Sheffield Wednesday have enjoyed a mixed start to their Championship campaign so far, with the Owls picking up four wins, one draw and three losses so far this season, yielding a points return of 13 from a possible 24 available, which sees Wednesday sitting in ninth place at the time of writing.
The Owls headed into last night’s Carabao Cup game against Everton at Hillsborough off the back of a run of just two wins in their last five games, with newly installed manager Garry Monk having only been in charge for two of those fixtures.
Whilst their Premier League opponents Everton also headed into the game off the back of a run of two wins in their last five league games, meaning that last night’s game was one that had heightened pressure on the shoulder’s of Toffees boss Marco Silva.
Ultimately, it was the top flight side who ran out 2-0 winners, with former Sheffield United striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin netting a double at Hillsborough for a strong Everton side as Wednesday failed to make their chances pay during a frustrating evening for the Owls.
Here, we take a look at THREE things we learnt about Sheffield Wednesday during their Carabao Cup defeat to Everton….
Two up front didn’t work
Wednesday boss Garry Monk favoured a front two of Atdhe Nuhiu and Sam Winnall up top, a decision which quite frankly didn’t pay dividends for the former Leeds boss as both players failed to make an impact before being hauled off on 65 and 70 minutes respectively.
The pair were largely ineffectual together due to the fact that they both possess the same qualities, with the frontmen both liking to do layoffs and flick ons for faster, more mobile players in the form of Kadeem Harris and Jacob Murphy, who like to make runs off the forward players from wide positions.
However, these qualities did not come to the fore for the two strikers with the Wednesday side having only enjoyed 38% possession throughout the contest, meaning service was in short supply to the men up top.
Central midfielders struggled to get into the game
Monk deployed a midfield two up against Everton, with Joey Pelupessy and Massimo Luongo up against Everton’s more dynamic partnership of Fabian Delph and Tom Davies in the centre of the park.
The partnership failed to work, with both players being outnumbered in midfield regularly as Everton’s attacking midfielder Alex Iwobi dropped deeper into midfield to create an overload in the middle of the park, thus allowing Everton to get their possession football based style of play flowing, which yielded a handsome return of 62% of the ball, thus suffocating the service provided to Wednesday’s forward players.
In conclusion, it would have been more wise for Monk to start with a midfield three in order to gain some form of dominance over Everton, with the overall aim of disrupting their opponent’s passing rhythm.
Monk is willing to experiment
The newly installed Wednesday boss experimented with a front two last night, in a move that set him apart from his predecessor Lee Bullen, who was quite stubborn in his approach, with the former caretaker boss regularly setting his team up with just one striker up front during his time in charge.
It seems that Monk has begun to recognise that Wednesday playing one up top doesn’t work as well as Bullen assumed, with the former Swansea boss employing a 4-4-2 last night, maybe it could be a sign of things to come, with Wednesday possessing plenty of attacking options for the striking positions in the form of Steven Fletcher, Sam Winnall, Atdhe Nuhiu and Jordan Rhodes, this decision could pay off if the ex-Birmingham boss is to continue with the tactic in the games to come.
However, as mentioned in the previous point, Monk will have to experiment to find the right partnership who can compliment each other perfectly in order for the team to benefit as a collective unit when attacking.