Sheffield Wednesday vs Arsenal match report: Owls turn on the power to leave sorry Gunners in a daze

Sheffield Wednesday 3 Arsenal 0: Hosts claim second Premier League scalp after visitors are rocked by early injuries to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott

Jon Culley
Hillsborough
Tuesday 27 October 2015 22:56
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Lucas Joao celebrates after heading in his Wednesday's second goal
Lucas Joao celebrates after heading in his Wednesday's second goal

If there is to be silverware at the end of Arsene Wenger’s 19th season as Arsenal manager, it will not be the Capital One Cup, after a month in which everything seemed to be looking up suffered a spectacular jolt at Hillsborough, where Sheffield Wednesday of the Championship underlined the upwardly mobile trend of their season by providing a crowd of more than 35,000 in this most atmospheric of stadiums with a night to remember.

Wednesday had beaten Newcastle in the last round after making 10 changes but this time Carlos Carvalhal, the hitherto little known Portuguese head coach who has needed only a short time to mould the Hillsborough side into potential promotion contenders in the Championship, went for his strongest line-up.

He kept faith with 19-year-old goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith but picked nine of the 10 outfielders involved as Wednesday’s unbeaten run stretched to eight games with last Friday’s 2-1 win at Rotherham, leaving out only Fernando Forestieri, who was cup-tied.

The move paid off handsomely as Arsenal, rocked by injuries to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and substitute Theo Walcott inside the first 20 minutes, conceded two goals before half-time and a third barely six minutes into the second half.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, pictured, and Theo Walcott both suffered injuries on a disappointing night for the Gunners

Man of the match Ross Wallace struck the first after 28 minutes, driving the ball home from 15 yards after a wonderful pass by Barry Bannan had released Daniel Pudil to deliver a low cross from the left.

Wallace, who narrowly missed from a subsequent free kick, then turned provider five minutes before half-time, supplying a fine cross from a cleverly worked wrong-footing corner on the left, which Portuguese striker Lucas Joao met with a thumping header that gave Petr Cech no chance.

The Arsenal defence were caught again with the third goal as Barry Bannan’s free kick from the left to the far post was sidefooted back across goal first-time by Tom Lees and turned in by Hutchinson, the defender claiming his first goal since April last year.

Arsenal had left the field at half-time looking understandably bemused, having been unable to generate any telling momentum despite dominating possession, although after being forced into changes so early this was understandable.

They lost Oxlade-Chamberlain after only five minutes, the midfielder pulling up after his first run of any real purpose, leaving the field after treatment for what looked like a thigh problem. Walcott, his replacement, had been on the field less than a quarter of an hour when he too had to be replaced because of a calf injury, giving way to the 17-year-old Frenchman, Ismael Bennacer.

The teenager thus became the third Arsenal player on the night to make his senior debut, joining the Finn Glen Kamara and the Nigerian Alex Iwobi, who were the 200th and 201st players to appear for Arsenal during Arsene Wenger’s 19 years in charge, in a starting line-up in which only Petr Cech, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud were retained from the side that beat Everton at the weekend.

Arsenal might complain that Sam Hutchinson’s yellow card was a lenient punishment for a 30th-minute foul on Iwobi that could have ended the 19-year-old’s evening, but they could have few other grounds to feel hard done-by.

Arsenal can console themselves with a Premier League table that looks as promising for them as many in a long time, and at renewed optimism for the Champions League, but this was a bad night, with the added worry of injuries to two players important to their plans.

Man of the match Wallace.

Match rating 7/10.

Referee G Scott (Berkshire).

Attendance 35,065.

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