Fulham head up to South Yorkshire on the weekend for the final Saturday 3pm kick-off of the season. Can the Whites make it an incredible 19 games unbeaten? George Singer takes a look at the threat Sheffield Wednesday will pose.
Their Recent Results
W: Sunderland 1-3 Sheff Wed
W: Sheff Wed 4-1 Preston
W: Leeds 1-2 Sheff Wed
L: Bristol City 4-0 Sheff Wed
L: Swansea City 2-0 Sheff Wed (FA Cup)
Our Recent Meetings
Aug 2017: Fulham 0-1 Sheff Wed
May 2017: Sheff Wed 1-2 Fulham
Nov 2016: Fulham 1-1 Sheff Wed
Jan 2016: Sheff Wed 2-1 Fulham (FA Cup)
Match Odds with Grosvenor Casino
Sheffield Wednesday: 3/1
Fulhamish Tip: Fulham to win and both teams to score is 12/5 with Grosvenor Casino
Where to drink
1) The Howard, Howard St, S1 2LW – This is the pub directly opposite the crossing up from the fountains by the station. This pub does some nice pub food along with a good selection of beers. It also has TVs showing live sport as well as a pool table.
2) The Devonshire Cat, 49 Wellington St, S1 4HG – This pub has around 12 hand pulled beers on offer, serves food, has a large screen tv, welcomes families (until 7pm) and is listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide.
Hello and welcome to another edition of Before the Whistle! Today I take a look at Sheffield Wednesday, who (after a change of manager) are starting to find the form which brought them all the way to the playoff final last year. What do we need to look out for, as we aim to extend our unbeaten run and keep the pressure on Cardiff?
Last time we played
Back in August, in just our 4th match of the season, the two teams met at the Cottage with equally poor records. Surprisingly, for two sides who were deemed joint-favourites to win the play-offs last year, both went into the game without a league win. It was the Owls who left the Cottage with all 3 points, leaving the Whites wondering where their first victory was going to come from.
The only goal of the match fell to Steven Fletcher, who’s well placed volley perfectly found the back of the net from an Adam Reach cross.
Jokanovic commented after the game how he was frustrated with the lack of goals scored by the team. In truth, the attack (spearheaded by Rui Fonte at the time) looked toothless, and spurned multiple chances. Now with a fully firing Mitrovic bang in form, Fulham are now a much stronger team, and can go into the game confident they can avenge the previous defeat.
How will Wednesday line up?
Since Jos Luhukay took over at Wednesday, he’s changed the team’s setup from Carvajal’s preferred 4-4-2 to a 3 at the back. Variations of a 3-5-2 now tend to be played, allowing wingbacks to push high up the pitch to support the front line.
Along with the formation changing, the new manager has also clearly preferred to use different personnel. In 40 championship games played, only one player has more than 28 appearances – the versatile Adam Reach.
After a mixed start to his tenure, which coincided with Carvajal’s immediate impact at Swansea, some were debating whether the Wednesday board made the right decision to switch managers. However, the Owls are now on a bit of a run, and are on a 3 game win streak. Whilst some of these results may have had an element of fortune to them, they are also starting to see improvements in defence and attack. xG scored per game is increaing, and conceded decreasing, suggesting the team is getting to grips with the new system.
So as the Wednesday team finally start to click, which player has been instrumental to this? Who do we need to look out for?
Man to watch
The Owls are blessed with a rich strikeforce – with many seasoned Championship strikers on their books. Naturally, with lots of first-class players going for the same position, there has been plenty of rotation across the season. The man who has been in the richest form recently, and my man to watch, is Atdhe Nuhiu.
Nuhiu is bang in form – with 5 goals and 1 assist in his last 5 games. Also, per 90 minutes, he’s been involved in more goals than any other Wednesday player. He’s found a useful habit of getting on the end of attacks in good positions, and seen by his strong xG values.
There’s no doubt that Wednesday are going to be a tough side to beat. On a nice run of form, and getting used to their new system, this isn’t an ideal time to be playing the Owls.
However, this is a record-breaking Fulham side for a reason. There’s also plenty of motivation for the Whites in the game too. We know that Cardiff have some tough games coming up, and this is the perfect opportunity to reduce the deficit, and set up an exciting end to the season.
This article was written with the aid of StrataData, which is property of Stratagem Technologies. StrataData powers the StrataBet Sports Trading Platform, in addition to StrataBet Premium Recommendations.