A Sheffield-Snagov double this weekend, with The Owls earning a scrappy win against Ipswich and Snagov taking their third win in the opening four games to go top of the Liga II table. Overall, a good weekend for Sheffield football with the red and white third of Sheffield getting a good win at Bolton.
It’s difficult to judge where Sheffield Wednesday are at the moment. We’ve had some really poor performances but since Chansiri bought the club this is our best start to a season after five league games. With all the doom and gloom around the club, we would do well to remember this and give Jos Luhukay some credit. Since coming to the club he has worked with a squad of unfit and injured players and guided them to some very good results. As I mentioned in a previous blog, in our last ten games of last season we had automatic promotion form. This season, Luhukay is blending youth with experience and still getting a respectable points haul, despite a couple of poor individual results.
Looking ahead to September, I think this month will really set the tone for the season. We will know what our squad will be until the January transfer window and we have a run of fixtures against clubs with different objectives for the reason. This will give us a more accurate idea of what our, realistic, expectations should be.
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 – on a Friday night, in a spectacularly stupid decision)
It’s going to be a tough run-in and I can’t help but think that Reading is a vital game, even this early in the season. With Reading already looking like they will be fighting relegation, we need to put them to the sword. If our season takes and turn for the worse and we find ourselves battling Reading for survival, three points taken from them now could be huge by the time April and May come around.
Stoke are a bit of an unknown quantity at the moment. Forest and Leeds are going to be very tough and I’d snatch your hands off for two points from those games now. As for Villa, I personally think we’ll be up for that game following the disgusting refereeing performance at Hillsborough last season. Referees have a tough job to do but having watched hundreds of games at Hillsborough since my first match in 1990 I have not seen anything quite like the Villa match last season.
As an absolute minimum we need to be taking five points from those five games to keep our heads just above the waters of relegation. Apparently our aim is promotion this season. Anything less than nine points and that’s a non-starter, in my opinion (which is that promotion is not going to happen without several players joining the club). We still need pace. We still need a top central defender. We still need a midfield monster. We’ve needed these players since Wembley a few years ago.
CS Sportul Snagov – September Preview
On the 1st of September Snagov travel to Brăila to play ACS Dacia Unirea Brăila, who are yet to win this season. I’ve not travelled to that side of Romania on any of my visits, but I hear it’s a nice part of the country.
The following week Snagov host Ripensia Timişoara which is a place where several family friends come from or still live. Timişoara is a place I want to visit, as well as Cluj and Craiova. A friend of mine is a big Universitatea Craiova fan and was delighted that they won the Romanian Cup last season. Their new stadium is a thing of beauty as well.
On the 15th September Snagov then make the long trip to Timişoara to play ACS Poli Timişoara, before finishing the month against UTA Arad at home and then Academica Clinceni away.
The EFL Championship
It’s already starting to look like a two-horse race for top spot with Leeds and Middlesbrough charging ahead. Although I’m happy to give Jos Luhukay time to make his mark with The Owls, it’s extremely frustrating that we missed the boat with Tony Pulis. I can’t help but wonder how we would have fared last season had we parted company with Carlos earlier in the season and brought Pulis in. His football might not be pretty but it’s pretty damn effective.
I can’t see Bolton fighting for promotion this season and I fully expect Villa to remain roughly where they are; top-six. I think there will be a lot of teams battling for top-six this season. I can see the top half of the table staying fairly close for most of the season with those teams able to string two or three wins together on the spin jumping from mid-table to the play-offs. If we can stay in contention until January, then we might see some more ambition and risk taking in terms of transfers to help push us over the line.
I’m amazed at the start Sheffield United have had, and Derby for that matter. I don’t think Sheffield United have the quality or stamina to maintain a play-off push, and I expect they will drop off over the coming weeks. Derby are a side that always seem to threaten a good season and then go on to disappoint. Frank Lampard will have drawn a lot of attention to the club, but should they disappoint again it will simply highlight that disappointment even more.
At the bottom of the table, I’m not too surprised to see Reading, QPR, Birmingham or Hull in the lower third. Ipswich is a bit surprising and I think they will pull away over the next few weeks. I also think Preston will have enough to not get dragged into a serious relegation battle. There is something thoroughly unlikeable about Birmingham and I would like to see them relegated. I’ve had some bad experiences with Birmingham fans over the years and the way they appointed Zola was absurd. As I’m writing this, Rotherham are on the verge of getting a win against Millwall. Although Rotherham are having a good start relatively speaking, I think it will be a season of struggle for The Millers.
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