Owls Turning a Corner
Sheffield Wednesday – what’s next.
Sheffield Wednesday’s 2-1 victory on Saturday may have come against a Wigan Athletic team battling poor form on the field and toxic headlines off it but it was a win all the same and, in recent months, these have been particularly hard to come by for the Owls. Now, having climbed up to 13th in the table, Stuart Gray will be desperate for his team to kick on, improve their odds in the Championship betting and make a real push for the play-offs.
End of a Long Run
Saturday’s win, secured with two Stevie May goals following Chris McCann’s first half header, was the first time that Wednesday have won in 11 league matches- a run that stretches back to the 20th September when May was the hero again, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win over Reading. The result was also significant because it came almost a year to the day since the last time Wednesday came from behind to win in the league- the last time they managed that feat was a 2-1 win over Leicester City on 3rd December 2013.
Wednesday have three things to thank for the fact that their awful run has not resulted in them being pulled into the relegation scrap. The first is the good start that they made to the season- after eight games they had secured 15 points, in the following 11 games they have only managed to secure a further 10. The second thing they have to thank is the disappointing standard of the bottom half of the Championship- only really Birmingham City, Bolton Wanderers and Fulham have shown any hint of consistency in recent weeks. If any of the teams in the bottom half could put a run together then they could rid themselves of relegation worries and be looking towards the play-offs by Christmas.
Picking up Points
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Wednesday’s winless run has included a number of significant draws against the likes of Charlton, Leeds United and Norwich City. Whilst the Owls may not have been winning matches they have, at least, still been picking up points. Looking at the results it is clear that Wednesday’s defence has had a huge part to play in ensuring that their points tally has continued to tick over – four of the club’s last seven league games have ended in 0-0 draws.
In highlighting the Owls’ defence as their biggest asset it becomes clear that their most significant area of weakness is their attack. The club have only conceded 15 goals in the league this season (only Middlesbrough have conceded fewer) but, by the same token they have only scored 14 (only Blackpool have scored fewer). If Stuart Gray can get his side firing going forward and end the over-reliance on May (who has scored more than a third of the team’s league goals), then they could be set for an excellent few months. There is often a club who makes a run towards the play-offs in the second half of the season, if Wednesday can build on their defence, and the win against Wigan Athletic, then there is no reason why it should not be them. Next up for the Owls is a trip to Blackburn Rovers next Saturday.