Date:Saturday August 11 2012
Vital Latics brings you the Wigan Athletic fans 'Hopes and Fears' series as we build up to the seasons big kick-off against Chelsea.
Wigan Athletic supporter and Vital Latics member, markgreen433 gives us his thoughts on the coming season now, over to you Mark:
As I write this piece I'm watching the taped performances from the back end of last season, specifically the games against Man Utd, Arsenal and Newcastle. As a result I'm having to suppress a great deal of optimism when thinking about my hopes and fears for our upcoming games. I'm not sure if I have more fears than hopes, but I'll do them first as they're the easiest to think of.
I genuinely hope that we don't miss our departed players, not the ones that we sell, but the ones we released Hugo, Momo, Kirky and Hendry. Having said that, I don't know many people who would say that we would miss Hendry and as great a goalkeeper Chris was for us when he first arrived, injuries & the emergence of Ali has meant that he won't be missed. However, I do worry that Hugo & Momo may return to haunt us.
Another fear that I have is that the atmosphere generated at the back end of last season with the Meet'n'Greets will be lost after a single bad result or a slow start and then the usual names will get picked on again. I've watched a couple of home games over the last couple of years and I can understand why some players don't seem to perform to their ability when at the DW. Some of the shouting borders on abuse, most of it during the warm up! Let's be honest, shouting for a player to be taken off before they've even kicked a ball is just idiotic.
My final fear is that the fans take the results against the big teams last year for granted and expect more of the same this year. Don't get me wrong I want that to happen, but I would be happy if the performances remain the same, even if the results didn't go the same way. As long as we remain confident in our ability we should be okay. I think that we have developed a good system that suits us, but other teams will be a little more aware of it this time round and will try to nullify us. Lets be honest we're hardly the most prolific of teams, so if they can mark Franco (or Mauro) out of the game our chances of three points will be limited.
Actually I think this will be a good year for us, we have a solid team to build on and for the first season since Roberto joined us we have a team that knows how to play 'the Wigan way' rather than having to spend six months retraining them.
Our defence seems to work with Alcaraz/Caldwell/Figgy and we now have a solid platform to build from. This has been strengthened by the addition of Ramis and the return of Golobart (personally I've not seen enough of Piscu to pass judgement but the reviews seem mixed).Though, I do hope we can find ourselves a back up right wing back to cover Boyce, as although Stam seems ideal he doesn't appear to be as effective in the formation as Emerson.
I'm pretty certain that under the new system this will be a big season for the two James's (though that might lead to headaches in next summer's silly season) and look forward to seeing them harrying the opposition midfielders.
I also hope that the 'bigger' clubs who admire our style of play will now start to offer us their talent on loan; such as Ryo from Arsenal. Having seen him play for Bolton and during pre-season games last year at Arsenal, I can honestly say he would thrive in our system. It would be a good deal all round, especially if Victor goes.
Finally. I hope Victor goes. Nothing against him, I think he has had some cracking games for us but only 'some' and not always for the whole game. Personally, I would rather have someone a little less showy but with a greater end product. Having the ability to beat two men is great, but not if you consistently make the wrong decision or shoot into the stands! I just hope that Roberto uses his transfer funds wisely to build on his team.
Overall, I honestly don't know what to think at the moment, I would've been a bit clearer in my thoughts if we'd beaten Mallorca, but at the end of the day you can't judge our season on friendlies - as Roberto certainly doesn't. However, from listening to it the first half we pretty much controlled the game and that had the majority of last seasons players starting. I guess my ambitions for the season would be for a safe mid-table position as this is certainly not the year to be relegated, as the incoming TV money will pretty much enable the club to be self-sufficient. However, I would like Roberto to take the cup competitions a little more seriously as with the right run of fixtures we could reach the semi's.
Player of the Year: Probably Ali again, though I do hope it will be one of Franco/Maloney/Gomez as that would mean our attacking players did well. However I have a sneaking suspicion it may be McCarthy.
Flop of the Year: Hard to say at this moment in time, as it always depends on your criteria. I think we now have a system that creates enough chances in a game, so if Boselli fails to score again then he would have to be considered a flop. Having said that, from what i heard of the mallorca game he made all the right runs but no-one spotted them. One other candidates could be Piscu, as he's had more than enough time to settle into the system and the demands of the premier league yet still seems to divide the fans. The only thing we can ask for as fans is that our players give their all, but they to be given the chance! It seems that sometimes people make their minds up before the season starts and never really change them no matter what.
Prediction: I would be really happy with somewhere between 9th and 13th (the money would be good for the club as well). I'll stick my neck out and say we'll get past the first round of the Carling Cup or whatever its now called and maybe the third round of the FA Cup. My final prediction is more ominous though; If we have a good season leading to our financial stability, with the development squad starting to produce home grown talent, Roberto will move on to a bigger stage. He will have done all he can do at Wigan, he would have introduced a new footballing philosophy to the club, established the development squad and left us financially self sufficient. After that the only way is down! More importantly, if he doesn't take the step up soon he may never get offered the chances again.
Previous Hopes and Fears 2012/13:
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Date:Saturday August 11 2012
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