Date:Tuesday August 14 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, King_Dezeeuw06 gives us his thoughts on the coming season, over to you King:
After a terrific end of the season and surprisingly winning multiple battles to keep our manager and star player (so far at least) from the bigger clubs it's been an off season free from the usual worry and stresses that being a Wigan fan can often brings. So after what has been a quite serene summer it's now time to get back onto the roller coaster that being a Latics fan is all about, and you know when it comes to supporting Wigan Athletic it's bound to be a bumpy ride.
I really hope we can start the season exactly the same way we ended the last; playing with a high tempo, lots of movement, attacking in numbers at every opportunity, with a high work rate and battling attitude. If we do that and keep our starting 11 fit we can have a good season, our wing back system is potentially so difficult to play against (and exciting to watch) and I think if we did everything right there's no reason why it couldn't carry us into the top half of the table.
I'd also hope (but in reality seriously doubt) that we will keep Moses for the season and bring in a couple more players to add much needed strength and depth before the window shuts, in particular sign a new striker. I have high hopes for both Franco and Miyachi and obviously Moses if he stays.
I don't think the league is particularly strong so I think if we can keep up the high standards we set at the end of last season (we have proven that we can do it now) relegation shouldn't be an issue.
The problems with the above scenarios are that it relies on maintaining the same exceptional levels of performance from the players and avoiding injuries and I don't know how realistic that is. We start the season afresh the momentum from last season has gone and I worry that now the fear and pressure of relegation isn't staring us directly in the face that we will lose the high intensity and desire that drove us to such great performances, and the performance levels will drop. Or even worse return to the slower, more lack lustre pace and performances that dogged us for the first half of last season and much of the previous 2 years.
I also fear that we have a very thin squad and very finely balanced team so any injuries to our starting 11 will hurt us, but injuries to certain key personnel will seriously affect our ability to even play our system effectively.
The lack of back up in certain areas of the pitch, and a handful of key players whose role no one else in the squad has the attributes to replicate accurately means we are always living on the edge. Selling Moses could also be a huge blow but the signing of Miyaichi does help to potentially offset that somewhat.
Like I said earlier I don't think the league is particularly strong this year, but at the same time I don't think there are really obvious strugglers who are likely to prop us up like there have been in previous seasons. The slowly declining teams you would expect to definitely struggle all went last year and the newly promoted sides that replaced them come up in decent shape, not to mention making some astute signings and I think they will surprise a few people. If we go on some of the horrible back to back losing runs we went on last season, we could easily find ourselves cut adrift, unlike last season when it seemed no matter how bad our run got we stayed in touch with the rest of the pack.
Franco Di Santo - His height, pace, strength, hold up play and tireless work from the front, not to mention his goals were a huge part of the turnaround last season. His presence on the pitch releases the wingers, gives the defenders an outlet for a long ball, and creates chances for others. Without him in the team, we noticeably struggle to get anything going forward, even when he's not scoring any goals he adds so much to the side. If he can continue with the goal scoring touch he slowly started to find at the end of last season then he will be an even bigger attribute and even more pivotal to our side. He's always had the potential and the right attitude but this is his season to take the step up and really show everyone how good he can be, I don't think he's ever going to be a 20 goal a season striker but I don't think that 10-12 goals a season is beyond a player of his talent. I hope the club gets his new contrast sorted ASAP, as I'm sure in 12 months time he won't be short of potential suitors.
Overall I think that this is by far the hardest seasons to predict how we will do in all the years I've been watching Latics. The end of season gave us so much to be excited about and tangible changes to the tactics, formation and team selection give hope that the incredible run we went on wasn't a blip but the start of something new and exciting. But although it's never an accurate barometer, a less than spectacular pre-season hasn't exactly inspired me with confidence.
I think our start to the season will dictate the rest of the season in a big way, we have a nothing to lose and everything to gain in the opener against Chelsea, a potentially tough trip to be Southampton`s first Premier League opponents, and what really needs to be a home banker against Stoke, I think if we get a good start (6 out of 9 points) then confidence will be flowing, belief will be sky high and we can build on last season`s incredible end. But if we slip up and get off to a bad start I can see us seemingly going back to sleep with up only waking up after Christmas when the pressure is really on.
If pushed for a prediction of which way it will go I fear it could be the latter rather than the former. It really could go either way, but we never make things easy on ourselves do we?!
Premier League: 15th
Carling Cup: 4th Round
FA Cup: 3rd Round
Player of the Year: Ali Al Habsi/Franco
Flop of the year: Boselli/Piscu
Golden Boot: Franco
Previous Hopes and Fears 2012/13:
#1 #2 #3 #4
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Date:Tuesday August 14 2012
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