Not at the races: Ronnie Stam, just like his side, struggled off the mark
In the interests of keeping you awake long enough to even make it as far as the second paragraph, I’m going to start off by ‘doing a Bob’ and attempting to stick to the positives that came out of today’s game.
Nnnngh… well, I think that would actually be nigh on impossible, because this really was a totally forgettable game from Wigan’s point of view. In fact, many of those that made the arduous trip to London would struggle to remember if there even was a Latics match this afternoon, we were so ineffective. I suppose things have picked up a bit from our drubbing at the hands of Portsmouth this time last year, and on the whole I’d say we’re performing a bit better than we were at that point, but it isn’t much consolation.
Maybe the midweek cup tie against Swansea took its toll on Latics’ squad, whereas Fulham had a nice week of rest and relaxation, but that doesn’t account for our non-appearance at Craven Cottage. Yes, there was the odd sniff of an opportunity, but the long-distance shooting we favoured in the first 45 minutes was never really going to challenge Mark Schwarzer.
If Wigan struggled in the first half, they simply weren’t even present for the second. I suppose the majority of our troubles stemmed from lack of possession, which limited the potency of our attackers and put Alcaraz and Caldwell under too much pressure. In this sense, Fulham must be credited for their tight, man-to-man football (doing their homework well, then) which Wigan never adapted to at any stage, really. Roberto actually made a change or two to try and combat this, but it wasn’t much use when the midfield couldn’t string more than a couple of passes together, relegating Rodallega to a mere spectator in the second stanza.
It’s been a bad day in more ways than one, as just a few hours before kicking off at Fulham, Latics were drawn away to Arsenal in the Carling Cup. It was a toss-up as to whether the Gunners or Man United would be the more difficult, but we’ll have to see how that goes. I can tell you right now, though, we’ll have to be infinitely better than we were today if anyone at the club harbours ambitions of making it to the semis. Either that or Arsenal agree to play the game with ten men, and even then we would struggle.
Forgive me if I’m totally unenthusiastic today, but I’ll bet you can guess why. I also note that Tomasz Cywka, who left on a free during the summer, continued his fine scoring spree by grabbing two for Derby County this afternoon. I can’t help but think he’s the kind of player we might miss this season, and it’s a bit of a shame we had to let the two Polish lads leave.
Still, I guess today’s scoreline could have been a lot more damaging had Fulham not effectively settled on their lead. Doesn’t change the fact we now have the worst goal difference in the league, though, and let’s not hope it doesn’t come back to haunt us to that in May 2011. Haunt, get it? Cos it’s Halloween? Hmm, I guess that ‘joke’ fell as flat on its face as Latics did today.