Now, admittedly I’m no expert in strategy, coaching or tactics, I’m merely a fan with an opinion and outlook on post match performances, so, if notion isn’t for you, read no more.
Understandably teams often use the alternative formation based on fixtures at home and on the road, as a game develops or as substitutions are made, however, I’m talking eight alternative formations before a ball is even kicked. Don’t believe me? Here they are;
(4-2-3-1) (3-4-3) (3-5-2) (4-1-2-1-2) (3-4-1-2) (4-3-2-1) (4-3-3) (4-4-2)
Tell me a successful side that have alternated formations on a weekly or even bi-weekly basis? I certainly can’t think of one, which, takes me nicely onto the next segment, WHAT THE HELL IS WITH THE SQUAD ROTATION?
‘Here’s how the Owls line up - four players are dropped and replaced by...’ I’m sick and tired of this also, for me this is only acceptable during pre-season, cup competitions or for unforeseen circumstances like injuries and suspensions.
This is linked to my first frustration but when has a successful side EVER rotated this aggressively? Take the extreme case of a Barcelona Champions League winning side, or Leicester City winning the Premier League, Wolves last season, Newcastle the season prior and Burnley the season prior to that, you could name the starting eleven of each team right? Give or take a player or two.
My point here is that consistency is KEY, once again. To cement my point even further, I seriously couldn’t tell you the starting eleven of an Owls side that played two weeks ago or guess the starting eleven in their forthcoming fixture.
Jos have used 23 players in total this season whilst executing eight formations. Only Dawson, Lees, Bannan, Reach and Pelupessy have been named in the starting eleven in more than two-thirds of Wednesday’s outings this season. Crazy.
I would love to see Wednesday maintain a consistent formation and starting eleven which consequently plays to the strengths of each individual, particularly our stronger outfield players, which takes me onto my next point. WE DON’T PLAY TO OUR STRENGTHS.
Here I could delve into many specific cases whereby Wednesday do not play to their strengths in search for an ‘advantage’, but I’ll keep it short and sweet, here’s a couple of examples.
Without consideration to their goal-scoring ability, what attribute would you link and most associate Steven Fletcher, Lucas Joao and Atdhe Nuhiu? Their aerial ability, right? Yet Sheffield Wednesday are ranked 24th in the league for crosses per game.
I hate to say it but to put my point into perspective, our blunt neighbours have made 162 more crosses into the box this season. Aston Villa who rank 1st have made 234 more crosses than the Owls this league term. Take either figure for a moment and imagine if only 5% of those crosses were converted, then do the maths.
Now to my next point within this segment. I’m sure you would agree that Sheffield Wednesday have setup defensively more often than not this season, right? Soak up the pressure, counter-attack in hope for a scrappy 1-0 victory. There’s nothing wrong with this method if your defence is solid.
Now hold that thought and think. Haven’t Sheffield Wednesday conceded more goals than any other side overall and at home this season? Haven’t Sheffield Wednesday got the third worst goal advantage in the league? Haven’t Sheffield Wednesday only kept one clean sheet this season? So, is this seriously our strategy? We all know that attack is the best form of defence.
Jos sets up his sides to counteract the oppositions strengths far too often, a bad move in my eyes. Stick to our own strengths, play our own game, let the opposition worry about us and adapt to our playing style, we have some very talented individuals, we are good enough to execute this strategy.
Despite there being more underlying issues at the club at present, all of the above are simple fixes that frustrate me the most on match-day and something I just can’t get my head around.
My message to Jos stands clear, help yourself and bring us some consistency.