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Preview: Sheffield Wednesday vs Southampton – prediction

Preview: Sheffield Wednesday vs Southampton – prediction

Sheffield Wednesday welcome relegated Southampton to Hillsborough to start the Championship season on Friday. Both teams have new managers going into the 2017 season. The season opener will mark Xisco Munoz and Russell Martin’s respective debuts as head coaches of the Owls and Saints.

Preview (Sheffield Wednesday vs Southampton)

Sheffield Wednesday finished third in England’s third tier last season after ending a two-year stay in League One. They earned an impressive tally of 96 points from their 46 games under Darren Moore. They will make their return to the Championship on Friday. The Owls then faced Peterborough United in the playoffs, and after suffering a 4-0 loss away from home. They pulled off a historic comeback at Hillsborough. Michael Smith, Lee Gregory, Reece James, and Liam Palmer scored in regular time to tie the overall score. Callum Paterson then tied it up again in extra time to force a penalty shootout. The Owls won to secure a trip to Wembley.

Josh Windass scored the game-winning goal in the 123rd minute to secure his team’s return to England’s second division, though it has not been easy for the Owls since that victory. That match was scoreless for the full 90 minutes and appeared headed for another shootout in the capital. The South Yorkshire team was to be led by Xisco Munoz after Moore left by mutual consent in the middle of June. Munoz started the preseason with a draw against York City and a victory over Chesterfield before losing to Burnley, Eldense, and Doncaster Rovers, drawing with Real Murcia, and losing by a slim 2-1 margin at home to Premier League-bound Luton Town last Saturday.

Team News

A number of Sheffield Wednesday’s summer acquisitions, including defenders Di’Shon Bernard, Bambo Diaby, and Pol Valentin, as well as winger Juan Delgado and forward Ashley Fletcher, will be competing for their club’s first competitive starts on Friday. Bernard and Diaby will compete with Michael Ihiekwe and Dominic Iorfa for a starting spot at the center of an Owls back four, while captain Barry Bannan should continue to play alongside George Byers and Will Vaulks in midfield. Callum Paterson will also contend for a spot after shifting back from his usual attacking position late last season.

Josh Windass, Lee Gregory, and Fletcher are all vying to lead the front line, while Delgado, Marvin Johnson, and Mallik Wilks are vying for positions on the flanks. Josh Windass is certain to play after contributing 12 goals and seven assists in their promotion-winning campaign last time around. Even though Southampton has only lost defenders Mohammed Salisu and Dujje Caleta-Car, midfielder Ibrahima Diallo, and the wings Mohamed Elyounoussi, Theo Walcott, and Mislav Orsic thus far this summer, there are still questions surrounding a number of other important players, including Armel Bella-Kotchap, Lyanco, and Romeo Lavia, who appears to be leaving Southampton soon.

Given the seasons the two teams had last time around, Friday’s curtain-raiser at Hillsborough could be an interesting matchup. We believe Russell Martin will lead the Saints to a hard-fought victory on his first game in charge because of the discontent at Sheffield Wednesday and the better quality of the visitors, even with the predicted departures.

Sheffield Wednesday 1 – 2 Southampton

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