One week they have you off your seat, then they bore the pants off you - Six talking points from Sheffield Wednesday 0 Bristol City 0
Anyone suffering from insomnia could easily fix their problem by sticking on the 'highlights' of Sheffield Wednesday's 0-0 draw with Bristol City at Hillsborough on Saturday.
It really was a stinker of a match but nevertheless, here are six talking points...
JEKYLL AND HYDE WEDNESDAY
As the main headline suggests, the inconsistency of this team would be laughable if it wasn't so serious. It's genuinely baffling that they can turn in a performance against Aston Villa that had supreme swagger and guts in equal measures then follow it up - a two-week rest period included - with a showing that was so abysmally boring the only thing that was surprising about the boos at the end was that fans were actually awake to voice their disapproval. I suspect that most in the stands that did jeer aren't doing so because they think the team is rubbish. It's because they've seen what they are capable of, yet still end up watching pitiful displays like this, all too often.
PONDER THE PONDEROUSNESS
Obviously I don't hear a commentator during the match but I imagine it often goes, in games like Saturday's, "Lees, to Loovens, back to Lees, to Fox, up to Bannan, to Wallace, back to Hunt, to Loovens, over to Lees, back to Westwood, Westwood clears upfield and it's headed back, Butterfield gets it, back to Lees, to Loovens..." and so on and so on. There's having to be patient because a team is flooding the midfield and there's being downright dull. This team is in dire need of a spark to drag it away from the pedestrian, predicable build-up play that comes about when teams stifle them. You know why the opposition set up like that at Hillsborough? Because they know Wednesday have very few ways of getting around them and before you know it, the crowd have turned on them. If this predictability carries on, almost every team will come to S6 and play like Bristol City did and that is going to make Hillsborough an entertainment-free zone. It's up to Wednesday, as the home team to counter that.
ZERO SHOTS ON TARGET
You read that right. A team that had Gary Hooper and Jordan Rhodes playing up front, which then added Steven Fletcher later on, didn't force the goalkeeper into one single save. Not once did a shot find the target, let alone the goal. That is desperately poor and comes as a result of the above. Barry Bannan was coming too deep to get the ball and then Hooper had to join him to do the same. No one is taking any risks, taking a gamble to make something happen. It was pointed out to me on twitter this week that Wednesday don't get enough men in the box when attacking; I hadn't really noticed it before but they were right. On the rare occasion the wide men did manage to get a cross in, there was precious little to aim at. Carvalhal maintained they had chances to score...they didn't. They had half chances and a few speculative efforts and frankly that's not enough.
All of the above is rendering Hillsborough a little soulless at the minute. Within a few minutes of the traditional 'Hi-Ho' kick off, the place was deathly quiet and all of that plays into the opposition's hands. Fans respond to what's happening on the pitch. The onus is on the players to give those in the stands reason to lift the atmosphere
ANOTHER PENALTY APPEAL DISREGARDED
At first glance it thought it was a certain penalty. After seeing it again my opinion softened slightly. However, I still believe that a spot kick should have been awarded when Barry Bannan was brought down by Hordur Magnusson and there came another reason for Carvalhal to feel aggrieved. There have been three, I feel, they should have had this season - at Bolton, Derby and then here against Bristol City. That's potentially five points lost and that would have changed the mood around Hillsborough completely. There's no conspiracy going on, but you do have to wonder when they will actually get one of those apparently marginal calls in their favour. Incidentally, Carvalhal felt Jordan Rhodes should also have been awarded a penalty. I put it in the 'If it went against you, you'd be raging' file.
HUGE WEEK AHEAD
Before Saturday's game I felt seven points would be a reasonable target for the week as it would have been hugely difficult to win all three, not least with two away games - against Ipswich and Reading - in quick succession coming after the first. If they manage to win the next two then looking back, a point against a good team in Bristol City would be seen in a positive light. It's just, at the minute, it leaves little margin for error. Any less than four points from the next two would rightly be regarded as a huge disappointment, especially with a very difficult December looming large, both in terms of the amount of games and the quality of the opposition.