Sheffield Wednesday continued their promising start to life under Garry Monk with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Wigan Athletic at Hillsborough on Saturday afternoon.
After a scrappy first half, Massimo Luongo’s first goal for the Owls – a brilliant finish from Adam Reach’s pull-back – brought the game to life in the 57th minute.
Keiren Westwood pulled off a stunning save to turn Kieffer Moore’s header onto the crossbar, before Steven Flecther thought he’d won it for the Owls, when his close-range finish was ruled out for offside.
Sheffield Wednesday held on to claim all three pitons and have now won three of their five league matches since Monk took charge at Hillsborough last month.
The Owls are now up to eighth in the Championship table, just three points behind leaders West Bromwich Albion and will be hoping to continue their momentum after the two-week intentional break.
Here are three things we clearly learnt about Sheffield Wednesday following their 1-0 win over Wigan Athletic…
They can win ugly
It wasn’t the best performance from Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday afternoon. They really struggled to get going in the first half and looked well off the pace at times.
Even after Luongo’s first goal for the club sparked the game to life in the 57th minute, it was still a bit scrappy and they really had to dig deep at times against a very stubborn Wigan side, but they were able to get the three points.
The good teams are the ones that find a way to win matches when they’re not at their best and that’s exactly what Sheffield Wednesday were able to do on Saturday.
It’s early days yet and there’s still plenty of room for improvement, but the Owls are certainly heading in the right direction under Monk and are starting to build some serious momentum.
If they can keep this good run going after the international break, there’s no reason why they can’t challenge for promotion this season.
Luongo could be key this season
Luongo has been an important player for Sheffield Wednesday since joining the club from Queens Park Rangers on transfer deadline day.
He’s had to settle for a place on the bench in the Championship in recent weeks but with Sam Hutchinson suspended, Luongo made his first league start for the Owls on Saturday and put in a very good performance in midfield.
Not only did he take his goal brilliantly, sweeping the ball home after being teed up Reach, but he worked hard all over the pitch. He got stuck in and provided Sheffield Wednesday with some extra intensity in midfield.
There were certainly plenty of positives for him to take away from his performance and scoring his first goal for the Owls should give his confidence a huge boost.
He could have an important role to play for Sheffield Wednesday this season and it’ll be interesting to see if he did enough to keep his place in the side when Hutchinson returns from suspension after the international break.
Monk is not afraid to experiment
In the last few matches Monk has gone with a 4-4-2 formation but he showed on Saturday that he’s not afraid to mix things up and decided to bring Joey Pelupessy into midfield for his first league start of the season and go with a 4-1-4-1.
Pelupessy did a good job in midfield and his presence in front of the back four allowed Luongo and Barry Bannan to get forward and support the loan striker Steven Fletcher.
It was a change that proved very effective, as Luongo got forward to score the winner for the Owls in the second half.
It shows that Monk isn’t afraid to experiment with his team selection and that he isn’t scared to make changes when he feels they’re needed, so that can be considered a good thing for the Owls.