Sheffield Wednesday made it seven successive league defeats this afternoon as they squandered a one-goal lead against the Championship’s table-toppers, Norwich City.
Darren Moore’s arduous task at Hillsborough Stadium is now looking even tougher as the loss leaves the Owls seven points adrift with the sides in front all holding a game in hand.
The home side took an early lead when Jordan Rhodes capitalised on a scramble inside the area, but the Canaries hit back with a second-half double to condemn the Owls to yet another defeat.
It means Moore is yet to win since swapping promotion-chasing Doncaster Rovers for the struggling Sheffield giants, though he’s hardly been helped by this lacklustre squad, one full of players unwilling to fight for the cause.
Indeed, that appears to be the case for club captain Barry Bannan, who looked completely off it at Hillsborough.
Plenty of supporters fired criticism at Josh Windass, not just because of the way he could put Joey Pelupessy through on goal with it all-square at 1-1, but because of his reaction to his teammate too, all of which can be found under this thread here.
However, as captain, it is Bannan who should be stepping up and leading from the front, especially when recording a team-high 71 touches, which means he was involved more than any other Owls player, as per SofaScore.
The 31-year-old, who is thought to earn around £24k-per-week, was caught napping for Teemu Pukki’s valuable equaliser before picking up a yellow card for a rash and unnecessary challenge.
That summed up his game overall, though.
Bannan won just two of his five duels as he struggled to combat the likes of Emi Buendia, Todd Cantwell and Oliver Skipp, who all received better ratings by SofaScore.
The Owls skipper also lost possession 12 times, meaning he handed the ball back to the Championship front-runners once every six touches – or once every 7.5 minutes. Not a good look when you need to keep the ball to see the game out.
This was highlighted by YorkshireLive reporter Dom Howson in his post-match ratings, and he handed Bannan a joint-worst grade of 6/10. He said: ‘Caught ball watching for Pukki’s clinical strike. Went into the book after a rash challenge on Dowell.’
By comparison, Windass was far more lively and willing to engage, winning seven more duels, whilst he also put in one more tackle (three total) than Bannan (two).
The Scotsman has now failed to deliver in back-to-back matches – managing no higher than a 6.5 rating per WhoScored – so it gives Moore a massive conundrum to ponder going into the next few matches, all of which will be ‘must-wins.’
It would certainly be a hard call to axe his supposed talisman, but perhaps one that is required to spark some sort of reaction.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Bannan is doing very little to warrant the armband let alone his new two-year contract extension.
AND in other news, Exclusive: Ex-Sheffield Wednesday striker reacts to Darren Moore appointment