A midfield masterclass - FIVE talking points from Sheffield Wednesday's win at Aston Villa

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It was expected to be a tough encounter but, at times, sublime Sheffield Wednesday made it look so easy in their 2-1 win over Aston Villa.

Here are five talking points after that impressive display at Villa Park...

Barry Bannan was excellent again on Saturday against Aston Villa

Barry Bannan was excellent again on Saturday against Aston Villa

MAJESTIC MIDDLEMEN

Adam Reach will have deservedly earned the majority of the headlines but it was the two men in the middle of the park that really shone brightest for Sheffield Wednesday. Barry Bannan and, marginally more so, Jacob Butterfield were simply sensational and produced a masterclass in midfield play. Butterfield's work was peerless. He harassed and harried Villa players into making mistakes, broke up their play, providing simple balls and creating space for the craftmanship of Bannan to come to the fore. The Scot jinked his way through the game, playing neat balls and quickly moving on. Some people say that Bannan's passing is all too often in the wrong direction. These people have their eyes painted on. As for Butterfield, with Kieran Lee injured again, albeit not as badly as first feared, he has an opportunity to nail down a regular place in the starting XI. If he carries on like this, Lee will struggle to get back in.

ADAM REACH IS A WINGER!

Carrying on from that last point, unless absolutely necessary i.e all the other left backs' legs have fallen off, Reach should not be moved from that role on the wing. He was excellent again on Saturday and looked supremely confident and while when playing in a more defensive role the 24 year old is certainly capable, this is where he is suited. Carvalhal has some tough decisions to make when the team gets back on the pitch after the international break. Lee is quite likely to be fit to play - if not straight away, soon after - but he shouldn't be shoe-horned in. There may be a temptation to try and put him alongside Butterfield and move Bannan out to the left, therefore dropping Reach back in. After the performance of Reach, Bannan and Butterfield at Villa Park, this would be a step backwards.

Jacob Butterfield put in one of the best performances by any Wednesday player this season

Jacob Butterfield put in one of the best performances by any Wednesday player this season

GUTS AND GLORY

It's been touched on by Dom Howson in his analysis of the game but it's worth repeating. This Wednesday side have often been accused of lacking bottle over the course of the past year or so, but on Saturday they showed guts and determination and backed it up with a fair amount of flair as well. In the first half they were simply unplayable. The passing was quick, precise and purposeful. The movement intelligent and often untrackable. All of that came from the confidence built upon by a stunning strike from October's player of the month Reach after just 18 seconds. It set the tone and culminated in a beautifully worked goal, finished off by Jordan Rhodes. What was arguably all the more impressive was how they dealt with the inevitable onslaught after the break. Defensively - not their strongest area this season - Wednesday were superb with Tom Lees and Glenn Loovens barely giving a normally tricky Villa frontline a sniff. Glorious in the first half and gutsy in the second.

A CONUNDRUM UP FRONT

It's too early to suggest that this is Jordan Rhodes ready to produce the kind of goalscoring form that brought about his big-money move to Hillsborough in the first place but two goals in two games offer very encouraging signs. However, while Rhodes came in for praise from Carlos Carvalhal over his workrate - and the head coach was entirely right - there's still work to be done in forging a partnership with Gary Hooper. The two forwards don't seem to be on the same wavelength yet and Hooper had a noticeably quieter afternoon compared to his usual very high standards. It's hard to argue against them sticking it out but there's a lot of work to be done before they look like a pair, rather than two individuals trying to decipher what the other's doing.

Sheffield Wednesday's Adam Reach provided the first goal after 18 seconds

Sheffield Wednesday's Adam Reach provided the first goal after 18 seconds

BIG MONTH

The remainder of November provides a few huge challenges for Wednesday so this break has probably come at a good time. High-flying Bristol City come up next at home which offers a very good opportunity to further eat into the gap between Carvalhal's side and the top six. Then it's two tough away trips in quick succession to Ipswich in midweek and Reading a few days later. This impressive win against Villa will offer Wednesday the confidence they need to go on the type of unbeaten run that has been a feature of Carvalhal's reign. Perhaps more than that, though, it may have brought a fear factor back into taking on the Owls, which had perhaps dissipated a little this season. You'd take six points from the next three... wouldn't you?

Glenn Loovens was excellent alongside Tom Lees in the Owls' defence

Glenn Loovens was excellent alongside Tom Lees in the Owls' defence

Jordan Rhodes slots in the second Owls goal

Jordan Rhodes slots in the second Owls goal

Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal

Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal