July 16, 2024

Carlo Ancelotti
Carlo Ancelotti: not exactly quaking in his boots

Take one team that’s struggling to find their feet after a demoralising defeat at the hands of a newly-promoted side (who many are tipping to finish rock bottom of the league, no less) and pit them against the champions on the crest of a wave following a six-goal tonking of West Brom.

You would think that’s a recipe for disaster, especially considering the supposed backroom problems simmering at the DW Stadium, and sure enough, everyone’s predicting an absolute hammering for poor old Roberto.

I would say, however, that it’s a bit too dangerous to make such predictions at this stage, no matter how nailed-on they may seem. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully expecting an absolutely rotten afternoon, one of those one-sided encounters that sickens you to the pit of your stomach. But while there’s life, there’s always hope, and by golly that really does seem to be all we have to cling to at the moment.

It may seem the side we are set to field this evening is far worse than the guys that managed to pull one out of the bag in the corresponding fixture last season, and that’s most likely a justified assumption. We can, however, console ourselves in the fact that, after last week, it can only get better… can’t it?

Well, I’d hope Chris Kirkland has exorcised those early-season jitters (no Marlon Harewood to contend with this afternoon, heheh) and Boselli’s got past those first game nerves. A hat-trick against Chelsea could be the making of Mauro and, with a bit of luck, Wigan’s season. Forgive me for living in Dreamland, but there’s always the hope our whole side will lift their game against higher quality opposition.

Chris Kirkland
Chris Kirkland: Bit of a pants game against Blackpool

Once again you can rightly accuse me of clutching at straws, but you have to think of the positives, as the alternative isn’t worth considering. After all, we’re most likely to be subject to that sort of torture as it becomes a reality later today.

In a more realistic world, a good turnout would suffice. With a tough batch of fixtures to come, there’s the possibility things aren’t likely to pick up until October. A series of steadily improving performances, while not exactly picking up so many points, will stand us in good stead for the games we’re more likely to win.

And hey, if we treat these games as possible point-gaining opportunities rather than training exercises, who knows what might happen? Rodallega playing centre forward alongside Boselli, perhaps? Well, now I’m just being silly.

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