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sheffield wednesday vs southampton preview 04 08 2023 sport preview

Sheffield Wednesday vs Southampton.. betting preview

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Friday, 8:00pm: EFL Championship – Sheffield Wednesday vs Southampton

The Championship curtain raiser can be tough to predict. In recent years, we’ve seen three 1-0 wins as well as several end-to-end barnstormers, including a 3-3 draw.

Sheffield Wednesday playing their first game back in the Championship at a packed Hillsborough would usually make them worth a punt, but not this season.

The Owls have changed tact with the appointment of Xisco Munoz, whose style wasn’t widely appreciated at Watford where he was dug out by individual talent.

Wednesday doesn’t have that luxury yet. They’ve switched formation and style but they still aren’t done recruiting in very key positions, so they’re a working progress.

Callum Paterson, Michael Ihiekwe, Dominic Iorfa and Akin Famewo, a centre-back transitioning to a left-back under Munoz, are likely to line up in a back four.

Southampton were a shambles last season but at least they hit the reset button early. Jason Wilcox and Russell Martin’s arrival signalled a shift to possession-based football.

The Saints look much further down the road in terms of development and they have a more talented group of players, although they do need work too.

The expectation is still that Romeo Lavia and James Ward-Prowse will leave the club, but both were involved in a 1-0 defeat to AZ Alkmaar at the weekend.

Regardless of what happens with those players, Will Smallbone looks technically sound and has an important role to play in the middle, while Samuel Edozie and Nathan Tella look a real threat at this level.

Meanwhile, the tactically flexible Munoz wants his side to be able to adapt game by game and play a variety of formations, most of which are a departure from three at the back.

In the middle of the park, George Byers has recently returned from a serious hamstring injury while Will Vaulks doesn’t look like a strong option at the base of midfield.

Barry Bannan will probably be pinging passes until he’s 50 and he will need to be at his absolute best to cope against the press of Southampton.

Russell Martin’s side looked sharp against AZ and was able to pinch possession high up the field often, most notably when Nathan Tella should have given them the lead.

The dynamism of their midfield and front line should allow them to dominate possession and win the battle in the middle of the park while Wednesday may take time to adjust to the pace.

Wednesday’s Michael Smith and Lee Gregory aren’t prolific at this level, but Southampton’s Adam Amstrong scored 28 goals for Blackburn while Che Adams found the net 22 times for Birmingham.

Still, we have to acknowledge the Yorkshire side is unbeaten in 24 competitive matches at home and the visitors were a train wreck on their travels in the Premier League.

That said, we’re going to draw parallels to Burnley beating Huddersfield 1-0 to kick off last season. No one knew what to expect from Kompany and a side making a huge transition.

The Saints are in the same boat and although it will take time, we think Russell Martin will show the league what his side is all about. Bet on the visitors to win.

We’re also going to predict it’ll be a slow start to the season for these sides with time needed to build relationships in attack, so a low-scoring game is possible.

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