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Who Needs Kante When You’ve Got Luongo

Massimo Luongo’s 55th minute strike at Ashton Gate on Sunday was the first time the Australian has found the back of the net since October 22nd when he earned The Owls a 1-0 victory against Stoke City at Hillsborough - writes Ben Woodcock.

Back then, Garry Monk was in charge of a side riding high in the Championship with just one defeat in their last seven.

Now, with the squad in a very different situation Luongo is proving to be just as vital, his misfortune with injuries which left him on the treatment table post-Christmas coincided with Wednesday’s terrible run of form.

Before the restart, the dynamic midfielder had featured just twice in 2020 including his 23rd minute red card against Blackburn Rovers in January where The Owls suffered a 5-0 defeat in his absence.

Speaking to the club’s media after the Bristol City success Luongo said: “I was so happy, I’ve been out for a long time, I haven’t had the best of luck with injuries but yeah it was nice, my last game was in January so to get two starts I’m really so happy with that and four points and a goal to top it off is just the icing on the cake.”

The importance of Luongo is no clearer than when one compares the teams form with and without him.

Wednesday have won 11 of their 20 fixtures with him in the side, losing just 5. Meanwhile, without him Wednesday fans have seen their side win just twice, against Charlton Athletic where Steven Fletcher’s last gasp goal stole all three points and the opening day win at Reading, before Luongo joined the club from Queens Park Rangers.

Not only does the Aussie stamp his own authority on the side since the restart, in the midfield trio alongside Barry Bannan and Kieran Lee, he has allowed the former to have more freedom to create and focus on attacking matters.

Often when Bannan has found himself holding the fort with Joey Pelupessy he’s seemed shackled by defensive duties.

Alongside Luongo though, Bannan has the freedom to architect chances and dictate play as he showed in his Man of the Match display against The Robins at the weekend and against Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough the previous week.

Looking towards the West Bromwich Albion encounter tomorrow night Luongo said: “I think there’s an opportunity here for us as a team to exploit the teams that are above us at the moment because you look at who we’re playing, a lot of them are ahead of us so if we can take points off them and see how high up we get on the table, seven games later you never know where we are.”

Luongo was a fan favourite during his four-year stint at Loftus Road where he accumulated 145 league appearances, he currently sits on just 20 for Wednesday but without future injuries he could prove to be just as popular amongst the Hillsborough faithful.

Not only will ‘Mass’ be crucial for the remainder of this campaign but his midfield partnership with Barry Bannan will be key for next season and the development of young midfield starlet Alex Hunt who could easily slot into Kieran Lee’s place if he was to leave at the end of this season.

Come give your thoughts on the Australian midfielder's performances on the forum by clicking - HERE  

Unread article 30/06/2020 at 21:51

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