Soapbox: getting it right at Wigan

A point won or two lost? Pete Sixsmith thinks Wigan were there to be beaten, but pleads for patience as the new-look squad beds in. The crowd of fellow Boro fans Lee Cattermole proudly took to watch him play may not wish to read on. But stand by for a Rob Styles World Exclusive…..

The BBC got it right by making it the last game on Match of the Day and only giving it five minutes.

Rob Styles got it right by sending off the idiotic Lee Cattermole and generally having a decent game (never thought I would write those words. Respect to Rob!).Robstyles_2

Chris Kirkland got it right by coming off his line and spreading himself brilliantly to deny Djibril Cissé.

The lady who owns the Balcony Bistro in Lancaster’s Indoor Market got it right by charging a mere £3.75 for a big plate of corned beef hash with red cabbage.

Roy Keane probably got it right by making sure that we came away with a point after losing our last two early season games in Pie Town.

This was an improvement on those performances. Three years ago I had an awful feeling about the rest of the season as Gary Breen and Kelvin Davies conspired to give away a third minute penalty. That feeling was entirely justified.

Last year I sat at Lords watching the Friends Provident Final and receiving text messages charting Wigan’s progress to a comfortable 3-0 victory which acted as a wake up call after the euphoria of the first two games.

On Saturday, we were determined not to lose and sometimes when you adopt that approach, it is difficult to win. I thought that Wigan were there for the taking throughout the game but our mind set was to make sure that we don’t lose and that can stifle creativity..

In the first half we played some crisp one two’s and opened them up on a number of occasions without ever looking clever enough to finish them off. Cissé had a couple of good breaks and flashed one shot across the goal but there was no one there to follow it up.

At the back, we looked well in control and Nyron negated the aerial power of Heskey with a strong and powerful performance while Ferdinand and McCartney settled in well. Ferdinand looks a cool character and should form a good Sarff London partnership with his lifelong mate, Nozza.

Again, the midfield was busy but failed to dominate their Wigan counterparts. Considering that they were a man lighter than us in that area, that is a disappointment and when you consider that one of that four was Cattermole, who is to creative football what Mike Ashley is to sensitive management, it was doubly disappointing.

Up front, Cissé worked hard but a constant second half supply of long, aerial balls does not suit him. He needs it to run onto and if we are considering paying £13m for him, we need to play to his strengths. Maybe he should have scored in the second half, but all credit to the impressive Chris Kirkland, who advanced quickly and spread himself well. With young keepers like him and Joe Hart, Capello should have little difficulty in filling the No 1 spot for the next few years.

So, a point gained or two lost? Let’s be charitable and say that we took a point off a decent Premier League side who look set for a comfortable season. We would have settled for this last year and although expectations are higher, we are still a fair way from having a settled side. Once the new back four is bedded in and we have decided what our best midfield is, we should make steady progress.

Patience is in short supply in football at the moment. The constant need for headlines and “stories” means that success is needed immediately. The Mags have fallen prey to that and if Robinho does not deliver quickly, the press and fans will be grumbling and chuntering by the end of September.

Let’s be constructive in our criticism and not go overboard in our condemnation. Football teams need time to gel. We are good fans who know that our club is not yet in the same league as the top five (whoever they may be) but we can and will compete with Villa, Blackburn etc.

1 thought on “Soapbox: getting it right at Wigan”

  1. As the great Bill Shankly once said ‘never look at a league table before the end of November’, therefore I will kid myself the league is upside down and we have started like a train.
    The reality is slightly different as we have looked anything but convincing or even competant. A good hammering by an ordinary Man City side and stumbling draw against a team that will no doubt feature in their annual fight against relegation has gleaned a grand total of one point.
    The claim that the team will need time to gel may cut the mustard in some quarters but once again Keane has spent big and the natives want serious results sooner rather than later.
    When all is said and done things may not be great but compare us with these comedians up the road.Just when you think it isn’t possible to lurch further into crisis they manage it.When you hear them calling for the return of Freddy Shepherd you just know that they have drank the loopy Juice somewhere.

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