Another double for CS Sportul Snagov and Sheffield Wednesday. Kicking off the day, at 09:00 GMT, Snagov travelled to Dacia Unirea Brăila and earned a further three points in dominant fashion, winning 3-0. After five games in the Liga 2 season, CS Sportul Snagov are sitting at the top of the table. If Snagov can continue this form, they could find themselves in the top division of Romanian football having only been established in 2017, after CSM Metalul Reșița was wound up.
The Snagov team celebrates another win in Liga 2.
The good day became a great day as Sheffield Wednesday came back from Reading with all three points after grinding out a very credible win. Despite all the off the field issues, this is now our best start to a season in over a decade. Jos Luhukay is going about his business in very understated fashion. He is mixing youth and experience and is not afraid to drop established players, like Fernando Forestieri. Had you told me at the start of the season that Jos Luhukay was playing Matias ahead of Forestieri and getting wins, I would certainly have doubted your honesty and sanity. Credit where credit is due; Mr Luhukay seems to be getting it right.
The Championship table is starting to take shape and I stand by my prediction a few weeks ago that this will be a very open Championship. I think we will see a two-horse race to win the Championship, but I can see a very competitive contest from 3rd place all the way to mid-table. I fully expected Frank Lampard to fall flat on his face, but he’s taken Derby to 4th place after six games. It will be interesting to see how he fares when he has to start making difficult decisions with the players. When a top player becomes a manager, they can often get an initial run of good form by creating a buzz about the club. There is a difference between coaching and managing though. Man management, especially of elite athletes, is a difficult skill. At least Frank Lampard can call upon his father, Frank Lampard Snr., and his uncle Harry Redknapp to get advice on these matters. It will be interesting to see how this experiment at Derby develops over the course of the season. My prediction is a gradual loss of form and slow descent into mid-table.
I honestly would not have predicted anything like the current clubs to occupy 3rd to 8th places in the Championship. Sheffield United started last season very well but fell away as the season took its toll on a squad lacking quality in depth. I can’t take anything away from the Blades for putting Villa away in devastating style at home today though. As much as it pains me to say it, it might be the result of the day in the Championship.
A somewhat surprising top half of the Championship table.
Brentford have a very capable manager but I also wonder how much quality in depth they have. If The Bees have some luck with injuries and keep their manager and star players in form, then there is no reason why they cannot mount a play-off push this season. I always like an underdog story, and if Sheffield Wednesday fail to get to the play-offs (or better) I would have no issue in cheering on Brentford.
It’s already looking like it will be a long season for QPR, Hull and Reading. Ipswich will be looking at their derby with Norwich tomorrow knowing that a win will take them as high as 16th. I can’t see it happening though. I’m predicting a comfortable Norwich win and for Ipswich’s troubles to worsen.
Last week I looked ahead at Wednesday’s fixtures in September:
SWFC September Fixtures
01/09/2018 Reading (away)
15/09/2018 Stoke (home)
19/09/2018 Forest (away)
22/09/2018 Villa (away)
28/09/2018 Leeds (home)
I stated at the time that if we were serious about a promotion push, then we needed an absolute minimum of nine points from these five fixtures. We have three points from the first of those games, and arguably the easiest of the five fixtures on paper. Stoke will be an interesting challenge on September 15th. Although they have only won one of their league games so far, Gary Rowett is a good manager and he has shown he can build effective teams in the Championship. With a two week break to refresh and refocus, I’m expecting a tough game.
The transfer window has been extremely positive for Sheffield Wednesday. I expected us to have to move players on and make do with a patched up squad of loans and youth. In the end we tied down Bannan and Joao to new contracts and kept hold of our best and brightest attacking players in Reach and Forestieri. I can’t work out what is happening with Westwood though. I would have been happy enough with just this business but we also added two season-long loans in Josh Onomah and Michael Hector from Spurs and Chelsea respectively. These two players may not be marquee signings but they know this division, having played many games on loan for Villa and Hull, and have worked with some of the best players in Europe at their parent clubs. Signing these two players on loan is a good move for everyone. Maybe I should just sit back and enjoy our good run, but I am still concerned about our finances moving into 2019.
Next week is a free weekend for Sheffield Wednesday with the international break. CS Sportul Snagov have no such rest and host Ripensia Timișoara, who have only won one of their opening fixtures in Liga 2. I’m not quite sure yet when I will next travel to Romania. It might not be until early 2019 but watching my adopted team play in person is high on my agenda.
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