Uncertainty creeps up on us. Only a couple of weeks ago there was a mood of buoyant optimism about the season ahead. Uwe Rosler was seen as Latics’ saviour. Trust in Uwe said so many people. But now after a draw and a defeat in the first two games and rumours of the departure of James McArthur, fans are getting edgy.
Following his achievements last season Rosler has deserved the level of support he has received from fans. A home draw against decent opposition followed by an exit from the League Cup is not a huge deal. But what has been disconcerting has been the lack of fitness shown by the players and disjointed play that has not approached the high pressing, high tempo style that the manager espouses.
When Latics played at the Valley last October they had lost their previous three away matches, so the dull 0-0 draw that followed was an improvement. Charlton were struggling on a low budget and Latics’ form had been indifferent. Since then Charlton have had changes at board and football management levels and their outlook is looking brighter.
Rosler’s honeymoon period at Wigan is closing in on him and he will be keen to get a good result at Charlton. Critics are already starting to say that the manager’s vision of the football he seeks is not being realized on the field of play. Rather being super-fit and playing at a high tempo, Latics have looked sluggish compared with their opponents. Moreover the lack of creativity in midfield stands out like a sore thumb. If Oriel Riera is to become the successful striker that Latics so desperately need he is going to need decent service from midfield.
However, only two games have gone. Latics are out of the League Cup, but their clear priority this year is the league. It takes time to impose a style of play upon a squad of players, as Roberto Martinez found in his time at the club. Martinez arrived in the summer of 2009 and it took until the second half of the 2011-12 season before the players were able to realize his vision. The eventual realization was stunning, with Latics beating the elite clubs in the country on merit.
Possibly the most worrying thing for supporters at this stage is the possible exit of more quality players. The exits of the skilful Latins, Jordi Gomez and Jean Beausejour, are already being felt. However, with time it is to be hoped that the new players will adapt to fill the void.
James McArthur is probably the club’s most important player. He typifies total commitment and brings genuine quality to the midfield. To allow him to leave would be a body blow to Latics’ promotion possibilities. However, Dave Whelan has so often stated that any player wanting to move on can do so if the price is right.
One would have to be a mind reader to predict the lineup that Rosler will send out there tomorrow, let alone the team shape. However, both the manager and the players will be keen to show their commitment and their quality at The Valley.
A good result for Latics is a distinct possibility.