CHAMPIONSHIP specialist Vince Blissett (@Vince_RFC) shares his verdict from Saturday evening's contest between Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest.
Sheffield Wednesday v Nottingham Forest | Saturday 8th September 2017, 17:30 | Sky Sports
The start of autumn might mean the return of Saturday evenings spent watching Strictly and X-Factor for many but there’s still Championship teatime action to take in beforehand.
This week it’s Sheffield Wednesday v Nottingham Forest. For what it’s worth, neither of those are for me, I’m more of an I’m a Celeb kind of guy…
Anyway, I’m not all that sure on Sheffield Wednesday, although I wasn’t last season either despite finishing fourth. This time around though they’ve had a quiet summer transfer-wise and stood still whilst the teams around them have been busy.
It’s not always the worst of plans but the problems still exist. For me, they lack an identity, a team full of individuals rather than a team. It’s hard to figure out what the plan is up there and it could turn into a frustrating season.
The retention of Carlos Carvahal is a discussion for another time but it could be a decision that comes back to haunt them.
Wednesday have had a lack of bodies in defence to start the season, which hasn’t helped them. Glenn Loovens went off injured near the start of the second game and since then left back Daniel Pudil has had to slot in centre back.
During the break Joost Van Aken was bought in from Heerenveen and should go into the starting line-up meaning they can field two specialist centre backs for the first time since Loovens went down.
Nottingham Forest were on Sky two weeks ago so there’s no need to repeat myself on them.
In short, they’re a young exciting team who could surprise a few over the course of the season. In that game against Leeds though they were very poor which, I suspect was a mixture of a bad day at the office and coming up against a solid defence.
The way Forest set up with bags of youth and pace may see them perform better away and against an reshuffled and/or new defensive line, they could well get on the scoresheet. They’ve managed that in every game so far except that Leeds encounter and have put in good attacking performances in both away games, winning 4-3 at Brentford and losing 2-1 at Barnsley.
The Owls haven’t been as exciting to watch but have still been scoring and leaking a few goals. Three 1-1 draws, a 1-0 win and a 1-0 loss is a solid if unspectacular start.
Wins are needed though and the fixtures aren’t great on paper over the next few weeks so a first home win would helpful. I wouldn’t want to put money on it though, especially at odds-on.
Twenty-one of Sheffield Wednesday’s 56 attempts on goal have come from set-pieces in the first five games, that’s 37.5%. Only Ipswich (40%) have a higher ratio. The Owls haven’t scored from any of those attempts but it should be a concerning statistic to Mark Warburton.
The reason being, Forest have conceded five goals from set-pieces in five games so there’s a chance of Wednesday profiting from dead-ball situations.
There’s an opportunity in the goalscorer market there but unfortunately Wednesday don’t possess any prolific centre-backs. Tom Lees has scored four in 176 games since the start of 201/14 whilst Van Aken is an unknown quantity. Although a big guy at 6’3 he scored three Eredivisie goals in 84 appearances so isn’t worth looking at either.
A big price pick might be good but the head says there will be better chances to back goalscoring defenders against Forest. Instead going back to goals in general is the better option.
Over 2.5 Goals hasn’t landed in any of Sheffield Wednesday’s games so far which, although entirely plausible to happen, instantly puts me off. At not too much of a shorter price Both Teams To Score at 19/20 (188BET) appeals though.
As mentioned, Wednesday have had three 1-1’s, a scoreline that’s possible once again but it’s Forest’s ability to score and also concede that puts the final tick in the box.
Sheffield Wednesday v Nottingham Forest – Both Teams To Score (19/20 188BET)