Disappointment in the downpour: Heroes and villains from Sheffield Wednesday's Luton loss

Sheffield Wednesday started a big week of fixtures with a lacklustre 1-0 defeat to Luton at Hillsborough yesterday. The Owls have now lost two on the spin and are winless in four at S6 this season.

By Alex Miller
Sunday, 25th October 2020, 12:00 pm

But who were the heroes and who were the villains in the defeat? Let’s take a look.

Joost van Aken

Lazarus one week, sent off the next. Such is the life of a professional football player.

Whether you saw van Aken’s challenge on Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu as a red card offence or not – Sheffield Wednesday certainly didn’t – it was reckless and as Garry Monk said, it gave referee Geoff Eltringham a decision to make.

Luton scored a matter of minutes later as the Owls shuffled their options and failed to re-set themselves. It was a definite turning point.

The view from the press box in real time? Fairly unanimous. He got it wrong, it was wild and he deserved to go. We wait to see whether an appeal follows.

Injuries

Owls boss Garry Monk Pic Steve Ellis

There is no denying that injuries have kicked the spine out of this Sheffield Wednesday side.

Of those missing, you suspect Tom Lees, Dominic Iorfa, Massimo Luongo and Izzy Brown would’ve made the starting XI, Chey Dunkley too.

Without the athleticism of Iorfa, Moses Odubajo is having to struggle his way through a slot at the back. Without the organisation of Lees, they look a ‘proper defender’ light. Without Luongo, well, without Luongo they look bereft of any bite.

Should Wednesday have put up a better performance without the walking wounded? Yes, but the injury toll played a big part in the defeat.

Garry Monk

“I think in terms of the team, the players themselves, they should be judged on this season, not on what’s happened before.

“Obviously I’m part of before, so I’m happy to take that responsibility, but I think it’s still early days these season.”

Monk bravely took responsibility for what is the longest winless streak at Hillsborough since the 1970s. It’s all happened on his watch.

The serious questions marks over whether he could have got more – a lot more – out of his players last season have come and gone, but it’s vital he turns things around in Sheffield with this batch and fast.

He’s had bad luck, but in many ways that’s irrelevant. Wednesday simply cannot afford a continuation of their desperate home form in their current situation.

The fixture list

A hero! No time to dwell, Wednesday have the opportunity to bounce back and put these concerns behind them, for the meantime at least.

A short South Yorkshire derby trip to Rotherham is up next in midweek, followed by a trip to faltering Wycombe on Saturday. The Owls need six points to get themselves up and rolling again.

Will big players be back? Not Massimo Luongo, we know that. But Brown could offer the Owls a portion of creativity they so sorely missed at Hillsborough yesterday, while the return of Lees and Iorfa, particularly in the absence of suspended van Aken, would be a bonus.

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