You know, I’ve written enough about Manchester United on this website since August. Do I really need another article focusing on how the lower leagues are becoming glorified playgrounds for the Top Four’s ankle-biters? Is it necessary to waste yet more server space on players that aren’t even fully contracted to Wigan or Derby? Yes, yes it is. The Premier League rules the world my son, and don’t you forget it! Now get back to work.
Mmm, what was that? Oh right, you’ve had enough of the cynical guff re-appropriated from old Charlie Brooker articles. Sorry, I’ve been trawling the TV Go Home archives for much-needed fresh jokes – you’re no doubt sick of the Arnold Schwarzenegger and mainstream media references by now. And we’re only four months into the season, oh no!
At 2pm this afternoon, Owen Coyle performed a quick head count to see who survived Thursday. The results weren’t favourable – James McArthur now sported a Rip Van Winkle beard and wizened complexion to rival the wrinkliest of Jim Henson creations. Turns out he was locked in the stadium until Friday morning, forcing him to become the equivalent of a footballing hermit for a brief period. But was this ‘accident’ by design? Yes, yes it was. Maybe.
The Ram vs. The Rams
Perhaps surprisingly, McArthur’s name was scribbled onto the official team sheet — actually, I tell a lie as everything is typed with computerphones these days. C’mon, get with the times, JWAW!
But alongside the Jimmy Macs stood the figure of legend, the man whose return has been more keenly anticipated than his wife’s home cooking. Well, what d’you think he’s been doing these past ten months? Feasting on the supermarket’s finest legs of lamb in front of Delia Through the Decades repeats, that’s what.
The Ram probably wished he’d remained at home savouring the sweet smell of onion gravy, because he couldn’t have endured a worse return to action. In a display of extreme first-half efficiency, Derby ‘Sureshot’ County fashioned three shots on target and scored from them all.
In fact, BBC Sport tells me this remained the case for the duration of this simultaneously painful and delightful contest. The pain was much worse than the brief moments of pleasure, which only materialised from Ramis’ heavy woollen coat once the visitors had successfully raided the DW’s well-stocked pantry. Mmmn, I think I need to go for something to eat before the rest of this article becomes a review of my Sunday lunch.
One sandwich later…
That’s better! Now, I could complain about how Wigan’s clumsy challenging led to a thoroughly deserved first half thrashing, as this much is true. Nick Powell, Ivan Ramis and James McClean must all shoulder varying degrees of blame for their panic-induced tackles that granted Craig Bryson, Simon Dawkins and Chris Martin (yes, he of that band everyone/no-one likes) near-unmissable chances.
However, Derby’s finishing far outshone that of the hosts, who admittedly proved a greater threat in the second half. It was encouraging to witness the newly-adopted Zulte chant bearing fruit – Nick Powell smartly converted Boyce’s superb cross upon the final ‘ahhh’. A creamy centre of fun in an otherwise bland 10p chicken Kiev. Oh, blast it – another food reference!
Before the fans had even finished their extended rendition, James McArthur headed narrowly wide at Lee Grant’s right hand post. Further Powell opportunities were to follow, and Holt’s cross almost wormed its way home via the lap of a very fortunate man in red. Said defender and ‘keeper Grant shared a hearty laugh and slapped hands in celebration of an almost perfect afternoon. A highly frustrated Powell looked on, formulating his next verbal assault on ref David Coote.
And now, a guest appearance from StatMan! A scoob-a ba-badabah etc.
The stats show Wigan finished the game with over twice as many shots on target and a greater chunk of the possession. Bearing in mind the final scoreline, I will leave it up to you to decide where the problems lie… because I have to go and make another turkey sandwich. It’s probably the best thing to do right now because I lost my sense of humour somewhere round the back of Bryson’s high quality right foot curler. And before you get the wrong idea, I’m referring to his free kick, not Quavers.
Revelation of the game: Stephen Crainey is actually really quite good. Ish.
Messiah of the Moment: Rogergrant Espinozaholt. *Choral chimes*
What, don’t stay here and watch me eat! It makes me uncomfortable. *Chomps hungrily*