Come back quickly, Forestieri - Five talking points from Ipswich Town 2 Sheffield Wednesday 2
Atdhe Nuhiu added some Sheffield Wednesday cheer to a dull encounter at Portman Road as the Owls snatched a draw against Ipswich Town.
Yet again, Wednesday were very ordinary and could barely muster clear chances on goal throughout the match. Here are five talking points from the 2-2 draw...
DESPERATE FOR FERNANDO
It's hard to type with so much humble pie filling my face, but here goes. Earlier in the season I advocated cashing in on Fernando Forestieri. I felt he was one of the few really valuable assets in terms of the amount that could be brought in and I was struggling to see where he would fit into the side in any case. It was a debate that split opinion, nevertheless with money tight and other players needed, I felt it was a fair point. Back then, though I didn't envisage that Sheffield Wednesday would become so absolutely devoid of creativity that not only is Forestieri needed, Carlos Carvalhal's side are desperate for him. This team are shockingly lacking in ideas in far too many games, so much so that despite him being injured, Forestieri is now one of their most important players. The forward won't be back until possibly well into the New Year and unless there's a dramatic change, all Wednesday can hope for is that they cling on to the coat-tails of the chasing pack and then push on, influenced by Forestieri. Or buy/loan someone else in January. As things stand, there's no one in that team capable of providing something different to drag them out of this languid monotony.
DEFENCE DODGY BUT IS IT ALL THEIR FAULT?
The tone was set at by Glenn Loovens ambling down the line in the opening minutes like it was the 90th and then producing a lazy challenge on David McGoldrick that should have seen him red-carded in the very early stages (that's one poor decision that's gone their way at least). From then on, Wednesday's defence was dreadful. They gifted Ipswich chances, their distribution was embarrassingly awful and concentration levels poor - as shown by Joe Garner's opener for the home side which saw him tap in from a few yards out, with no one near him. Too many avoidable goals are being conceded by a backline which used to be arguably the best in the division, but maybe it's because of what's happening at the other end?
TWO EFFORTS ON TARGET
Perhaps, in attempting to defend the defence, or at least find excuses for them, the problem lies in attack. There's a fair argument to suggest that the lack of creativity and therefore the low number of chances on goal is putting pressure on those at the back. Is it possible that they are getting nervous because they know that, if they concede, not enough is happening up front that might get them back into the game. As it turned out, they did indeed manage that in the end thanks to Atdhe Nuhiu but two efforts on target all night, one of them a penalty and this coming off the back of NONE against Bristol City is what you would expect from a team at the very bottom end of the table.
NO EXCUSES FOR LABOURED DISPLAY
On Saturday Carvalhal admitted it was hard to break down Bristol City and he was absolutely right. They defended well and their midfield completely nullified Wednesday who had no clue how to get around that. It led to a slow, ponderous performance, the like of which is driving Owls fans mad because it is desperately dull to watch. It happened again last night, yet it's hard to find an excuse this time around. Ipswich were very open at times - they pushed players forward and left plenty of gaps in the middle but yet again there was no one prepared to take a gamble to make something happen or exploits the holes. Instead we had yet more passing in triangles with no-one really getting anywhere. For the rest of the week the players should be made to watch the build-up to Jordan Rhodes goal against Aston Villa over and over again. Then replicate it. Also, find one of those electric shock devices, stick one on every player and 'buzz' them every time they pass the ball backwards.
Despite again not playing well, they've managed to get a point at a difficult place to go, against a decent team. That can only be seen as a positive and that the goal came so late, there should be a confidence boost to come for when they take on Reading on Saturday. They also showed some character in fighting right to the end to nick the draw and Adam Reach put a ball in that we want to see him provide a lot more of. If those two games against Bristol City and Ipswich were spread out over the season you'd take a draw in each of them. Put them together and you've got two points from two of three games in a week. Simply put, they have to win on Saturday because two or three points from a possible nine is not promotion-chasing form. They now must use this lift and relief that they got at Portman Road and go out and battle for a win. It won't be pretty on Saturday, if the two games against Jaap Stam's side last season are anything to go by. On this occasion and in the circumstances any old win will do. We'll by-pass the entertainment for a few days, at least.