Sheffield Wednesday returned to winning ways, defeating promotion hopefuls Aston Villa after second half goals from Marco Matias and Steven Fletcher. Here are the highs and lows.
BIG PRAISE FOR JOS LUHUKAY
The Wednesday chief got his team selection and tactics spot on. Luhukay made five changes to his starting line-up and switched their formation to 3-5-2. There was pace, purpose and balance to the Owls side. “This is I would say the best performance since I have been here,” he said. “When we play like this, we can achieve great things.” This was an outstanding team performance.
The defender’s contribution should not be forgotten in the victory. At 1-1, he made a vital clearance off the line to prevent Conor Hourihane from putting Villa ahead. Pudil, who played on the left of a three-man defence, expertly positioned himself near the goal line to kick the ball to safety. It proved a key moment as Steven Fletcher headed the Owls back in front after a delightful Joey Pelupessy delivery.
It looked like being a frustrating afternoon for the striker. Fletcher was wasteful in front of goal in the second half. His left foot effort was blocked by Orjan Nyland and he headed wide when he had the goal at his mercy. Alan Hutton also thwarted him when he latched on to Pudil’s through ball. But Fletcher kept on going and scored a trademark header.
STILL NO CLEAN SHEET
The only blemish on Wednesday's performance was the concession of John McGinn's extraordinary 53rd minute volley. It means the Owls have still yet to record a shut out in nine attempts in the league. But their defensive organisation was so much better at Villa Park. They defended superbly as a team, restricting a talented Villa team to few clear-cut chances in a solid away display.