Wigan Athletic’s poor form continued with a 2-1 defeat to QPR, but despite the defeat performance levels were much improved from recent weeks. Here are 5 things we learnt from our trip to Loftus Road.
1) A small step in the right direction…
Let’s be honest, it couldn’t really get any worse than the Middlesbrough game could it? But what supporters, players and the manager all called for was a better performance level that would give us a chance of getting something from the game and its fair to say that’s what happened. The second half performance especially was one to take pride from and whilst we couldn’t quite get the goal that would’ve earnt us the points we so desperately need it can still give us confidence going into a tough run of games.
2) Cutting Corners…
If you’d asked me to give you Latics weakness before the game I certainly wouldn’t have said defending corner kicks but it seems we’ve found a new way of shooting ourselves in the foot! Both QPR goals were completely avoidable I think, particularly the first one. Firstly Ben Amos should be holding the shot he tipped behind for a corner, it was a pretty regulation save. Secondly the marking from Cousins is so poor and considering the ball went in the middle of the goal you could argue Amos could’ve done better too. Latics GK then probably should have come and cleared the second one himself, but stayed rooted on his line and was easily beaten by Balogun’s header. We can’t give away goals this cheaply for much longer.
3) Broadhead bags again!
One of the shining lights of this season has been Everton loanee Nathan Broadhead, who grabbed his 3rd goal of the season yesterday. He looked threatening throughout and could’ve had another but for the linesman’s offside flag in the first half. He’s sharp, technically sound and one of the most clinical finishers I’ve seen at the club, and I really think he should be one of the first names on the team sheet. The way he took his goal, a cultured volley from 18 yards, was that of a Premier League scorer and if we can keep him fit he’ll play a huge part for us this season.
4) Our best 11 is becoming clear. Or is it?
It kind of feels like Leam is beginning to understand what his best 11 is but he keeps being hindered by injuries to key players or really bad runs of form for certain players. Jack Whatmough is the latest to suffer from a knock and whilst the severity of it isn’t known yet (and probably never will be known given the MI5 like secrecy our club have when it comes to this kind of thing) you’d imagine he’ll miss next week’s game. Some players have put their name forward as key men, Kerr, Shinnie, Cousins and Broadhead were all fringe players at the beginning of the season but all get into my best XI at the minute. Hopefully they’re all set for a run of games fitness permitting.
5) London’s calling? Decline the call!
Here are a few facts about the last time Latics won a Championship game in the capital. We had a Labour government, Blink-182 were top of the charts, Twitter wasn’t even a concept yet AND Bolton Wanderers were still in the same league as fierce rivals Manchester United! Basically our trips down to London in the second tier have been pretty grim and yesterday extended that record some more. We’ve only got Millwall left this season to break that record so I guess time will tell!