West Brom 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday: Five learning points as the Baggies remain top of the Championship

West Brom narrowly defeated Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 thanks to a late penalty from Baggies substitute Charlie Austin.

The win for Slaven Bilic’s side has maintained their two point cushion over second place Leeds United who continue to keep up with the League leaders after their last gasp 2-1 away win over Luton Town.

Here are the five key talking points from the closely contested contest at the Hawthorns:

Charlie Austin- The Saviour

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The key moment of the game was Slaven Bilic’s sub in the 75th minute of the game to bring on Charlie Austin for Hal Robson-Kanu.

At that point before the substitution, Sheffield Wednesday had all the momentum to go on and win the game. But the substitution flipped the game on its head and suddenly West Brom had new lease of life to them with the introduction of the ex Southampton player

The warning signs were there for the Owls before Austin managed to score his goal. The fact that he hit the post with a header in the 83rd minute should have been enough to get the Sheffield club to adopt their tactics to nullify his threat.

However that warning wasn’t taken due to the fact that Matheus Pereira was wiped out by the onrushing Kieran Westwood in the 87th minute, meaning only one man was going to step up…

The 30-year-old converted the penalty with ease to score his second Championship goal of the season and more importantly win the three points for the Baggies.

After the match, Slaven Bilic praised the mentality of the striker to step up and take such an important penalty so late into the contest.

He said: “It takes courage to take a penalty like that but that’s why he’s Charlie Austin.”

Slaven Bilic’s side show strong winning mentality

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The Midlands club weren’t at their fluent best yesterday and at points like mentioned above- looked like losing the game in the end.

However the best sides and winners always find a way to win even if they aren’t at their best, or if the game isn’t going their way.

And like last week where Bilic’s side grinded out a tight victory against Hull City, they were able to do that again but against a superior opposition in Sheffield Wednesday.

Those two results prove why the Hawthorns club are favourites with most pundits and even the bookies to win the Championship this season.

Sheffield Wednesday show why they will be up there competing at the top end of the Championship table

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Coming into this game- all the odds were with West Brom to pick up a comfortable victory.

However Sheffield Wednesday demonstrated why they will be up there come the end of the season challenging at the top with their battling and gusty performance that they put in against the Baggies.

Even after an early set back, the Owls were able to regroup and create chances against top of the Championship.

After half-time, Monk’s side looked like winning the match only for the momentum to flip when Austin came on.

It was just one of those days for Wednesday- looked bright going forward, just lacked the final ball on many occasions to trouble the West Brom backline (especially in the first half).

The disappointment of not coming away with a well deserved point showed after the game in Gary Monk’s post match reaction.

He said: “I feel sick for the players. To come to the league leaders and play that well and get nothing. The first half was even, but in the second we were the better team.”

Matheus Pereira is West Brom’s key player who make them function properly in the attack

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The Portuguese sensation has been pivotal for West Brom all season, and has shown in this game why the Baggies will need to sign him permanently from Sporting Lisbon if they get promoted to the Premier League.

Most of the chances created for Bilic’s side came through the 23-year-old.

The attacking midfielder assisted Hal Robson-Kanu’s goal in the 10th minute with a lovely through ball.

And he was the player who won the winning penalty for the Midlands side, meaning that they took the three points from the game due to his involvement in the attacking areas.

Those two assists yesterday means that Pereira currently has seven Championship assists this season to his name.

Steven Fletcher continues to be the spearhead of Gary Monk’s team

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It’s clear to see that the Owls would be further down the table if they didn’t have Steven Fletcher in the squad

at the age of 32-years-old, the striker has shown no sign of ageing on the pitch and as a result is still Wednesday’s main man.

His penalty goal in the 58th minute was the Scottish strikers sixth Championship goal of this season so far.

After the match Monk said: “We can’t continue in that way. So much of that game was exactly what we needed it to be. We’ll stick together and, if we continue to perform like that, results will turn for us.”

If results were to ‘turn’ for Monk’s side, then you would assume that Steven Fletcher will have to continue his goalscoring form. That’s how important the 32-year-old is to Sheffield Wednesday’s chances of pushing for promotion this season.

Published by danyalkhan2000

Sports Journalism second year student at University of Gloucestershire

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