Sheffield Wednesday: Five talking points from the 0-0 derby draw with Leeds
Sheffield Wednesday drew with Leeds United in a Yorkshire derby that saw the home side have the better of the chances at Hillsborough.
Wednesday fans shuffled out of the ground with the feeling one may have got away from there, with Steven Fletcher forcing a good save from Kiko Casilla and seeing his shot cannon off the bar in the second half.
There were plenty of talking points in a tight affair. Here are just five.
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Garry Monk went back to basics by selecting both Steven Fletcher and Atdhe Nuhiu up top together in a attempt to exploit Leeds’ perceived issues in the air. Fletcher was at his best and was unlucky not to score, harrying the defence, forcing a first-half save from Casilla and hitting the bar in the second.
Nuhiu’s display, though never likely to be easy on the eye, was equally determined, and although a couple of heavy touches ended Wednesday attacks, he caused problems and perhaps should have scored from a close-range header.
Did Wednesday make enough of the big pair’s presence given Leeds’ struggles in the air this season? That’s up for debate, but it’s a front two well worth dusting off for the Owls when the time is right.
Sargent Hutchinson to the rescue
He’s played there before, but asking anybody to come into replace someone in Julian Borner’s form in the warm-up for a Yorkshire derby is a big favour. Hutchinson applied himself diligently and dovetailed nicely with Iorfa. Ran in to trouble once or twice early doors but produced an assured display in the second half. Got his side out of a hole when they needed him most.
Should Borner’s injury be serious it brings Tom Lees back into the fold just at the right time, but in Hutchinson they have a a man for a crisis. All this at the end of a three-game week, too.
How to get more out of Reach?
A return to form going forward for Reach would be a huge bonus for Wednesday, offering another source of goals from that right-hand side. He started as the Owls’ best player, too, offering well-timed attacking runs and showing a confidence going forward he’s missed once or twice this campaign.
An early run and strike showed the Reach we saw at Middlesbrough, and whilst he faded in the remainder of the second half he was a handful for Leeds in the second, taking the ball into dangerous areas and forcing mistakes. He’s a goal away, you feel.
What’s going on in the Wednesday warm-ups?
Another match, another injured Owl in the warm-up. It was Julian Borner who went down this time, leaving a gaping hole in the defence Sam Hutchinson was able to plug, but after Keiren Westwood’s ankle pop at Cardiff and Tom Lees’ hamstring against QPR, you have to ask the question – what are Wednesday doing in these warm-ups?
Wednesday are part of the promotion shake-up
Sheffield Wednesday are still yet to beat a team in the top half of the Championship, but they proved here that they can more than mix it with the top-end teams, taking the better of the fixture.
There is a question over their ability to score and put games to bed in tight games and that will continue, but on today’s display there is no doubt they can mix it with the teams towards the top of the table.