Martin’s Musings on SAFC Wigan:

'About time too!' screams Jake

It could all have been so much different. After three minutes and then again after fifteen, Simon Mignolet won this game for Sunderland. He did what he is paid to do but these early, crucial saves meant that Stephen Fletcher’s fifth goal in four games got the Lads their first league win of the season. Whether McClean’s cross was intentional or whether it was meant as an attempt on goal only he knows for sure, but there was no doubt about the clinical way the chance was put away.

Martin O’Neill delivers his post-match e-mail after today’s first League victory of the season.

Dear Colin,

I’m delighted with that win.

After [Steven] Fletcher scored I thought we might have been able to press on and get another goal but as time was getting on, it started getting a bit more edgy and the crowd were worrying about holding onto the win.

We hung on and got the win and that was so important for us today.

The first half was end-to-end stuff, but in the second, after we got the goal, I think it became a little bit more unsettled.

We remain unbeaten but we had to fight for it and I think we can now improve on that and we’ll get confidence from that win.

Winning is so important and getting those three points on the board means a lot, especially after the disappointment of conceding a goal so late last week.

Fletcher did brilliantly today.

His all-round play was magnificent and the way he brought people into the game.

At the other end [Simon] Mignolet made two unbelievable saves at a really important point in the match.

All the best,

Beware of forgeries

1 thought on “Martin’s Musings on SAFC Wigan:”

  1. Yes, it was a relief to win, but should it have been that difficult I wonder?

    I would venture an early observation on the tactics and team make-up that I believe is making it hard for us to win games convincingly.

    Tactically, we are not operating as a single unit. We defend well, but when we break in our counter-attacking style, the central midfield moves up to support the forwards, but the back four lag behind, thus creating an open space between them and the midfield. I lost count of the number of times Wigan cleared the ball beyond our advancing central midfield into this open area where it was picked up by one of their players who then had a direct run on the back four.

    Under these circumstances we will never be able to sustain an attack, and will always look vulnerable. The back four may feel they do not have the pace to be able to cover a high line. If this is the case, then the make-up of the team needs to provide for a deep playing midfielder who does not have to fully drive forward with the counter-attack. This player must be a strong ball winner, good in the air, and able to pass. We do not possess the ideal player for that role, but the nearest I can see is Meyler.

    He would have Johnson, Colback and McClean ahead of him, with Sess still playing behind Fletcher. In this formation, the three midfielders would be expected to fully support the counter-attacks and score goals.

    What of Cattermole? Well, he would be my second choice for the deep midfield role because of his lack of inches in winning headers, and his current unreliability in expansive distribution. Meyler may also suffer from the latter deficiency, but I would give him a try, especially in Cattermole’s absence.

    Apart from Fletcher, we do not currently present much of a goal threat, therefore something must change.

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