Good start to the season at both ends of the pitch
The end to the 2019-20 season couldn’t come soon enough for Sheffield Wednesday. Few teams in the top 4 divisions had a poorer record than Garry Monk’s side in 2020 when the prolonged season came to an end in July. With top scorer Steven Fletcher injured and then absent for much of 2020 Wednesday were struggling to score enough goals to put wins together and conceding 2 goals per game on average made that task even harder. In the second half of the season Wednesday picked up only 17 points from 23 games.
Even before a ball was kicked in 2020-21 the Owls suffering continued when they lost the case brought by the EFL in relation to breaching financial regulations. This resulted in a 12-point deduction to be applied at the start of the current season.
The campaign kicked off with a Carabao Cup tie at Walsall and although the Owls progressed on penalties, the 0-0 draw that preceded the shoot-out did little to raise spirits. Garry Monk’s side needed to get the season off to a good start but the opening fixture away to Cardiff City was hardly the easiest of starts. The Welsh club finished in the top 6 last season in a campaign that saw them beaten only 3 times in 23 games on home soil.
Wednesday confronted the uphill task head on, new signing Josh Windass opening the scoring early on and Jordan Rhodes doubling the advantage just before half-time. Wednesday’s previously pourous defence stood strong and they returned to Sheffield with a fully warranted 3 points to start chipping away at the deficit.
A thoroughly professional performance followed at Rochdale on Tuesday evening as the Owls eased to a 2-0 League Cup victory despite making 11 changes. The shape of the side remained the same and it seems the squad are all on board with what the management team want from them. New forward Elias Kachunga finding the net at Rochdale will undoubtedly give him an early confidence boost in his new surroundings.
Early days for sure but 3 wins and 3 cleans sheets is encouraging. There are plenty more tough tests to come, including Saturday’s match with Watford and the Owls must improve on their woeful home form of last season but if the first few games are anything to go by, Monk’s men will be up for the fight this season.