Steel City Derby: Does the form book actually go out the window when Sheffield Wednesday and United meet?

Nick Montgomery and Rob Jones lead out the teams at Bramall Lane in 2011
Nick Montgomery and Rob Jones lead out the teams at Bramall Lane in 2011
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As football clichés go, the one about the form book going out the window in derbies is as well-worn as they come.

But does it always hold true in the case of the Steel City derby?

The Star has studied the form of both teams prior to the previous five derby games to see what difference, if any, it made.

Sheff Wed 1-0 Sheff Utd, League One – February 2012
Owls form: L-L-L-W-D
Blades form: W-W-W-L-W

Heading into the game, despite an impressive return of 12 points from a possible 15 - including three clean sheets - for United, it made little difference. Chris O'Grady’s goal gifted an out-of-form Wednesday, who had lost three consecutive matches prior to the meeting, the points.

Did form go out the window? Yes.

Sheff Utd 2-2 Sheff Wed, League One – October 2011
Blades form: L-L-W-L-D
Owls form: W-W-W-W-L

Wednesday would have been clear favourites if form was anything to go by on this occasion. The Owls, on a four-game winning streak, had collected three times as many points as their neighbours in their previous five matches. In the end, they were fortunate to get a point, having come from two goals behind in the final ten minutes to save their blushes.

Did form go out the window? Yes.

Sheff Wed 1-1 Sheff Utd, Championship – April 2010
Owls form: L-L-D-D-W
Blades form: W-L-D-L-D

Both teams had collected five points from the five matches proceeding this clash, with just one win each. A point apiece, then, reflected their identical form. Darren Potter had put the Owls in the lead after 41 minutes, but Lee Williamson's second-half free-kick salvaged a draw for the red corner.

Did form go out the window? No

Sheff Utd 3-2 Sheff Wed, Championship – September 2009
Blades form: L-W-D-W-D
Owls form: L-D-W-W-L

United narrowly edged Wednesday on form before their meeting, having collected a single point more from their last five fixtures. That slender advantage was reflected in the scoreline as the Blades, who were 3-0 up at half-time, survived a second-half fightback from Wednesday to hold for victory.

Did form go out the window? No.

Sheff Utd 1-2 Sheff Wed, Championship – February 2009
Blades form: W-D-L-W-W
Owls form: D-L-W-D-L

The old adage rang true on this occasion as Wednesday, with just one win in five, took all three points thanks to Marcus Tudgay’s 29th minute winner. United had collected twice as many points as the Owls in the five games preceding their meeting, winning three times in the process, but that didn’t matter on this occasion.

Did form go out the window? Yes.

So, the history books reveal that more often than not in recent times, form hasn’t mattered. It’s apt, then, that little separates the sides ahead of this weekend.
Wednesday edge United on recent form, but only just.

Although both teams have accumulated the same number of points from their last six matches, the Owls boast a marginally better goal difference, having scored two more.

The Blades have won more games across this period, but they’ve been beaten twice. Wednesday, meanwhile, are unbeaten since the opening day of the season.