PREVIEW: Watford FC vs SWFC

After a vital international break in which Darren Moore has been able to instil further elements of his footballing philosophy, the Owls face one of the toughest tests possible: Watford FC away.

The Hornets are THE in-form side, having won nine out of their last ten and sit in second place.

Defensively, the Hertfordshire-based club have been league leaders with a joint-best 18 clean sheets alongside a table-topping 0.7 goals conceded per game.

The likes of Francisco Sierralta and William Troost-Ekong have been influential in such a successful campaign and will certainly be tough for the likes of Rhodes and Windass to breach. 

At the other end of the pitch, Watford have been just as impressive. Top scorers Ismaila Sarr and Joao Pedro each have nine goals to their name so far. 

For the Owls, there is no underestimating the importance of the international break.

Darren Moore said himself how only now he has been able to open up training to full-pitch work, something I found a stark surprise. 


Having seemingly found a formula that was working, Moore and his staff have a solid platform to build upon; the Owls need to come straight out of the blocks against Watford.

For me, the Owls need a minimum of three points from the Easter fixtures to keep any faint hopes of survival alive. A win against the Hornets would do wonders for both our points tally and morale.

One mustn’t forget that Barnsley were on an equally impressive run before we played them and look how that went.

In terms of team selection, why change a winning starting XI? There was a great balance and, more importantly, fight in the team that faced the Tykes – and they all deserve to keep their starting berth.

My starting XI – Wildsmith; Urhoghide, Lees, Borner; Palmer, Pelupessy, Bannan, Reach, Paterson; Windass, Rhodes

Score Prediction – 1-1. The Owls will need an impressive performance to get a point from this game but, with some quality time spent on the training pitches and the momentum from the South Yorkshire derby win, I think Wednesday might just have enough.  

Ahead of the games, and as part of our ‘Opposition View’, I spoke to Watford fan and analyst Jordan (@JordanWiemer) about all things the Hornets…

Which players do Wednesday need to keep their eyes on?

Kiko Femenia at right-back and Ismaila Sarr at right-wing are our main threat. But there are fitness concerns for Sarr, if he’s not playing then Phillip Zinckernagel is the one to keep an eye on. An excellent technician, with a deadly right foot. He could play in central midfield, or out wide.

Sarr in action. Image: theathletic.co.uk

If you could bring one Wednesday player to Watford FC, who would it be and why?

I’m a big fan of Barry Bannan. Certainly not the most realistic option, but I love watching the man play. 

How would you describe Xisco Muñoz’s tenure at the club?

It was a very bumpy beginning. The football at first was awful, unimaginative, slow, and ineffective. But after a switch to a 4-3-3 and a change in approach, we look infinitely better. Players are playing in their best roles (ie Will Hughes) and we look like we’re enjoying our football again. 

Where do you think you’ll finish this season?

I’m going to remain positive and say second. Obviously, we’ve been on a fantastic run, which has boosted the fanbases confidence massively. The most positive thing for me is that the wins have all felt well deserved and the performance levels have been excellent. 

Finally, what’s your score prediction?

Tough one, I’m going to go 2-1 Watford. I’m remaining positive, but after watching your recent games, I’m thinking there will be opportunities for you to hurt us. We all know with how Wednesday play that you’re going to have to be clinical when given the opportunity, but with Jordan Rhodes in the box, there’s always a chance.

Many thanks to Jordan for taking the time to answer our questions, and good luck to the Hornets for the rest of the season (just not today!).

UTO!

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