'Doing the Dolphin' as Wednesday are punished by what they needed but couldn’t afford – FIVE talking points as Sheffield Wednesday are beaten by Brentford
Sheffield Wednesday were back in action at Hillsborough on Wednesday evening – but their poor home form continued against Brentford.
It feels like the Owls have come a long way since that 5-0 demolition at Griffin Park earlier this year, and they’d have been hoping to banish some demons from that fateful day that Garry Monk described as one of the toughest of his career so far. Callum Paterson got them back level after Ivan Toney opened the scoring early on, but the in-form Brentford man was at the double to give the visitors all three points.
We’re not entirely sure at this point the severity of Massimo Luongo’s knock, but we’ll find out some more about that in the post-match press conference…
There are indications, as I’m sure many expected, that it was a case of him being rested due to an injury rather than a tactical decision. The Australian has arguably been the Owls best player so far in 2020/21 so far – even when he was deployed as a centre back in the win over Birmingham City.
Luongo is one of those players that you often notice more when he’s not there, and he was certainly missed at Hillsborough this evening. His replacement, Alex Hunt, wasn’t really at the races in what was a tough game to be thrown into, and you can’t help but wonder how things would’ve gone if he’d been available.
A bit of player management…
That being said, Luongo being left out could be another indication of something that Garry Monk has been very keen to do – manage players’ individual situations rather than rush them back and risk losing them for an extended period.
Obviously every game counts, every point counts, but I think – for me – a win over Luton Town is more important in the grand scheme of things than it was against last year’s Play-Off finalists.
I’m obviously speaking for myself, but if missing Luongo, Izzy Brown and some of the others who are close to returning, this evening in order to make sure they’re fit for the games to come, then it feels like the right thing to do.
Ivan Toney – Exactly what the Owls needed, but…
Brentford have done it again, it seems… Every year they lose a big player (at least one), replace him and then sell on for big profit. They did it with Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma, and you can’t help but feel that they’ve done it again with Toney.
He is a man on fire right now, and today it was the Owls who felt the sharp end of his sword. There are few players in the country right now in the same sort of scoring form that he’s in, and the fact that he has taken next to no time to acclimatise to the Championship is pretty remarkable in itself.
Given Wednesday’s goal problems, he’s exactly the sort of player that the club needed. But at a reported fee of around £10m with add-ons, he was just not feasible at this point in time.
Wednesday aren’t fishing in that pond right now, but his early return since stepping up from Peterborough United in League One suggests that whatever they end up paying for him will be dwarfed by what they receive when he (probably inevitably) leaves.
Pato off the mark – Do the Dolphin Dance
Paterson’s first goal for Wednesday was always going to be good – for two reasons. Firstly, just to get him off the mark, but secondly, for the celebration that followed.
The Scotsman has become renowned for his celebrations over the years, firstly at Hearts of Midlothian and then afterwards at Cardiff City following his move to Wales.
I’m sure you’re DESPERATE to know what his little dance was, but maybe (like me) you feel a little bit out of touch. But I reached out to my far more savvy fianceé who reliably informed me that it’s called ‘The Dolphin Challenge’.
So there you go. Do the Dolphin with Pato if you want – you can find a tutorial online if you like.
And probably most importantly…
Wednesday conceded after 10 minutes at Griffin Park in March, and then it all fell apart. It was a comedy of errors and they were 3-0 down by halftime. By full-time it was 5-0, and it probably somehow still flattered Monk’s side to be honest.
When Toney opened the scoring after seven minutes today, you could’ve been forgiven for fearing the worst. This is, make no bones about it, a very good Brentford side. But the Owls fought back, scored a really good goal and had some excellent spells of possession.
It felt to me that tonight was always going to be as much of a mental battle as anything, and in that sense I think they did manage to banish some of the demons from that game, even if they ended up with the same amount of points from it.
As I mentioned earlier, Luton, Rotherham United, Wycombe Wanderers and Millwall are far more important, so if decisions had to be made in the best interest of getting as many points as possible from those 12 – then I’m alright with that.
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