This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more… 

Sheffield Wednesday are going into the international break sitting on the cusp of a playoff place as their victory over Wigan Athletic last weekend moved them to within one point of sixth.

It means that the Owls have picked up ten points from a possible 15 under the 40-year-old, which is good going considering they had lost three of their last four before he was appointed, per WhoScored.

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The former Swansea City man has had to operate with a squad that was put together by Steve Bruce, and then caretaker boss Lee Bullen, so his work to date may appear to be even more impressive.

Newcastle United loanee Jacob Murphy has endured a tough time since joining the club in the summer, scoring just the one goal in nine appearances, five of which being starts.

However, not everything is as it seems.

On the Chalkboard

According to Experimental361‘s Expected Goals model, Murphy has actually performed better than it might appear as he is second to top goalscorer Steven Fletcher for ‘goal threat’ (expected goals value of shots taken per 90 minutes), which essentially tells us that he should have netted more goals from his chances.

Kadeem Harris, on the other hand, has scored twice in 11 starts, but he is further down on the same metric, meaning he’s had the rub of the green in comparison to the 24-year-old.

Now xG models come with some scepticism, though more in-depth figures reinforce a similar train of thought, aside from actually sticking the ball in the net, Murphy isn’t far behind and is actually doing better in some aspects of his game.

Per WhoScored, Harris is only 0.1 ahead of his fellow winger for shots per game while they are both tied for dribbles per match at 2.2.

The Newcastle man even records less unsuccessful touches than the Owls’ contracted player at just 1.3 times per game. It’s important to factor in game time but it certainly shows he hasn’t actually been that poor.

He’s underperforming in terms of his creativity but it is still only October, so it may be wise to give the loanee some more time to prove his worth to Monk – he clearly hasn’t had luck on his side if the above figures are anything to go by.

Murphy could well see it click out of nowhere and as the festive season approaches, the Owls manager will need to use all of the depth in his squad before he can utilise the January transfer window to add to problematic areas.

Should Rhodes be given a chance?





Lewis Blain