Are Sheffield Wednesday rediscovering the X particle when it comes to the winning formula? Carlos Carvalhal would probably prefer to label it team chemistry, but is creating something out of nothing just as relevant?
It’s the magic ingredient, often indefinable because it can revolve around individual brilliance, and it was often in evidence last season; less so this term. By nature, Wednesday are not a side to steamroller the opposition. But their patient inter-passing produces purple patches. Strikes me that they nearly always found a goal during those spells last season.
That’s not been so true lately, leaving a reliance on the brinkmanship that delivered vital late goals against Brentford, Bristol City and Nottingham Forest.
Sod’s law kicks in when a column goes to press ahead of a midweek game.
But, while blind to the outcome of last night at Cardiff, there were signs during the narrow but deserved win at Huddersfield that the Owls are rekindling some match-winning flair along with the team ethic.
It’s why Carvalhal gave a clever verbal prod to Fernando Forestieri and Gary Hooper. They are big players and their performances, regardless of Forestieri’s penalty winner, were an instant payback.
Pre Cardiff, Fernando had just three goals this term (last season 15 in 39 appearances). Hooper was also on three (last season 13 in 34 outings). They score different types of goal but brilliance or intution are often involved.
Note Wednesday have also been lacking the sort of unpredictable element that Lucas Joao provided in a decent haul of eight goals last term. Joao, nearing a comeback, is erratic but can tilt tight games.
Forget the spot-kick, the telling moment at Huddersfield was that magic of old from Forestieri when he sprang clear and unluckily hit the post. Add to that the obvious creative quality of Adam Reach, who can be a powerful weapon when the team learns to provide a regular outlet for his pace and crossing ability.