Wigan Athletic fell to a 3-2 defeat on the South Coast to take their promotion fight to the final day
- Stumbling Over The Line!
Last nights defeat to Portsmouth makes it 5 games without a win for Leam Richardson’s side as they continue to crawl towards promotion. Despite picking up 3 points from a possible 15 we somehow still sit at the top of the table thanks to fellow promotion chasers Rotherham and MK Dons’ struggles in the latter part of the season. Performances, the first half against Plymouth aside, haven’t been those of a promotion winning side but there has still been enough character shown within these games to keep people confident that we’ll wrap the league up in Shropshire on Saturday afternoon.
2. Creativity Conundrum.
Latics stayed with the 3 man midfield of Jordan Cousins, Tom Naylor and Max Power that played together as a trio for the first time on Saturday. Power seemed to be given a free role in front of the others but struggled to provide a quality link between the front 2 and the midfield. A pass completion of 62% highlighted Power’s inability to retain possession and create chances, and whilst he made 3 key passes they only came from set piece situations. With Thelo Aasgaard on the bench and Jamie McGrath sat in the stands it’s not like Latics don’t have alternative creative midfield options and it’s about time one of them got a chance. Speaking of which…
3. There’s a bench for a reason!
Leam Richardson is still very much in the infancy of his managerial career but he’s made it very clear already that he has complete faith in the starting 11 he puts out from the off. Latics have made all 3 subs in 27/45 games this season, but in a whopping 21 of those 2/3 have been AFTER 75 minutes and therefore have very little time to impact the game. Yesterday’s game looked to be crying out for an out and out striker but it took 90 minutes and 3 Portsmouth goals for Stephen Humphrys to be introduced to the game. He touched the ball twice and the game ended 124 seconds after he made his way onto the pitch. Not even the most super of supersubs can make an impact in such little time!
4. Tired Legs?
Not only do the subs have little time to impact the game themselves but the physical relief it gives the players being subbed off isn’t as great as it could be. I’m no sports scientist of course but there have been games where key men could’ve been rested and weren’t, and these are the same key men that looked shattered 60 minutes last night. Naylor and Power particularly didn’t look their usual selves and who can blame them, they’ve played a hell of a lot of football. Thankfully for them there’s 1 more big push to get us over the line and if we know 1 thing about this group it’s that they’ll push hard to get it done.
5. Final Day Drama. It’s in our DNA!
Not many Latics fans would’ve thought it would still be all to play for come the final day of the season at Shrewsbury, and even fewer would’ve wanted it to! When the mad rush for tickets happened most people were expecting it to be a stress free party atmosphere but with the title and even promotion yet to be confirmed there’s a hell of a lot to play for when Latics arrive in Shropshire on Saturday afternoon. We’ve had some brilliant final day moments and this could be another if we wrap it all up. Then again given the past few weeks that’s a BIG if!