Dom Howson column: Hard luck stories must end for Sheffield Wednesday

Possession without forward progression.

Friday, 25th November 2016, 05:02 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 11:42 am
Carlos Carvalhal

In relation to controlling the ball, Wednesday have few teams who can match them at this level. Only Fulham and Reading average more possession (54.6 per cent) than the Owls.

It is all very well dominating the majority of the ball but there has to be a purpose to your play and what you are trying to achieve.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“Possession is vanity if you don’t do anything with it,” said former Manchester United striker Mark Robins. Wise words indeed.

For all their slick, intricate passing football, Wednesday are grossly underachieving at the business end of the pitch. Eighteen goals in 17 league matches is a poor return given the talent at their disposal. Just five clubs average less goals per match (1.1) than Carlos Carvalhal’s charges.

What Wednesday have lacked all season is a killer instinct in the final third. Carvalhal knows it, the fans know it and the rest of the Championship knows it. They have repeatedly let teams off the hook and later been punished for their profligacy.

There have been times where it has almost felt like the Owls have retained possession for the sake of it. It was certainly the case in the Ipswich defeat where they constantly passed the ball square and sideways across the backline.

Do Wednesday get the ball forward quick enough from back to front? Do they get enough men into the box to support the strikers?

The passing and build up play seems a little slower compared to last season. There needs to be more fluidity and urgency to the offensive side of their game. Confidence appears to have taken a hit here.

The thing is there is only so much Carvalhal and his coaching staff can do to fix the problem. He can’t physically go on to the pitch and convert these opportunities that keep going begging himself. All Carvalhal and his staff can do is instill belief and make them practice shooting drills in training. It is then down to the players when they cross the white line to produce the goods.

It is true that it is the attackers who, more often than not, will make things happen but it is the responsibility of the whole team to contribute more in this department. Fernando Forestieri’s strike at Fulham was a stunning, well-worked team goal but there needs to be greater productivity.

We are over a third of the way through the season and we can’t keep talking about hard luck stories.