Huddersfield Town and Sheffield Wednesday played out a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their play-off semi-final at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Despite the home side’s dominance, they couldn’t find a breakthrough and they will be frustrated that they won’t be taking a lead into the match at Hillsborough.
The visitors will be pleased with the result as they are now in a good position to make it to Wembley for the second season in a row.
Here are three things that we learnt from the Championship play-off semi-final first leg…
Sheffield Wednesday’s defence could help them win the play-offs
There were only two teams that conceded fewer goals than Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship this season and they will both be playing Premier League football in the next campaign. The Owls could join them, but they will need to get past Huddersfield Town first.
The Terrier’s defensive organisation was clear from the first whistle. They were defending resolutely in numbers and restricted the opposition attackers from getting time on the ball in the final third. Although the home side had 12 shots and eight corners, they didn’t create many clear-cut opportunities.
In Glenn Loovens and Tom Lees, they have two of the most reliable centre-backs in the division. They have plenty of experience between them and they know how to rough up opposition defenders within the laws of the game. Between them, they won six aerial duels, completed ten ball recoveries and made 13 clearances to help their side preserve their clean sheet.
The success of the Wednesday defence has a lot to do with Keiren Westwood. The goalkeeper is one of the most important players in this team and although he didn’t have a lot to do on Sunday, he organised his back four well.
Huddersfield’s final ball needs to improve
This match was very similar to the Terriers’ home game against Newcastle United earlier this season. They were excellent at keeping the ball as shown by their 68.7% possession during the match. However, they failed to create many clear-cut chances and were slow in their build-up play at times, which is a concern heading into Wednesday.
Carlos Carvalhal appears to have Town’s number and another failure to pick up a win against their Yorkshire rivals will have done nothing to increase confidence that they can get past the Owls.
Izzy Brown was the most impressive of the front four as he hit the crossbar in the first-half and caused a lot of problems with his direct running. He needs to be given the ball more in the second-leg as he has the potential to cause real damage with his pace and trickery.
The on-loan Chelsea man completed four dribbles against Wednesday, but the concern about his final ball remains as he didn’t complete a single key pass. Elias Kachunga, Rajiv van La Parra and Nahki Wells all need to show more in the second-leg, as none of them impressed on Sunday.
Aaron Mooy has a big future ahead of him
It was an uneventful match as nobody managed to get on the scoresheet, but one player to impress was Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy.
The Australian international is currently on loan from Manchester City and he showed on Sunday that he is good enough to make the step up to the Premier League next season.
He completed two dribbles, three tackles and three key passes in what was an excellent midfield display. His pass completion of 91% was incredible considering how often he is given the ball.
The 26-year-old has had an excellent season and has adjusted quickly to English football. This was always going to be a good indication of how good a player Mooy can become as the play-offs are a high-pressured environment. He didn’t disappoint and certainly stood up to be counted at the John Smith’s Stadium.
In the return leg on Wednesday, he will be equally as influential. It is important that Town get him on the ball as much as possible as he possesses the creativity to break down this excellent Sheffield Wednesday defence.