Hello all, and slight apologies for inevitably jinxing it in the middle of the week and predicting that we would get a draw. It was a frustrating game, where the same issues arose – our lack of creativity in the midfield, sloppy defending and an attack that looks short of goals. All in all then, a real recipe for frustrating football and that truly game to fruition once more on Wednesday. Back to league action then this weekend as the players prepare themselves (and arguably the supporters do so as well) for the visit of Sheffield Wednesday.
To say that this is a must win game may appear over dramatic to some, but with QPR seemingly having turned a corner having strengthened their forward line with the loan signings of Hemed and Wells, it’s of paramount importance we too get off the mark and I see this weekend as a very good opportunity to do so. A win could take us hypothetically up to the dizzying heights of 16th should we do so. A quick glance of the league table shows that we have now played all of the teams currently sat in the play-off places which does illustrate the tough spell of matches we’ve had at the start of this season with Saturday appearing to be the easiest clash we’ve had so far based on league table alone.
So, our opponents then. Sheffield Wednesday have won their last two, picking up maximum points in consecutive home fixtures against Millwall and one of two other winless sides aside from us Ipswich Town. Although I think asa club they have stagnated somewhat since their play off final defeat to Hull a few seasons ago, they do have proven Championship quality throughout their squad. I’ve always been impressed with Barry Bannan for example, who demonstrated his quality with a screamer against Millwall in the victory mentioned above. The industrious Scot is something that I’ve felt we’ve been desperately missing this year and hopefully we’ve plugged that gap with the announcement of Saeid Ezatolahi on loan from FC Rostov. Bannan incidentally extended his contract with The Owls this week, further demonstrating his importance. I believe the attacking options Wednesday have are a lot stronger than many teams in the division, with Lucas Joao, Adehe Nuhiu, Steven Fletcher and Fernando Forestieri all vying for a place in the starting line-up. With attacking options like that, you’d be surprised should Wednesday fail to score in too many games this year. Defensively however I am l
less convinced. Jordan Thorniley and Matt Penney started last time out and even though both are exciting prospects they’re inexperienced and hopefully that’s an area we can exploit. Then again, the experience of Paul McShane hasn’t exactly helped us much this year…
I think without wishing to simply sit here and list the full squad, Wednesday have a lot of talent throughout their squad. They have quality throughout their first team and subs bench, with back-up available in most areas. Jos Luhukay is the main leading the Owls this year and has enjoyed a mixed start. Before the two recent victories, there were even segments of the Hillsborough crowd booing the teams performance. He hasn’t enjoyed the brightest of starts but it’ll be interesting to see if he and his side have turned a corner following two consecutive victories in the league. Although he is not necessarily a household name for Championship supporters, the 55 year old has an impressive CV in Germany, managing big clubs such as Monchengladbach, Stuttgart and Hertha Berlin. Although he has previously endured some difficult relationships off the field with boards, resigning from Stuttgart after just 5 games following a dispute with the chairman, he has an impressive win rate averaging 41%. Then again, other managers such as Leonard Slutsky have had impressive CV’s abroad and struggled in this league. It’ll be interesting to see if he can adapt over the course of this season to his new surroundings.
Predictions time. I’m going to go with a narrow home win. Why? Heart over head. 2-1 Reading.