Sheffield Wednesday failed to sign a striker on Deadline Day and faith is in the hands of the squad Garry Monk built at Hillsborough as the Owls look to avoid relegation.
Fresh off the back of the January transfer window closing, Wednesday beat AFC Bournemouth 2-1. Monk’s summer signing, Callum Paterson, opened the scoring with his fifth goal of the season and Jordan Rhodes scored the winner after Junior Stanislas had pegged the Owls back.
Goals have been hard to come by at Hillsborough this season, particularly for Wednesday’s strikers despite midweek heroics.
Bannan? Reach? – Can you name which Sheffield Wednesday player scored each these 15 goals this season?
Rhodes might have scored the winner on Tuesday, but he’s still a figure that Neil Thompson is unable to rely on to score the goals to keep Wednesday in the Championship. Perhaps the interim boss might be better turning to the man that opened the scoring for him: Paterson.
A summer signing from Cardiff City, Paterson has done a decent job of what is asked of him at Hillsborough.
Glancing through his page on whoscored.com, you see where he strengths lie: tackling, heading and holding possession. It’s also blatantly obvious that he isn’t quite the man for free-flowing football given a pass success of 63.3% (Wyscout) in the Championship this season.
However, Paterson’s strengths are useful if you play to them.
The versatile forward attempts 11.8 aerial duels per 90 and has a success rate of 38.8%. He’s strong in the air and playing direct towards him, he will always give you an outlet at the top of the field.
The 26-year-old also averages almost five ball recoveries per game (4.48). Paterson is probably at his best utilised as a forward, but you get more from him than your standard striker in this regard.
As things stand, Paterson is Wednesday’s leading goalscorer this season with five goals in 23 Championship appearances. Impressively, those goals have come from a total of just 20 shots; success of 25% is not to be sniffed at.
There are areas of Paterson’s strike play he can improve, though. An average of 1.58 touches in the penalty area per 90 is low for a striker and, given the success Paterson actually has in terms of scoring goals, this needs to be worked on if Wednesday are to start scoring more regularly.
Rhodes, rightly, stole the headlines for his winner at Bournemouth this week. However, the stats tell you that Paterson is the man that’s got the potential to carry Wednesday’s attack as it is after January.
Play to his strengths, work on his weaknesses and Wednesday might just have a chance of escaping relegation.