Wednesday v Ipswich – The Stats

Sheffield Wednesday fans got a bit of a jolt back to earth this weekend in the 2-1 defeat to Ipswich Town, though it may well have been the reality check that some of us needed after the Bristol City and Mansfield Town games.

The Tractor Boys were our first real test of the season and provide a better way to compare ourselves to other teams in the Championship, and while a result wasn’t forthcoming,‘s stats show there were positives to take from it.

Sadly this game wasn’t available on a stream so I had to make do with listening to the game online from Johannesburg and ‘watching’ it on Twitter, however it did feel like Ipswich were deserving of their win.

Breakdown –

Unlike in the Bristol game, Wednesday bossed the passing stats against Ipswich, just not where it actually counted.

The Owls had more possession (56.7%), a higher pass completion rate (73%/60%), as well as making more total (425/277) and accurate passes (312/167), yet Ipswich managed to make 15 key passes in the game compared to just six from Wednesday.

I think the fact that Tom Lees and Glenn Loovens, Wednesday’s centre backs, both made more passes (58 and 43) than any other players on the field, shows just how ineffective we were going forward, while Jack Hunt (2) was the only Owl that made more than one key pass.

On the opposite side of the field, there were five players that made two key passes or more, with Daryl Murphy and Ainsley Maitland-Niles making three each, showing a far more creative edge to them.

Only Lewis McGugan (83.3%), Marco Matias (81.8%) and Alex Lopez (81.6%) managed to achieve more than 80% pass completion for Wednesday in the game, other than second half substitute, Kieran Lee, who got 94% in his 12-minute cameo.

Carlos Carvalhal will be disappointed with the lack of chances created by Wednesday against Ipswich, especially given that his team managed to get only three shots on target all game.

Mick McCarthy’s side, meanwhile, had 10 more shots on goal than the Owls (17/10), getting eight on target and having four blocked, with Freddie Sears (6) almost having as many shots on his own as the entire Wednesday team.

The game could have been different had Matias managed to score rather than hitting the post early on, but it could also be said that it could have been worse had it not been for Keiren Westwood and Joe Wildsmith, or McGugan’s goalline clearance.

Last week we saw some great wingplay from Hunt at right-back, but this time around none of his three dribbles were successful, and Wednesday managed to only manage two successful dribbles all game (Matias & Lopez), compared to six from Ipswich (4 from Sears alone).

It’s interesting to note that Atdhe Nuhiu, despite playing less than 40 minutes, won more aerial battles than any other player on the field (6), and may have shown why he could be an important part of the puzzle this season.

It became apparent very early in the game that Ipswich had targeted Jeremy Helan and the left-back position as a Wednesday weak point, something that Maitland-Niles managed to exploit brilliantly.

While Helan did complete the joint-highest amount of tackles in the game (3), Maitland-Niles did manage to get in 11 crosses, four of which found their target. Helan also made more clearances than any other Wednesday player (7), though I think that that was just down to how much play was coming down his side.

Once again Sam Hutchinson was Carvalhal’s best recovering player in the midfield, making four interceptions, but Ipswich bossed the tackling stats by winning 85% of theirs compared to just 65% for Wednesday.

Meanwhile, McGugan and Loovens headed the shots blocked category with two each, and Ipswich’s Ryan Fraser (4) made the most fouls.

It was always going to be a much tougher opponent today than Bristol were, and while Wednesday’s keeping of possession was an improvement on the previous game, they did a lot less with it.

Matias and Lucas Joao didn’t get much joy in their positions, making just 59 touches between them, and maybe people were expecting a bit much from Joao following his performance against Mansfield.

Loovens and Helan both seemed to get caught out today, and Carvalhal may well be looking to change up that left-hand side in the next game.

The guys are going to need to be a lot more forward thinking against Reading next week if they’re going to make something of their improved possession stats, as keeping the ball is obviously no use if all your possession is in your own half.

Sheffield Wednesday

Best Of The Best*
Most Passes – Tom Lees (SWFC) – 55
Best Pass Completion* – Lucas Joao (SWFC) – 88%
Most Successful Dribbles – Freddie Sears (ITFC) – 2
Most Successful Tackles – Jeremy Helan (SWFC) – 3
Most Key Passes – Daryl Murphy/Ainsley Maitland-Niles (ITFC) – 3
Most Interceptions – Luke Chambers/Tommy Smith/Sam Hutchinson (ITFC/SWFC) – 4
Most Crosses – Ainsley Maitland-Niles (ITFC) – 11
All stats via

*Played more than 15 minutes

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