This Game Is Our Season
This Monday we welcome Wigan Athletic to SJP for the most important game of the season so far. Who would have thought that when the fixture list came out in June we’d look at the first weekend of December and think ‘Wigan at home, that’ll be where our season is decided’. Well unfortunately for us, this is what has happened.
Who Manages them?
Roberto Martinez is a manger who likes to get his team to play football the proper way. Unfortunately, that team is Wigan. He’s not exactly a poor man’s Pep Guardiola, but more of a poor man’s Brendan Rodgers and it is no surprise that Liverpool chose between the two of them to fill their vacant managerial position in the summer if they wanted a team that would play good football but get nowhere doing it.
Martinez’s playing career was only significant to Walsall fans, where he managed to get sent off twice despite only starting one game and he made over 400 appearances, mostly for lower division British sides including Wigan and Swansea, who he has since gone on to manage. He’s done a decent job of management too, getting Swansea promoted to the Championship and keeping Wigan in the Premier League, in spite of the obvious fact that they are crap. He’s turned down at least two more high profile jobs in the last two years, at Villa and Liverpool, and it is hard to see why. Martinez would have known that both teams had a decent chance of finishing in the top half of an increasingly shoddy Premier League whereas Wigan, who seem to only escape relegation in the same way that Scooby Doo escapes from ghosts, may just about stay in the Premier League again. Still, as he only manages clubs he played for, perhaps he’s waiting for that Walsall job to become available.
Who Have We Seen Before?
Gary Caldwell, another example of a player deemed not good enough for the TOON who has gone on and had a quietly successful career in another Premier League. Gary never played for the TOON’s first team competitively but prospered with Hibs and Celtic before moving to Wigan in 2010. Like Aaron Hughes before him, and possibly Danny Simpson in the future, Caldwell may not be the greatest defender in the world but he is no worse than Mike Williamson, our fourth choice centre half. And he’s certainly no worse than our third choice centre half, because we haven’t got one.
A Special Mention for:
Striker Jordi Gomez. Top scorer Gomez isn’t a real Jordi though. He’s more of a Manuel, he’s from Barcelona.
How will they do this season?
Wigan might survive again, probably only because they’ll manage to find three worse teams than them and it is not so much how well they do, but how hopeless everyone else is that defines their season year in year out. The Latics started this season pretty poorly with only a win at Southampton (and anyone can do that, doh!) and a couple of draws to show until late October. Since then they have alternated winning and losing but come mid-May, any team who finishes below them will be relegated.
Are We Going To Win?
Wigan have won twice away from home this season, at Spurs and Southampton, and that is only one less win than we have had all season at home in the Premier League. This is a crossroads for our season.
Win and we are 9 points behind 5th placed West Brom and we can definitely make that up between now and May.
Draw and we are looking at mid-table mediocrity with added pressure on a cup run to keep the discontent from the door, and history has told us that when NUFC put all of our eggs in one basket, they smash to pieces at our feet.
Lose and we are clearly in the deepest of water. Sing the lads to victory on Monday, this game is our season.
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