I think it’s safe to say that Sheffield Wednesday took a little time to adjust to being back in League One. Their opening 21 games returned W8-D10-L3 with just 28 goals scored. They only scored two or more goals in nine of their opening 21 games.
These 21 games were a bit of a struggle for the Yorkshire outfit as they generated a home xG of just 14.21 just the 11th highest in the league at the time with a total of just 51 shots on target, an average of just 2.4 per game. On the road, it wasn’t much better.
An away xG 12.02 with all their promotion rivals posting much better-expected goals and with sides like Accrington and Fleetwood hitting the target with my regularity than Wednesday. The end of 2021 ended with a heavy 5-0 defeat to Sunderland, and they followed this up with another defeat to Shrewsbury but then things changed.
The last 25 games they ended up with W16-D3-L6, a win rate of 64% compared to over just 38% in their opening 21 games. Over these 25 games, no side in League One scored more goals than Wednesday. The xG shifted as well. At home they posted an xG of 21.06 and an average of 3.04 shots on target, no side had a higher expected goals return or more shots on target at home than the Owls. Away from Hillsborough, they moved to the 3rd highest xG with 17.71 and increased their shots on target as well.
They found the net 50 times over those last 25 games, an average of two goals per game. Over these 25 matches, they only failed to score twice or more in eight, although these games were against the likes of Ipswich, Bolton, Wycombe, Rotherham and Wigan.
There can be no denying that they often struggled on the road with only eight wins over the season and they failed to find the net on eight separate occasions. I think some of this poor away performance was due to the fact that the Owls are seen a massive club in League One and home sides would sit in and defend not wanting to be beaten on their own patch in front of generally a big home crowd coming to see one of the League One big boys.
Darren Moore and his players will be more aware of what League One brings and what its like to travel and play at some of the smaller sides in League One in this season.
They have had an excellent transfer window bringing in players such as Will Vaulks from Cardiff, Michael Ihiekew and Michael Smith from Rotherham, Ben Heneghan from Wimbledon, Reece James from Blackpool and Tyreeq Bakinson from Bristol City.
Smith was an excellent signing. He scored 19 times for Rotherham last season as the club won promotion back to the Championship and Reece James had an excellent season for Doncaster in 2020/21 with seven goals and two assists from full-back. If he can recapture that form, he will give them another attacking outlet.
These signings will join the ranks with players like Lee Gregory who scored 17 league goals last term, Marvin Johnson, Callum Paterson and for me the best player in League One, Barry Brannan. If they can get Josh Windass fit and committed, he will also be a real asset to the team. Smith and Gregory will be a real handful up top for the Owls and I can see them scoring plenty of goals between them.
Despite a slow start last term, Wednesday still finished 4th in the scoring charts, just four goals behind Oxford and Wigan on 82.
Both Sunderland and Wigan are gone which leaves Oxford who have been in the mix for top scorers over the last few seasons.
Peterborough has a team that can score goals, but they were so poor last season I think it might take them a little while to readjust to League One. Ipswich were opening favourites for the title in League One with the bookies but like last season, they will continue to struggle to score goals
Sheffield Wednesday top scorers in League One at 10/3 with Skybet.