It did make me chuckle seeing Louis Van Gaal vehemently dispute Sam Allardyce’s claim that Manchester United are a long-ball team by displaying a series of diagrams to journalists earlier this week.
Nowadays, the vast majority of professional football clubs have an analysis team who put statistics together, highlighting their own team’s strengths and weaknesses and pinpointing areas in which they can hurt the opposition.
As somebody who likes a stat or two, I quite liked Van Gaal defending his tactics, although it does help him coming from a position of strength in that United are picking up results and look well-placed to finish in the Premier League’s top four.
Wednesdayites are unlikely to ever hear head coach Stuart Gray reeling off a plethora of facts and figures to justify his decisions.
It is just not Gray’s style or the way he goes about his business.
All I do know is that the Owls’ results and form in their own backyard during the 2014/15 season paint a concerning picture:
# Wednesday have scored from open play in just one of their 15 Championship home matches. Stevie May bagged a double in their 2-1 triumph over Wigan Athletic at the end of November
# Wednesday are the lowest home goal-scorers in the division, having found the back of the net a paltry eight times
# Wednesday’s last three goals at Hillsborough have come from the penalty spot
In recent weeks, Wednesday’s players have trained on their battered Hillsborough pitch to familiarise themselves with the poor surface. But they can’t use the state of the pitch as an excuse for their dreadful home record.
It is the same for both sides and the surface has only significantly deteriorated since mid-December. It is not Blackpool’s quagmire of a pitch.
Gray has done a solid, if unspectacular, job of turning Wednesday into a competitive, organised side at this level but his position, rightly or wrongly, will come under the spotlight again if they fail to pick up maximum points on home soil against Brighton tomorrow.
On average, the Owls have 13.6 shots per match. The time has come for the team to start converting their chances and ease the pressure on their boss.
After two below-par displays in a row on the road, they owe Gray a big performance.