out of jobs and presumably atop the list of a few ‘Next Wednesday Manager’ lists.

For the love of God, no.

Returning to Saturday, how hard is it to accept that a very organised and well-drilled side came and played for a point?

The two centre-halves mopped everything up; Bristol quite literally Marlon Pack-ed the midfield to great effect. He is a good player who had an excellent game.

Ipswich are another well-drilled side coached in the image of our good friend Mick McCarthy.

Chances should be easier to come by, midfield spaces more prominent. Wednesday obviously like playing away at the minute and the lack of energy throughout or side is helped by the bigger spaces left by home sides.

One problem with that: the aforementioned McCarthy and his absolute desire to prove the impossible – that football matches can we won without scoring a goal.

 

 

To be honest I was pretty impressed with Joe’s ramble extending to ramble length: the only memorable incident in the entire match was a front row scrap on the Kop.

For god’s sake, lads, it’s not that bad.

How embarrassing.

In a nutshell, Wednesday lacked the required energy and width to get round a pretty dynamic Bristol side.

Chances were at a premium (BCFC)

Half-chances (quarter-chances, some of them, in fairness) came and went – Wallace spanked one from 20 yards that was a ball’s width from the angle of post and bar, Rhodes nodded over the bar when he had more time to steady himself. Rhodes was bundled over in the box and Bannan had his heels clipped when through on goal.

Both looked fairly decent shouts for a penalty but I would have been surprised to see them given.

The same goes for Carlos ‘I don’t like talking about referees’ Carvalhal, who has now mentioned the referee in his last forty-three post match interviews.

While we’re on his 6pm press chats, by the way, surely he doesn’t expect fans jumping for joy at the football they were served up on Sunday.

Needless criticism of fans

I get his criticism of certain supporters who have been hideous in their behaviour online, obviously.

But to call fans out for not re-creating the barra bravas of Boca Juniors on the South Stand is a bit much, Carlos.

Ipswich have suffered some up-and-down form at home this season, and have only played their twice since September: a defeat to Norwich and a pummeling of Preston.

At the weekend, they travelled up the East Coast to ‘Ull, with whom they shared four goals, surrendering an early 1-0 lead before rescuing a point with less than five to go.

David McGoldrick squandered a penalty opportunity in the second half, and the response his teammates showed to this pleased their manager:

“What really pleases me is, having had the penalty saved, it generally knocks the stuffing out of a team and gives the other side a lift.

“My lads kept going, which was great, and I think we got the point we deserved, to be quite honest.”

 

 

LAST 5 Bristol C. (H) Villa (A) Millwall (H) Barnsley (H) Derby (A) Bolton (A)
WEDNESDAY D 0-0 W 2-0 W 2-1 D 1-1 L 0-2 L 1-2

 

LAST 5  Hull (A) Preston (H) Cardiff (A) Burton (A) Norwich (H)
IPSWICH D 2-2 W 3-0 L 1-3 W 2-1 L 0-1

 

HEAD 2 HEAD WEDNESDAY WINS IPSWICH WINS DRAWS
  18 19 12

 

 

LAST MEETING

 

Ipswich 0-1 Wednesday

29 April, Portman Road, Att: 19,000

Wednesday made it six wins on the spin to confirm a play-off place down in sunny Suffolk.

The first half remained goalless although The Owls – guided by their good form and the knowledge that Leeds were taking a hammering – controlled proceedings and fashioned openings for Fletcher and Hooper.

Carlos celebrates a consecutive play-off berth

Wednesday needed to better Leeds’ result to confirm a play-off place on the day and, even though our Yorkshire rivals completed a three-goal comeback, Kieran Lee popped up to score a winner, cheered on by the inevitable chorus.

“Leeeeds, Leeeeds are falllllling aparrrrtt, again…”

The scenes that greeted the final whistle were ones of relief and expectation that in-form Wednesday could perhaps go one better this time around.

You can read JP’s ramble here.

 

 

CARVALHAL’S COHORTS

 

Fletcher could come in for Rhodes to offer Wednesday a little more physical presence at the top end.

Wednesday need to move the ball much quicker than they did against Bristol but are not likely to face the same stubborn defensive set-up.

Jacob Butterfield’s defensive contribution in the last three games has been notable, but will it be sacrificed for the quicker feet of Kieran Lee?

Morgan Fox and Jack Hunt have started consecutive games at full-back and look set to continue here.

WESTWOOD

HUNT

LEES

LOOVENS

FOX

WALLACE

LEE

BANNAN

REACH

HOOPER

FLETCHER

KEY PLAYERS

 

KIERAN LEE – Should he play.

Wednesday are desperate from some energy in midfield, for someone to link with Bannan to play defence-splitting triangles.

Lee, when allowed to drift across the pitch, can quietly become Wednesday’s most dangerous player.

He’s got a goal in him too, remember, and already has a couple on this ground in a Wednesday shirt.

JONAS KNUDSEN – Danish full-back Knudsen is almost ever-present for Ipswich, mostly featuring on the left but also centrally on occasion.

Primarily a good defender, Knudsen has provided five assists from full-back. Ipswich are very strong down both flanks, scoring most of their goals from the wings, while not conceding many from crosses or set pieces.

 

 

THE BETTING BOX: 5 OF THE BEST

 

BET Wednesday WIN Ipswich WIN DRAW
Lee any time Draw/Draw
BEST ODDS 8/5 2/1 5/2 7/1 5-1
BOOKIES

 

HUGH’S VERDICT:

No idea which Wednesday will turn up, here.

It’s not even a question of which players are to be selected. Most first choice players have shown they are capable of Messi one week and Maddix the next.

What surprises can McCarthy spring?

It looks like being a low-scoring affair, at least. God knows why Sky have picked it.

VERDICT – Continuing with the temptation of fate: Town 3-0.

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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