Sheffield Wednesday were unable to cause an upset in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night, with Everton defeating the Owls by two goals to nil at Hillsborough.
Wednesday had made a positive start to life under new manager Garry Monk, with the Owls picking up four points from the former Birmingham manager’s first two games in charge of the club.
But they were somewhat brought back down to earth after a 2-o home defeat to the Toffees in midweek, with an early brace from Dominic Calvert-Lewin sending Marco Silva’s men into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.
As expected, Monk made a host of changes to the side that salvaged a late point against Fulham at the weekend, with Atdhe Nuhiu and Sam Winnall starting up top as a pair.
There were also a couple of rotations in the middle of the park too, with Massimo Luongo making only his second starting appearance of the season since arriving from QPR in the summer.
The Australian international was a real bright spark for Wednesday in midweek, providing tenaciousness and energy in the centre of the park, and forming a decent understanding with Joey Pelupessy.
He earned a lot of praise from Wednesday fans, particularly on social media, and his performance against Everton has surely given Monk a selection headache going into this weekend’s encounter with Middlesbrough in Teesside.
It has been a turbulent time for Luongo since putting pen to paper at Hillsborough – the 26-year-old is yet to make a start in the Championship, with his only appearances from the off coming in the League Cup.
Wednesday have plenty of options in midfield and have players that bring many different qualities and attributes to the centre of the pitch.
The likes of Sam Hutchinson and Joey Pelupessy are known for sitting back and anchoring the midfield, given the likes of Barry Bannan and Keiren Lee the license to venture forward and create attacks.
Luongo can do both sides of the game just as well. He can sit back and dictate the tempo of the game but has the tenacity to drive forward and cause problems for the opposition.
Last night, Wednesday utilised a 4-4-2 formation, a system that Monk loved to deploy during his time at Birmingham, but on Saturday against Fulham, they used a 4-1-4-1 system.
Luongo would fit into both systems well, particularly the latter, and alongside Bannan with Hutchinson holding, Wednesday could have the perfect blend and balance in midfield.
The Aussie stepped up to the plate when it mattered last night and took his chance when it came his way. He should be in the starting XI to face Boro this weekend.