Sheffield Wednesday had Jordan Rhodes to thank for keeping their faint hopes of retaining Championship status alive over the weekend, with the striker on the scoresheet twice at Oakwell to end Barnsley’s unbeaten run.
It was, of course, a first win for Darren Moore as Sheffield Wednesday boss too, with 46-year-old earning reward for his faith in Rhodes over the last couple of weeks.
Rhodes has scored three goals since Moore’s appointment and registered an assist, with his performance at Oakwell emerging on the back of a couple of really encouraging weeks.
The graphic above pulls together Wyscout’s key stats following Rhodes’ performance in Saturday’s South Yorkshire derby – the most notable of which are the striker’s two goals.
Rhodes’ first came on 38 minutes as clever movement saw him meet Barry Bannan’s cross from the left to head into Brad Collins’ far corner. His second came eight minutes after half-time, with Josh Windass’ high turnover resulting in unselfish play and a simple tap-in for Rhodes to take him to six goals for the season.
Windass was repaid the favour on 70 minutes, with Rhodes setting him onto Collins’ goal. However, the forward couldn’t repeat what he’d done against Huddersfield Town days earlier by capitalising on Rhodes’ clever play.
An expected goals tally of just 0.79 suggest that this was Rhodes unearthing those predatory instincts that made him such a threat in the EFL before with Huddersfield and Blackburn Rovers.
Of course, there’s a long way to go if the 31-year-old is ever going to reach those levels again. Football League World wrote last week that if Huddersfield swoop for the striker’s service in the summer, they wouldn’t be getting the same player they initially let go to Blackburn, and that remains the same.
This performance was more about Rhodes just doing things he used to do that he’s failed to do more often than not this season.
Three touches in the penalty area outperformed his average from the 2020/21 season so far (2.31), as did all the defensive actions listed on this particular graphic: interceptions, recoveries and clearances.
Sheffield Wednesday quiz: 19 facts you may not know about Hillsborough – But are they true?
It’s sod’s law for Sheffield Wednesday that Rhodes’ best run of form for the club looks like it’s coming just months before his contract expires in the summer.
What it’s taken is his fifth permanent manager since 2017 to get him going in Darren Moore.
Links to Huddersfield remain at this moment in time and Rhodes is doing a good job in putting himself in the shop window heading into the summer, showing the type of form Wednesday have been expecting for some time.