Fernando Forestieri hasn’t had the easiest of times lately. He was shown a red card during last month’s draw with Rotherham before going through the stress of a court case this week, eventually being found not guilty for racially aggravated assault.
But with the hope of the Argentine now having a clear head, Sheffield Wednesday must use a very particular stat Forestieri bolsters to help them beat Stoke and the rest of the teams they face this campaign.
Wednesday fans received a huge boost this week with the news that Forestieri is in contention to feature against the Potters. He’s had his injury troubles but they now finally look behind him.
Fernando Forestieri, Lucas Joao and Gary Hooper are all in contention to be involved tomorrow, says SB. #SWFC
— Dom Howson (@domhowson) March 29, 2019
However, one of the Owls’ biggest strengths this season has been set play goals and with Forestieri now returning for the foreseeable future it’s something they can utilise fully.
The 29-year-old gets fouled on average a remarkable 2.7 times per game. The next Wednesday player is some way off that with Marco Matias being brought down 1.9 times. Therefore, they could use their set-piece threat as a clever way of trying to beat Nathan Jones’ side this weekend, should Forestieri be targeted.
Stoke were once famed for their set play goals, but under Gary Rowett and Jones have found a new way of playing. Wednesday could, therefore, use one of Stoke’s previous strengths against them.
Almost half of the goals the Yorkshire club have scored this season have come from set plays, scoring 16 of their 32 goals in the Championship from the likes of free-kicks and corners.
This means that by bringing Forestieri back, a player who gets fouled on a regular basis, it can significantly improve their chances of scoring provided he picks them up in the final third.
The winger is a goal threat himself, but his tricky nature can draw fouls from opposition players and ultimately bring about dead ball situations from which the Owls are so prolific.
With Wednesday sitting just two points off the play-off places, they can use this tactic to gain a huge advantage in the race for promotion.