Dom Howson column: Lack of clinical edge continues to cost Sheffield Wednesday

Steven Fletcher
Steven Fletcher

Shortly after being appointed as Owls boss, Carlos Carvalhal promised to bring aggressive, entertaining, attacking football to S6.

There has been the odd slip up along the way, but Carvalhal has largely achieved his objective and deserves huge credit for turning Wednesday into one of the most attractive sides at this level.

Last season, the Owls blew teams away, particularly at Hillsborough. Victories over Arsenal (cup), Huddersfield Town, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Birmingham City and Brentford immediately spring to mind. Many opponents struggled to nullify their array of attacking talent.

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After spending big money on Steven Fletcher, Almen Abdi and Adam Reach last summer, you would have thought scoring goals would be the least of the team’s troubles.

But for all their fancy, intricate possession-based football, Wednesday have lacked end product during the 2016/17 season, finding the back of the net a paltry 17 times in 16 matches in all competitions. There has only been three occasions where the Owls have hit two or more goals. It is an unsatisfactory return for a side packed full of creativity and quality.

Week in, week out chances are created. Week in, week out chances continue to be wasted.

It is all well and good dominating possession for long periods as Wednesday are doing, but it is pointless unless you do something meaningful with it. When the Owls have been on top in matches, they have failed to get their noses in front or kill teams off.

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The front three: Fletcher, Gary Hooper and Fernando Forestieri have received criticism in some quarters for scoring just 10 goals between them, but they are not solely to blame for the side’s inadequacies in front of goal. It is the responsibility of the whole team to contribute in the goals department.

“We are doing all the right things in training and in the games,” insists club-record signing Adam Reach, who is still looking to open his account. “The attackers and strikers are out every day on the training pitch practicing finishing and taking chances.

“At some point, it will all click together and we will start scoring more goals. Hopefully it will start against Ipswich tomorrow.”

Things need to click soon as Newcastle United and Brighton Hove Albion are threatening to pull away from Carvalhal’s side at the top of the league. We are nearly a third of the way through the campaign so it is about time the team develop a ruthless streak.

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