Wigan at WHL on Tuesday evening. This one is all about getting a win and kick starting the points accumulating machine that the team has become since the start of September. The draw and the loss in the last two games mean that we’ve lost ground on those ahead of us but not, fortunately on Van Persie FC, Chelski and Liverpool who have all stuttered behind us.
If Friday night’s dip in form was a post-Eastlands hangover then we were lucky with the opposition. If it’s a sign of something deeper, fatigue loss of form or problems with squad depth for instance then that’s more serious given the games coming up and the lack of window action.
Wigan’s last two results in N17 could hardly have been more contrasting with the 9-1 goal fest of two seasons ago being followed by our only home league defeat of 2010/11. They have struggled all season and currently sit bottom 4 points adrift of 17th and safety. The Latics normally sprinkle dodgy away form with the odd are-you-sure? home result but this campaign has been all mud and grunt with little light relief. A couple of weeks ago they lost only narrowly to Man City for whom Joe Hart made a great save in the second half, last week though they lost at QPR and they have just one win in their last nine games.
Their team is hardly full of familiar let alone household names, Hugo Rodallega, Ben Watson, Figueroa & Victor Moses are the better known ones. Hmm. We all know that having a teamsheet comprised of players that your mum has heard of doesn’t win you football matches though – despite what happened at Watford. Beausejour has just left Birmingham to join the apparently sinking ship, heaven knows why.
Injuries and access to a phone permitting, Harry will field his strongest side. Defoe and Lennon are apparently struggling, whilst Sandro and Gallas also aren’t ready. Bale might be ok, same with Ledley.
From now until the end of the season virtually all the players will be carrying a niggle of some sort and their attitude will be key. Knuckling down and getting on with it is vital, especially if we have a cup run, but something else that’s starting to get a little urgent is the lack of presence of Adebayor’s name on the scoresheet. He’s done loads of good work of course and brought an essential dimension we were lacking all of last season. We need goals though, and he’s there to score as well as provide.
Lee Probert is down to referee.
On paper it’s straightforward, on grass it’ll no doubt be the familiar angst filled ninety minutes but with hopefully another three points in the bag at the end of it. COYS.
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