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Five things we learned from Rochdale

Five things we learned from Rochdale

Wednesday started their new npower League One season with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Rochdale at Hillsborough on Saturday.

We take a look at five things that we can expect from the Owls for the season ahead.

1. We're going to be a solid unit and hard to beat.

Anyone who knows anything about football will know Gary Megson sets his sides up so that they're hard to beat. Some call it boring football, others call it effective. It was certainly effective against Rochdale yesterday, and it should be the case throughout this season.

Wednesday were leaking goals left, right and centre last season, and Megson sorted out that to an extent when he came in. He's spent the summer bringing in players to bolster the Owls' defensive ranks and it's certainly done the trick. Strong, experienced heads at the back - and the one who doesn't have the experience, in on-loan Danny Batth, appears to have the experience beyond his years.

It's not just the defence though, Wednesday were defending from the front, with the front two in Gary Madine and Clinton Morrison working their socks off throughout. It may be a different strike pairing come the end of the month, but the same will be expected.

In David Prutton and Jose Semedo, too, the Owls look strong and solid all over the park and teams won't relish coming up against Megson's men this season.

2. We have a midfield!

Following on from the praise for Prutton and Semedo in the middle of the park, isn't it refreshing to see a central midfield pairing that look excellent, at least at this level.

We may only be one game in, but the pair showed more in 90 minutes than James O'Connor and Darren Potter did throughout their time playing together at S6.

That area has been a problem position for the Owls for years and we finally seem to have sorted it. Semedo has no problem in doing the 'dirty work', running around tirelessly, while Prutton looks a very calm head in his passing and control of the game.

We may also see an influx of goals from this area, with Prutton showing exactly what he can do with his thunderbolt yesterday. Glenn Whelan made a habit of grabbing crucial goals during his time at S6 and Prutton could well grab ten goals from midfield this season - something which could well be crucial.

3. We're going to be a big threat from set pieces.

Both of yesterday's goals came from set-pieces, either directly or in-directly.

The first came thanks to a giant throw from new addition Julian Bennett, with Rob Jones towering over his markers to head Wednesday in front. The second came from a corner kick, with Rochdale clearing the danger only to see Prutton lash an unstoppable effort into the back of the net from the edge of the box.

In fact, every time Wednesday had either a corner kick or a throw-in in dangerous territory, there was a feeling that we could score from it.

In Bennett, we knew we were getting a very accomplished defender - Forest fans let us know that. What we didn't know was that we had a long throw-in specialist. More direct and with more power than Tommy Spurr, who had a go himself before his departure.

The long throw-in may not be fashionable in this day of Barcelona's flowing passing football, but it's certainly effective - just ask Stoke City and their success in using it.

4. In Gary and Milan we trust.

Wednesdayites, and no doubt Megson and Mandaric, have been left slightly frustrated in the transfer market of late.

The Owls are still looking to add three more attacking players to their squad, and rightly so. Three players that, ideally, we would have got tied up sooner rather than later.

But given the performance of all the new additions yesterday, we know we can trust Megson and Mandaric in the transfer market, to add the right men to the squad before the transfer window closes.

All five of the new-boys that started yesterday - Danny Batth, Rob Jones, Julian Bennett, Jose Semedo and David Prutton - shone in their performances. They've improved us in the right areas, and that gives us hope that the more attacking options, which are hopefully still to come, will be the right ones.

Mandaric isn't rushing into any panic buys, despite the season now being under way, and hopefully it'll be a case of 'good things come to those who wait'.

5. A new cult hero cometh...

Take a bow David Prutton. If the Jesus-like hair and dominating midfield performance wasn't enough, just add a thunderbolt of a volley in front of the Kop to the mix and you have a fine day at the office.

Although many believed Prutton to be past his best on his arrival at S6 (that discussion is for another day), we had a few Leeds fans tell us that he'd become a bit of a legend. While we may take what Leeds fans say with a pinch of salt, they're not the easiest fans to please.

'Prutts' showed Wednesdayites just what they can expect from the former Forest and Southampton midfielder in the famous blue and white stripes this season - good, honest hard work, some top-drawer passing, and some superb goals too.

He's got a monthly blog in the matchday programme and he came across very well in the post-match interview with BBC Radio Sheffield. A footballer talking sense on the radio? Whatever next.

Prutton himself declared in his programme notes that away fans take an instant dislike to him, mainly down to his long hair. This will endear him even more to Owls fans this season.

Wednesday may be in the third tier of English football, but Lee Bullen was given legend status for helping the Owls back to the Championship, and Prutton could well follow in his footsteps this term.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Sunday August 7 2011
Time: 4:07PM


Spot on: and sooooooo happy to have a proper central midfield again.
07/08/2011 16:43:00
this isn't a negative comment but it was only rochdale and it was only 1 game. we won 2-0 against daganham on the first day last season and never looked in any danger of conceding either. that said i think we are a different proposition this season and i was pleased with the team that megson picked with palmer getting a start. as i've said before i'm not a fan of johnson and i think we will be better off keeping this kind of shape for the time being. uto
Hirsty's Shinpads
07/08/2011 20:11:00
We look a more solid unit than last season. It's obvious we're light up front and out wide but hopefully that is being dealt with as I write. Good to see goals from defence and midfield in the meantime!
07/08/2011 21:04:00
It will be interesting to see what happens when we're playing another team who are 'solid at the back'. Would be brilliant to get a couple of players who can 1) Score and 2) Unlock a defence before the window shuts. Positive start, long may it continue, but as every footballer likes to say, we need to take each game as it comes and see what happens.
07/08/2011 22:10:00
interesting might be the wrong word!
Hirsty's Shinpads
07/08/2011 22:38:00
I don't think we learned anything we didn't already know. Solid at the back, looked very decent from set pieces yet didn't really create much that didn't come from a set piece. Prutton was excellent but thought Semedo was quality, he doesn't just get stuck in he's more than comfortable to have the ball at his feet. Last year we won our first game 2-0 and couldn't really fault anything about the performance or the signings that Irvine had made at the time, Madine was terrible and for a big lad he spent most the game on his backside, didn't have any enthusiasm to chase the ball or win it, Clinton was wanting the ball and working for it when he didn't have it.
07/08/2011 23:01:00
is prutton our vice captain...if not i think he should be, or weaver which one?
07/08/2011 23:33:00
Good solid,workman-like performance from us.Agree with SheffWed93 in that we looked dangerous from set plays but little else.But probably to be expected with our lack of attacking options. Not Clintons biggest fan but he worked really hard up there closing down.Screamer from Prutton,was right behind it on Kop.Nearly busted our new blue/white nets!
leons gloves
08/08/2011 10:05:00
Good to hear some sensible words from Mr Megson. The fans want to feel that the result is as important to the players as it is to them. It looked like that on Saturday, and the fans responded. Keep it up lads
08/08/2011 11:50:00
Great result. A few people have compared this to last year but dagenham got relegated whereas Rochdale finished 10 points above - so i feel a much better result. We are mor desperate for strikers than wingers, but even if we don't get either I feel we are better situated than last year.
Radon Barrier
08/08/2011 12:41:00
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