Tics Takeaways – 5 things we learnt from Sunderland (H)

Wigan Athletic closed out 2022 with their second consecutive 4-1 defeat as fellow promoted side Sunderland embarrassed Kolo Touré’s side at the DW Stadium. Here are 5 things we learnt from the game…

1) We’re in deep trouble…

If that sounds like I’m being negative its because I am! Perhaps its because this is the first game I’ve been at the ground for since Kolo took charge or perhaps its just how poor we looked at times, either way I left the ground more worried than I’ve been all season. The tactical style changed 2 or 3 times in the game, the substitutions took us backwards and pretty much everyone in a Latics shirt looked well off the pace, especially when they came up against a good Sunderland squad. With teams around us finding form we’ve slipped to the foot of the table too. Its not looking good.

2) January can’t come soon enough!

This squad needs improvements, and lots of them. I did four sensible transfers articles covering LB, CB, CM and AM but you could probably add another couple of positions to our shortlist now too. The facts are we took a gamble in the summer by retaining the tight knit squad that got us promoted and not investing much into the squad, and its fair to say that has cost us. We didn’t use the loan market well enough at all and had to settle for two players loaned from fellow Championship clubs, both of whom have barely got a game. The only player we paid a fee for has played less than 100 minutes this season and the other permanent signing joined on a 1 year deal… We need this next window to be 100x better.

3) We have a Centre Back crisis

Latics weren’t exactly blessed in the CB department as it was, never mind before 4/5 first team CBs became unavailable. And just our luck, the only CB that remained fit is probably the one least suited to how Kolo wants us to play this season. Whatmough, Kerr, REG and now youngster Charlie Hughes are all out with injuries leaving us just Curtis Tilt fit to play. Its a real shame that Hughes broke down with what looked like a hip injury yesterday. He’s probably been our best player in the 120 or so minutes that he’s played and now he might be missing for some time. When it rains it pours I suppose…

4) A baffling bench…

Anthony Scully was named on the bench alongside Nathan Broadhead which gave Latics a couple of really exciting attacking options to bring on. However, despite needing goals after going 2-1 down we didn’t see either of them get onto the pitch at all. It turns out Scully dropped off the bench pre game and was replaced by Gwion Edwards who did end up getting a run out, albeit to no great impact. Broadhead was a strange one though, left sat on the bench despite us being desperate for some attacking threat and a bit of pace. Rumours suggest he’ll be recalled by Everton and sold in January so perhaps that had something to do with his absence. It looks like we’ve seen the last of him in a Wigan shirt anyway…

5) At least we don’t have to play them again!

Playing Sunderland isn’t very fun. They seem to be the equivalent of what we are to Blackburn, the biggest bogey team about! Ross Stewart continued his 100% goal scoring record against us, Patrick Roberts continued to tear our full backs apart and Bailey Wright, who we previously came close to signing, dominated our forwards completely. At least they’re out of the way, and with some slightly easier few games to come maybe now is the time we go on our run. I bloody hope so anyway!

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