Sheffield Wednesday fans were probably very surprised to see that their team were the ones to break Barnsley’s impressive unbeaten streak last week in a 2-1 victory at Oakwell.
Some impressive tactical work from Darren Moore which saw the Owls match the Tykes’ tactics ended up being a crucial factor for the win, and Jordan Rhodes was the match-winner after netting a brace.
If supporters thought Barnsley were going to represent a tough test, then Watford will bring an even bigger one this Friday as their attacking triumvirate of Ismaila Sarr, Joao Pedro and Ken Sema will look to profit against a defence that has been pretty leaky this season.
Moore will have some big decisions to make ahead of the match at Vicarage Road – let’s look at a few dilemmas he will be considering ahead of game-day.
A more defensive mindset?
Moore’s biggest issue this week will be figuring out how to stop Watford’s dangerous attacking prowess, and it isn’t just restricted to the forward players.
You’ll often see the full-backs of the Hornets bombing on when they’re on the attack, with Kiko Femenia and Adam Masina proving a massive threat in that role.
But the one player who needs to be paid close attention to of course is Sarr, and it’s ridiculous that he is still in the Championship at this point as he’s a Premier League quality player – perhaps a European competition-quality one.
The Owls boss needs to find a way to counter-act that, and it’s likely he will stick with three centre-backs and wing-backs that started against Barnsley.
He won’t have much choice but to go with the same five that started against the Tykes due to injuries, but it may be a case of simply stifling the Watford attack by keeping wing-backs Adam Reach and Liam Palmer back on the defensive end rather than bombing forward.
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Wildsmith or Westwood in-between the sticks?
Veteran stopper Keiren Westwood has regained the starting shirt at Hillsborough this season, but he had to pull out of the Barnsley win in the warm-up due to picking up an injury.
The former Ireland international re-aggravated a rib issue and it meant that Joe Wildsmith was given another chance to impress between the sticks, having played 15 times this season.
And with the old cliche of ‘never change a winning team’, does Moore stick with the 25-year-old even if Westwood has fully recovered?
Ask Wednesday fans and a lot would probably want Westwood back in, but a case can definitely be made for Wildsmith to keep the shirt until a mistake is made.