This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Sheffield Wednesday have entered the second international break of the season in a pretty decent spot as they currently occupy eighth place, just one point from being firmly in playoff contention, but it still could have been even better.
Experimental361‘s Expected Goals Table for the season so far suggests that the Owls should be sitting pretty in fifth spot, which is three places better off from where they currently lie.
The model suggests that Wednesday could have lost two fewer matches, but may have also won one game less, meaning those three matches should have indeed been draws instead – though, it ultimately makes no difference to their points tally.
Garry Monk has enjoyed the start of his reign at Hillsborough, picking up ten points from a possible 15, but the xG table could prove to be vital in telling the 40-year-old where improvements need to be made.
On the Chalkboard
According to the table above, Wednesday should have scored around 2.3 fewer goals, which could be a reason behind them winning one less game and picking up those additional draws.
This would suggest that the Owls have been rather lucky in front of goal – by contrast, Leeds United should be 7.4 goals better off, so they’ve clearly not had the rub of the green yet this season.
Football FanCast have already highlighted the team’s reliance on top goalscorer Steven Fletcher, who has scored five of their 16 goals in the Championship this term – the fact that they should have scored less only adds to this argument.
In south Yorkshire last season, goals were shared out as five players contributed with six or more – Fletcher top-scored, but only by the one finish as Lucas Joao managed to net ten times, per WhoScored.
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Currently, there is a considerable gap between the 32-year-old and the ‘next best’ if you like, Kadeem Harris, who has scored twice in their 11 matches.
There’s no simple solution to this as if Monk truly wants to resolve it soon, he may need to dip into the transfer market, but that is something they are unable to do until January.
Therefore, he’s going to have to find a way to get Fletcher’s potential strike partners, namely Sam Winnall, Atdhe Nuhiu and now Fernando Forestieri, firing them in too – or look for better returns from out wide and in midfield before the Championship resumes service once again.
Should Rhodes be given a chance?