Sheffield Wednesday match verdict and reaction: Owls 3 Birmingham 0

If you thought Carlos Carvalhal couldn’t be any more likeable, you were wrong.

By Dom Howson
Monday, 28th December 2015, 9:47 am
1-0 to the Owls. Pictures: Steve Ellis
1-0 to the Owls. Pictures: Steve Ellis

The Portuguese has further endeared himself to Owls fans after he declared his admiration for British indie rock band Arctic Monkeys.

Carvalhal met and had his picture taken with Monkeys lead singer Alex Turner, who is a Wednesdayite, for the first time in the wake of their impressive Boxing Day triumph over Birmingham City.

1-0 to the Owls. Pictures: Steve Ellis

“I like the Arctic Monkeys because they are from Sheffield,” said Carvalhal, with a big smile on his face.

Fernando Forestieri is undisputedly Wednesday’s frontman. The little forward was the cataylst for their seventh home win of the season, scoring either side of half-time.

Forestieri is in the form of his life after notching 10 goals in 17 starts since moving to Hillsborough.

He possesses the flair to trouble the majority of defences at this level, adding end product to his all-round game.

Scorer Fernando Forestieri celebrates

The disappointment was etched all over Forestieri’s face when he was withdrawn with 18 minutes remaining. He was hungry for a first Owls hat-trick.

Forestieri is a real showman but it is all about the team for Carvalhal.

“When the team works, the individual performances normally come,” he said. “I have never seen a team win with one player. Everybody needs 11 players.

“If you have an orchestra with pianos and violins, it is not good music. You also need good drums.”

Kieran Lee scores the second

As Carvalhal was keen to stress, the Arctic Monkeys success on the world stage has not been built purely around Turner’s vocal abilities. They are a four-piece who have honed their craft over the last decade.

He said: “The lead singer is the one who shows the best performance when he is singing but he needs the other three to do good music. Alone, the singer can do nothing.”

The Arctic Monkeys are used to packing out stadiums and festivals, having established themselves as one of the biggest bands on the planet.

Wednesday are still growing, learning and fine-tuning their act.

Fernando Forestieri scores the goal of the game

However, the Owls supporters are beginning to flock back to Hillsborough to cheer on the team.

More than 28,500, the largest league turn-out of the season, rocked up on Saturday to witness Carvalhal’s side put in another fine attacking diplay.

The fans are enjoying the team’s slick, entertaining, attacking brand of football and so is chairman Dejphon Chansiri, who was extremely complimentary of the style change in his programme notes.

It does help when big slices of luck go your way. Had Demarai Gray’s deflected strike looped in when it was goalless, perhaps it would have been a different story.

Gary Rowett, Carvalhal’s opposite number, has done a fine job with limited resources at St Andrew’s. But the former Burton Albion chief was a bit of a ‘Mardy Bum’ over the Owls’ opener, claiming it should not have stood as Forestieri scrambled the ball in from inside the six-yard box.

“It was a very, very poor goal from our point of view. I got word from our analyst up in the stand that it was a clear foul by [Adthe] Nuhui on [Michael] Morrison, he clambered all over the back of him, and a handball from Forestieri,” said Rowett.

“I got about three replays on the big screen to wind me up even further.

“I am not sure whether that’s the right thing to do, to replay that, and where we stand on that, but it was very frustrating to see on three occasions.”

Kieran Lee broke clear to double the hosts’ lead two minutes later, firing the ball past Birmingham keeper Tomasz Kuszczak after Jonathan Spector’s attempted clearance hit David Davis. It was another bit of good fortune for Carvalhal’s men who earned that luck by playing on the front foot.

‘Carlos Had a Dream’ reverberated around three sides of the ground, underlining yet again what a big hit and popular figure Carvalhal is.

A moment of individual brilliance from Forestieri rounded things off in style.

He led a rapid counter attack, carrying the ball half the length of the field before cutting inside on to his right foot and curling a shot beyond Kuszczak and into the top corner.

There was still time for goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith, in for Keiren Westwood, who was ruled out with a groin problem, to make two good saves to foil Jonathan Grounds and substitute Andrew Shinnie while Owls old boy Morrison also struck the crossbar with a header.

As long as Wednesday keep heading in a upward trajectory, the fans will sing Carvalhal’s praises and dance to his continental beat.

wednesday: Wildsmith 7; Hunt 8, Hutchinson 8 (Wiggins 81), Loovens 7, Pudil 7; Wallace 7 (Helan 66), Lee 7, Bannan 8, Forestieri 8 (McGugan 72); Hooper 7, Nuhiu 7. Substitutes: Price, Joao, Sougou, Semedo.

Birmingham: Kuszczak 7; Caddis 6. Morrison 6, Spector 6, Grounds 6; Davis 5, Kieftenbeld 5; Maghoma 6, Toral 6 (Shinnie 77), Gray 6 (Solomon-Otabor 72); Vaughan 6 (Donaldson 72). Substitutes: Legzdins, Robinson, Brock-Madsen, Halford.

Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland).

Attendance: 28,523.