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COLUMNIST KEN BUCKLEY

From My Seat: Wigan (A)

By Ken Buckley :  25/11/2008 :  Comments (0) :

On a freezing cold night in Wigan our team did little to warm us to anything. In what was our worst display so far in this campaign our lack of depth of squad and failure to address the mid-field shortcomings in the summer window is coming home to roost.

For the first quarter of an hour we were bright with Saha looking fresh fit and lively. In that period we should have opened our account as the chances were there,a flurry of corners,a Cahill header just over and from a good Cahill cross the Yak was inches away from connecting.

On the quarter hour mark a good forward header from Fellaini put the Yak on a gallop down the left and for once he got his head up and picked out Saha one on one but his shot lacked the conviction of his West Ham effort and Kirkland parried away.

At this point we were very much on top and you wondered how many we might get as Wigan were awful. Well wigan didn't get any better all night we just got worse and the game descended into quite a shambles with both teams looking less than composed and mistake after mistake was made and the number of times both gave the ball back to the opposition brought into question 'proffessional footballers'?

As the game wearily meandered toward the break Wigan had the chances gifted to them to be three up. First Kapo set up a sitter that was headed over when it was easier to score,Cattermole cut through our midfield and back four with embarrassing ease and produced a curling effort that was brilliantly turned for a corner by the diving Howard.

The keeper still wasn't finished as from the resultant corner he somehow kept out a certain goal bound point blank header with what could be truly called a world class save. The half time whistle was a relief as our only effort of note since the 15min mark was a looping Cahill header that found the top of the net.

No changes at half time teamwise or performance-wise as tentiveness,uncertainty and the inability to see a luminous yellow shirt did for us as early as the fifth minute of the second half when mistakes in mid-field presented the ball to Brown who swept it out to the right and found Valencia marked by Lescott,he turned Lescott inside out and put a flat pass across goal that saw only Camara react quickly which left him with the simple tap in job.

The goal didn't change much though as the half continued down the weary road of mistakes,hoofball and cohesion was a foreign word. Wigan had a breakaway and Howard made another flying save from Valencia.

We saw Saha limp off injured and big Vic go wide right but such was our ineptitude all night it was difficult to see who was playing where.
Bramble gave us our usual chance by clearing wildly straight to Cahill but his effort was blocked and then in the last minute of injury time saw the episode of play that summed up the whole night for me.

From a punt both Yak and Cahill went for it,bumped into each other which confused all arround them but the ball bounced kindly to Cahill a few yards out and he somehow contrived to drive it over the bar and with that the ref broght the curtain down on what had been an horrendous night for premiership football let alone us.
Man-of-the-match? Only one contender — Tim Howard.

Overall this should be one to forget but it will live with me for a long time as it exposed bare our threadbare unbalanced squad that in no way can cope with the injuries and loss of form of so many players at this time and given the managers remarks this week we go with what we have got till season end and that doesn't fill me with confidence for a high finish.

It seems to me that the manager's inability to adequately replace Graveson and Carsley in the engine room is having knock on effects throughout the whole team.
Still football is an indeterminate game and we might yet come good but I have to say looking at the team that started and the bench I won't hold my breath as the manager has nowhere to go to freshen up and give the out of form and walking wounded a breather.

Spurs away next and another performance like tonight and it could be painful but here's hoping.

See you there. UP THE BLUES

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