Sheffield Wednesday have been struggling this season both on and off the pitch – the Sky Bet Championship table bears testament to those struggles.

The Owls have been plucked clean many a time as dour performance after dour performance rightly riles and angered Wednesday fans.

The South Yorkshire side have been wallowing in the mud of a relegation battle all season – a season of dullness and a lack of light. However, they shone brilliantly in taking Cardiff City apart 5-0 on Monday.

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Sheffield Wednesday shine bright – hammered Bluebirds

It was as unexpected as could be. 23rd place Wednesday facing a Cardiff City side somewhat rejuvenated under Mick McCarthy’s stewardship. All pointed to a Bluebirds win; all pointed wrong.

Darren Moore’s Owls opened an early lead through defender Julian Borner (4′) and the game was effectively over as a competitive fixture by its quarter-way point. Further goals from Calum Paterson (20′) and Adam Reach (23′) underlined that.

Further goals in the second period from Jordan Rhodes (65′) and Reach again (69′) made it a very sorry trip indeed for Cardiff to Hillsborough.

Reach stands out in Cardiff win

Reach’s two goals were the headline figures from the game but he contributed much more. He had 75 touches (6.8% of Wednesday’s possession) and completed 36-of-52 passes (69% accuracy).

20 of his pass attempts (38.5%) had a destination of the final third of the pitch so forcing Cardiff City to defend. He also had a 100% success rate in tackles and dribbles on the night – admittedly only one of each.

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Adam Reach

The above heatmap shows how effective Adam Reach was against Cardiff City’s Tom Sang – the man who’d have to contend with him most of the night.

Reach rewarded with FIFA TOTW place

Reach’s performance on the night earned him a place in FIFA’s TOTW 28 squad, albeit on the bench. However, he is the only Sky Bet Championship player featured in a TOTW which also includes the likes of  Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne, Atalanta’s Luis Muriel and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram.

Reach’s brace and performance in the Cardiff game was enough to lift them level, barring goal difference, with Rotherham. The Owls have seven games left to overhaul the seven points separating themselves and Birmingham City – a gain that would see Adam Reach and Sheffield Wednesday safe as a Championship side next season.

Statistics and heatmap derived from WhoScored’s Sheffield Wednesday vs Cardiff City match centre sections.