Wigan Athletic - The 12th Man - 07/02/13
This weeks Wigan Evening Post 12th Man Feature has two contributions from Vital Latics:
Latics Need Inspiration
Another bad day at the office on Saturday, a very uninspiring performance from the Latics looked to have cost us dearly, Shaun Maloney's last gasp equaliser gave us a point that we didn't really deserve, but picking up points following a display like that has to be seen as a bonus.
I think that most people would agree we are very weak down our right hand side, we concede an awful lot of goals from opposition attacks down there and again on Saturday we were left exposed in the 85 minute when Jay Rodriguez ran almost the full length of the pitch to set up the last of the Southampton goals.
Ronnie Stam isn't the world's best defender by any stretch of the imagination, but when he was substituted on Saturday, early in the second half, the whole team lost its shape, at the time we were a goal in front, what the shuffling around of players did to accommodate this change was to leave us overly exposed in midfield and no Latics player seemed to know what their individual responsibilities were
Southampton simply picked up the tempo and controlled the rest of the game, I feel we played right into their hands
The right side has been the problem since Victor Moses left for Chelsea, Martinez always says no player will be allowed to leave unless it's on our terms and we have a replacement for him, we may have got the cash we wanted, but we've had two windows to line up a replacement and not done so. Moses was difficult to replace, he is a special player but his leaving as left a gaping hole that we now can't close.
One piece of good news from the weekend is that Arouna Kone is on his way back following the Ivory Coast's defeat to Nigeria in the African Cup of Nations, we have missed Kone's power and pace whilst he`s been away, he gives us another dimension to the attack, he should also be quite refreshed having started just one game in the tournament, I hope he's enjoyed his sabbatical because there's some hard graft ahead for him starting on Saturday.
Chelsea away isn't a fixture that I look forward to with mouth watering anticipation, it's a bit like going to Old Trafford going to the Bridge, we usually get a stuffing, but they haven't been the best at home under Benitez and we are most definitely better away from the DW as our points tally on the road shows and we are undefeated on our travels in 2013
Anything gained at Chelsea would certainly raise spirits after the demoralising performance against Southampton, fingers crossed that we can be another thorn in the side of Benitez, we really do need some inspiration to help get the fight going
We Got A Point
Having spent a number of weeks during this season complaining that our performance didn't get what it deserved, it's quite a refreshing dichotomy to come away from a game where Southampton clearly didn't get what they deserved from the game, and perhaps we were a little fortunate to escape with a point.
During the course of the game they showed exactly the sort of battling spirit that you want to see from our side. Their off the ball work was exemplary; they were first to most of the loose balls and pressed us constantly. This caused our passing game to go astray, and really rattled us. They were simply the better side from the minute this started to work for them, and one of few teams I've seen us play where I didn't feel we were able to compete. Even in the darkest days of last season, I never felt we were simply outplayed to the same degree as we were on Saturday. At the point where they took the lead, we`d been so much the second best that I actually thought that they'd made it 3-1, wrapping the game up and not just taking the lead. If we have many more games like that we will be struggling.
The positive is that we still managed to get a point out of the game, through our spirit and determination. This is a real good sign on what was otherwise an awful day. We might have been second best on the day, but the team were not prepared to give up the fight, and that is something you can`t buy, is invaluable, and is what will hopefully propel us forward on other days. Mr Scharner is clearly adding value in this respect. I gave him my man of the match. Welcome back Paul.
The latest edition of the PWU Wigan Athletic podcast is now available for download.
This week in the studio are Barry, Dan, Gareth, Greg, Paul and Mick who discuss in detail the draw with Southampton (00:00), player performances and formations. The international break (19:25) is also discussed, fingers crossed that there are no injuries picked up.
There is a preview of Saturday's Premier League game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge (21:40)
We finish off the proceedings with a difference of opinion on our survival chances this season, though I'm sure a couple of results either way and we'll all be in a little more agreement!
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The PWU crew
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