Beam us back to mid August – the opening match of the season and the visit of newly promoted Norwich City. We finished the last season well, we have what looks like our best ever squad in the Premier League and we are quietly optimistic about having a good season. Norwich are going to be bristling with that energy and belief that comes from winning promotion, but look to be short on quality. Surely we can beat them.
The end result was to be a precursor for what has followed during the rest of the season. We gave Norwich a goal through an individual’s defensive error and missed various chances, the match ending in a 1-1 draw. Ned’s match report on this site quoted that “Though at times sloppy and indecisive, Latics were a league above Norwich in terms of quality and pace, but the newly promoted side gave it all and got their reward.”
This has been our most frustrating season in the Premier League. Right now Norwich sit in 13th place on 35 points, while Wigan Athletic are bottom with only 20. Do Norwich have better players than Wigan? I doubt it. But they certainly play with more spirit. The home defeat to Swansea last weekend was the final straw for many Wigan Athletic followers. Their mood has changed from frustration into anger and the majority call for the manager’s head. There are renewed complaints that we have too many overpaid prima donna players who do not represent the club with pride. Many call for a clear out at the end of the season and given that so many players are due to be out of contract this is likely to happen.
Yesterday Bolton once more rode their luck and got three points at the expense of QPR. Blackburn won at Wolves, who are sinking into the same kind of mire as Wigan. To get out of the mire we need to win some matches. What chance of Wigan Athletic gaining a desperately needed victory this afternoon in East Anglia? Norwich City have a league home record of W5 D4 L4. Their home defeats were against Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham and West Bromwich. Wigan Athletic’s away record is W3 D2 L8. The odds clearly favour a victory for Norwich.
Can you get any lower than rock bottom? Given the prevailing mood among supporters it seems that we at that point. If we are going to go down then let’s go down with a fight. We want to see players playing with a passion, taking a pride in their club. A draw at Norwich is achievable, but let’s not settle for that because it is not enough at this stage. We afforded Norwich too much respect at the DW Stadium. Let’s get at them from the start and try to win it.