The fatigue is real… - Hero and Villains from Sheffield Wednesday’s sobering defeat against Millwall

Things were on a real high after the late winner against Bournemouth, but Sheffield Wednesday were very much brought down to earth against Millwall.

By Joe Crann
Sunday, 7th February 2021, 12:00 pm

But it was looking promising at first… Callum Paterson gave the Owls a deserved lead and Neil Thompson’s men were good value, but then a penalty before the break gave Kenneth Zohore the opportunity to get things level – which he did.

The less said about the second half, the better. Wednesday seemed so leggy, and the Lions took advantage.

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Despite an impressive string of saves from Keiren Westwood at 1-1, in the blink of an eye the Owls were 3-1 down after goals from Scott Malone and Ben Thompson, and then Tom Bradshaw’s deflected effort compounded their misery to make it four.

We took a look at some heroes and villains from The Den as the Owls missed the chance to escape the relegation zone.

The Hero…

Big Pats

Sheffield Wednesday were put to the sword by Millwall. (Photo by Jacques Feeney/Getty Images)

There could be only one, really. Callum Paterson put in a great shift once again, and got another goal for his efforts.

He’s now just four goals away from setting a personal best in terms of his goal return since leaving Scotland (he got 10 in 2017/18), and it’s no surprise to see him as the club’s outright top scorer this season. He’s got five of the Owls’ last nine goals, and has only failed to score in three of their last eight matches.

Given his work rate though, and the fact that he picked up an ankle knock against the Cherries, he was always going to run out of steam.

The Villains…

Schedule

I think it’d be easy to say Joey Pelupessy, as he was the player who gave away the penalty that did undoubtedly change the game – but to be fair, he’d been good up until that point.

The fact is though, and ‘Thommo’ said it himself, that Wednesday looked tired. The manager said they looked leggy, and he’s not wrong. They seemed to just run out of puff.

So with that in mind, I’m picking the current fixture schedule as this weekend’s villain. Not only because of how many games SWFC have played lately, but also because of the nature of them.

It’s not an excuse, don’t get me wrong, but there’s no way that a fitness-sucking away win after a long trip to Bournemouth before returning to Sheffield and heading back down south to Bermondsey a few days later can take a toll.

Especially when Millwall played back-to-back games at home, and the Owls named – rightly or wrongly – an almost unchanged XI.

It doesn’t get any easier though, with six games to go before February is up.

Pitch

It wasn’t good, was it? Again, it’s not an excuse because both teams had to play on it, but it certainly wasn’t a field that was conducive to playing any sort of free-flowing football on it.

Ultimately though, Wednesday didn’t deal with their opponents well enough in the second half. Gary Rowett’s team were direct, and very effective. Wednesday let them have too many corners, gave away too many freekicks, and ultimately didn’t deserve to win.

Onto the next one...

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