Three things are known about Wigan – it’s miles from the sea but has a pier, it’s famous for a Casino that never saw a poker chip or roulette wheel and it has a football team that you underestimate at your peril.
After Thursday’s capitulation at the death, treating anyone with anything but the utmost respect is the last thing that you’d expect to see from our lads, but an entreatment to avoid complaceny is worth it anyway.
Our failure to convert being on top for large periods of games into victories is becoming a signature of the season. The principal cause is the lack of penetration and goals; defensive organisation and tactics also come into it of course. It’s arguable whether the late sub cost us the tie on Wednesday but it’s hard to think of many games so far where the manager’s habit of swapping round the midfield as the game approaches its denouement in an attempt to ensure that we keep what we hold has done the trick.
Anyway, back to our visitors to White Hart Lane this Saturday afternoon, Wigan Athletic. Their rising from the dead display at the end of the last season was enough to see Martinez linked with a host of ‘bigger’ jobs in the summer, including ours and it was indeed incredible to see the change in performances from the end of March onwards when seven wins in nine games kept them safe. This campaign they’ve not really carried on where they left off. They currently sit 15th with only wins over Southampton and West Ham to their credit. The latter was last weekend though and they were apparently a lot better than 2-1 suggests. One could say they’re in form then – if it wasn’t for their inability to score against Bradford on Tuesday night.
Arouna Kone and Franco Di Santo are their joint top league scorers with three each. The latter must be having a decent season, he’s just been called up to the Argentina squad for their friendly in a couple of weeks. Elsewhere, Maloney, Mcarthur and McCarthy have been getting good write-ups.
It’ll be a bit of a shock if our side isn’t very similar to the one which started against Southampton. Adebayor is back in training but can only expect a place on the bench. Plenty of observers think that Lloris has done enough to be put out of his misery and made number one, whether AVB agrees is a completely different kettle though.
This game to us is almost as important because of what follows as because of the three points up for grabs. With visits to Woolwich and the Middle East next on the list anything other than a win is liable to leave us much further into catch up territory come December than we’d like to be. If we play to our best though and take our chances, especially any early ones that might come our way then we should be ok.
Martin Atkinson, who hopefully has spent the summer learning to differentiate between a ball two feet from the line and one completely over it, is down to officiate. COYS.
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