A performance filled with hard work and passion won out on Tuesday evening, as Sheffield Wednesday thrashed Arsenal 3-0 in the Capital One Cup.
Arsene Wenger's side came into the contest as overwhelming favourites but were unable to continue their recent fine form as Wednesday came out victorious against an injury-laden Arsenal to take their unbeaten run to nine games in all competitions.
The evening started poorly for the Gunners as they were forced to make an early change with Theo Walcott replacing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who was reported to have felt a tightness in his hamstring. Wednesday took it upon themselves to frustrate Arsenal in the early stages after the change with their tenacity and high pressing, Sam Hutchinson in front of the back four did his best to disrupt the away sides rhythm and limit the service to their offensive focal point Olivier Giroud.
The Owls punish injury struck Arsenal
The game lacked any chances during the first 20 minutes although Walcott had to be subsituted in the 19th minute with a suspected calf injury after he had only come on 15 minutes earlier. However, it was Wednesday who took the lead with the first real chance in the 27th minute when Ross Wallace swept home Daniel Pudil's precise cross into the bottom corner of Petr Cech's net.
It was that man Wallace again in the 33rd minute who went close with a free kick although Cech seemed to have the situation under control as the game began to liven up in a very hostile Hillsborough atmosphere. Alex Iwobi had Arsenal's first effort of any note but the youngsters shot struck the side netting after some clever skill out on the left wing.
Jeremy Helan was next to have an effort on goal in the 39th minute after he burst forward from inside his own half but Cech was equal to his effort. From the resulting corner The Owls punished Arsenal again with Wallace delivering a pinpoint cross from a short corner which was brilliantly headed in by Lucas Joao. Arsenal kept possession for the remainder of the half but were unable to test Joe Wildsmith in the Wednesday goal.
Wednesday seal the deal early in second half
The teams came out unchanged for the second period as Wednesday continued to impose themselves upon Arsenal. In the 51st minute the victory was effectively sealed for Wednesday as Hutchinson was on hand to tap in from Kieran Lees pull back after a cleverly worked free kick. The game's tempo slowed down after the third goal with Arsenal's youngsters in midfield struggling to create any meaningful attacks to supply a frustrated Giroud.
Per Mertesacker finally tested Wildsmith in the 69th minute, his header from Mathieu Flamini's cross was well saved by the Wednesday keeper as Arsenal began to threaten the home side. Chances were few and far between in the latter stages of the games with Lewis McGugan having a speculative effort from the edge of the box in the 84th minute which flew harmlessly over the crossbar. Joel Campbell came closest to a concilation goal for the visitors in injury time but his volley flew just wide of the post.
The result is one that Wednesday fans will cherish for some years and they will be eagerly anticipating their next opponent. Arsenal fans will be praying that the injuries to Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain are not serious as they are set to embark on a tough schedule of fixtures with Swansea, Bayern Munich and Tottenham Hotspur their next three opponents.