This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Sheffield Wednesday boss Garry Monk steered his side back on track at the weekend with a 1-0 victory over Wigan Athletic at Hillsborough.
In midweek, the 40-year-old had picked up his first league defeat at the helm of the south Yorkshire club, but Saturday’s win means he has amassed ten points from a possible 15 – also moving them to within one point of the playoffs.
Considering Monk inherited the entirety of this squad, that’s pretty impressive.
The Owls boss was forced into at least one change as midfielder Sam Hutchinson’s fifth yellow card of the season meant he was suspended for this one.
His move to hand Massimo Luongo his first league start in the blue and white stripes ultimately paid off too as the 27-year-old netted the winner in the 57th-minute.
The Australian international slotted home Adam Reach’s cut-back pass from just inside the penalty area for the game’s only goal.
And his performance as a whole will have given Monk plenty of food for thought as Luongo was pretty much everywhere despite being primarily deployed in the number ten role.
Aside from the goal, he recorded one key pass, one tackle, two shots, and was fouled on one occasion, per SofaScore.
The midfielder could well keep hold of his spot after the international break as Hutchinson hasn’t exactly been outstanding – he’s not been bad either, but there’s certainly room for improvement as he averages a rating of 6.87.
As already mentioned, the 30-year-old has already picked up five yellow cards, making him a key protagonist in one of Wednesday’s problematic areas – discipline.
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They rank as the second-worst side in the Championship for Fair Play with a total of 22 yellow cards in 11 matches.
Hutchinson accounts for a quarter on his own.
He’s also the wrong side of 30, meaning he’s entering the twilight of his career whereas, at 27, Luongo is only just reaching his peak years. The former, therefore, could face a battle to get back in.
In the two games that Hutchinson has either been withdrawn or missing from entirely, the Owls have won – Middlesborough last weekend and Wigan on Saturday.
A telling sign, perhaps?