Steven Fletcher continued his fine run of form this season at Sheffield Wednesday with a brace against Charlton Athletic on Saturday afternoon.
Sheffield Wednesday came into the weekend’s fixture looking to bounce back from five games without a victory by overcoming a Charlton side also on a poor run of late.
The Owls ran out 3-1 winners thanks to two goals from Steven Fletcher and a late clincher from Atdhe Nuhiu, moving Wednesday back to within just two points of the play-off places, having slipped out thanks to their disappointing run.
Garry Monk’s side will now be looking to push on for better results in the coming weeks, with some tough games coming up against fellow play-off hopefuls. They can use this win as a springboard to get their push back on track and gain some much-needed consistency.
One player who has seen consistency this season for Monk’s side is striker Steven Fletcher, who has been a key player in the new manager’s plans and proving why leading the line with great intelligence and experience.
Going forward, Wednesday will definitely need the frontman to continue his form if they are to break into the play-off places and cement their position there for the future. Atdhe Nuhiu was the man to partner Fletcher up front but that second slot in Monk’s attack has yet to be locked down by any of their options, leaving the burden squarely on Fletcher’s shoulders to provide for the Owls.
After a match-winning performance against Charlton, we take a closer look at the numbers behind Fletcher’s outing…
The Scottish international played the full game for Wednesday, leading the line for 98 minutes at the Valley. In that time, he scored two goals. The first was a superbly taken header from around the penalty spot, where he glanced an early cross from Barry Bannan into the far corner, leaving Dillon Phillips with no chance of getting across.
The second was a calmly converted penalty where he sent the ‘keeper the wrong way to restore the travelling side’s goal advantage with just 10 minutes to play. These two goals took Fletcher’s tally for the season to eight from 18 games.
In the game, he scored the two goals from just three shots on target, demonstrating very clinical finishing inside the box, and within that, he had just four touches in the opposition penalty area. Fletcher might have hoped for more chance to touch the ball in the final third but to be that effective despite not having many opportunities says a lot about the quality of striker he is.
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Due to this seeming lack of action on the ball, Fletcher’s ‘expected goals’ statistic for the game was at 1.15, meaning he comfortably exceeded how many it seemed he should have scored, despite having a penalty to take. Expected goals figures are sometimes tough to determine in terms of value but it does go some way to highlighting Fletcher’s ability to convert chances that a lot of strikers would struggle with.
On the ball, he managed a passing accuracy of 79%, showing great hold-up play for Garry Monk’s side to bring other players into the attack and pick the right pass whilst being very patient up front.
Fletcher’s overall form has been of great value to Wednesday this season and his goals coming just help to outline his influence more. There is far more to his game than just goals, with hold-up play, aerial presence, as well as great experience and leadership, so his impact cannot be understated for Wednesday.