Sheffield Wednesday column: The worrying stat Garry Monk's team must put right against Swansea City

Sheffield Wednesday will be hoping it is sixth time lucky in their quest to beat a top half team when they entertain high-flying Swansea City.

By Dom Howson
Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 3:26 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th November 2019, 12:46 pm
Owls midfielder Joey Pelupessy. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
Owls midfielder Joey Pelupessy. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Garry Monk's side have picked up a meagre two points out of a possible 15 from clashes against sides in the upper reaches of the Championship this season.

It is a worrying record that Owls must address if they are to keep pace with the chasing pack.

Monk has earned plenty of plaudits for helping turn Wednesday into a solid, strong defensive unit.

Despite conceding two sloppy, uncharacteristic goals in Saturday's reversal at Blackburn Rovers, the Owls still boast the second-best defence in the division. Only Yorkshire neighbours Leeds United have shipped in fewer goals (8) than Wednesday's 12.

"The defensive organisation on everything is the foundation, especially in this league, and then you work from there," said Monk.

"I didn't have the luxury of pre-season but what we have been able to do in a short space of time is give them that foundation of the defensive organisation that we need.

"When you come in like I have done, I have learned from experience that the key is to put the team in a position where they can be really competitive in games.

"It is not going to be the finished article and it is not what we eventually want to be overall but that foundation puts you in a position where you can compete in games straight away."

The Owls have also recorded an impressive four clean sheets in Monk's 10 matches at the helm.

Holding midfielder Joey Pelupessy said: "Since he came here we practised a lot with 11 players against zero to practice if the balls on the left side, we move together, if it's on the right side we move together, we stay compact.

"For the first two weeks we did this almost every day and it was maybe getting a little bit boring but we know we need this to be solid, compact and comfortable. This is what the manager did and you see it in games.

"We're still doing it and we're practising different areas.

"We also practised a lot with the previous manager but each one has his own ideas but this manager likes to do it this way and he's putting more details on it. The group likes it."

But if Wednesday are to return to winning ways and maintain a top-six tilt, Monk needs to improve their goal-scoring record. They have only found the back of the net 19 times from 15 outings and Steven Fletcher is their leading marksman with five.

A disappointing run of just one victory from four matches since the last international break has derailed their progress somewhat.

Yet the Owls can take plenty of heart and confidence from the fact they have performed well at Hillsborough this term. Wednesday have picked up maximum points from four of their seven home fixtures, letting in a miserly three goals. Queens Park Rangers remain the only side to beat them on their own turf since April.

As another two-week break looms, it is vitally important the Owls beat Swansea - a side in and around them in the table - to get that monkey off their back.