December 11, 2021: Wigan Athletic 1 Ipswich Town 1
It was a frustrating afternoon with another woeful refereeing performance in a game largely devoid of good football. With Latics a goal up Will Keane was adjudged offside when he put the ball in the back of the net. It was the tightest of decisions signalled by the linesman. If the goal had been allowed Wigan would surely have gathered the three points. As Paul Cook would say: it is a game of fine margins.
Leam Richardson continued to play Callum Lang at centre forward, leaving specialist central striker Stephen Humphrys on the bench. He brought in Tom Pearce for Joe Bennett, Gwion Edwards for Gavin Massey, Max Power for Jordan Cousins. There was no place for Thelo Aasgaard, arguably the MOM in midweek.
We had seen the “playing it long” (aka hoofball in this case) tactic in midweek and Latics got away with it against Shrewsbury through a spectacular late goal from Thelo Aasgaard. It reared its ugly head throughout this game.
After a mediocre first half Ipswich used their bench in the second period to provide more options. Latics continued to play the same long ball game and Ipswich got their reward in the 78th minute when substitute Norwood picked up a loose ball following a well flighted free kick from Lee Evans. Many of us were hoping that Richardson would utilise the flair of Thelo Aasgaard and maybe even change the shape, but his riposte was to make a like-for-like change, bringing on Gavin Massey for Gwion Edwards after 80 minutes. The out of favour Humphrys was brought on after 90 minutes for Tom Pearce.
Let’s take a look at how fans reacted to the match through the message boards and social media. Our thanks go to the Vital Wigan – Latics Speyk Forum and Twitter for providing the media for the posts below to happen. Thanks go to all whose contributions are identified below:
Jeff’s right commented:
An additional stat. 3 shots on target in 90 minutes.
We have the players so why not go with three at the back and the two strikers at least for home games. Edwards ahead of Humphys. Just can not weigh this up when it’s glaringly obvious that this formation/style of football besides being awful on the eye is just not working at home. Is Cook still pulling some strings as we play the stuff he played.
Victor Moses stated:
With the game waiting for some luck/mistake or a piece of quality to win the game. Really not performing anywhere near their peak. Its so rigid slow and lacking in ambition, it’s what you’d expect from a team low on confidence.
Our players can’t play 4 at the back at home. Too rigid and we create nothing and it’s been like that all season. We have scraped a lot of 1 goal wins through individual play.
Away from home when teams attack it works as you have more space to exploit.
At home, teams just sit in and we do little aside from set pieces. We are set up to try and draw at home and may as well start every game with 10 men. Away from home we are the tank out team in the division.
Change to 3 at the back at home and the fortunes will change straight away.
I agree but sadly it does not change the needless hoofball that is so ineffective, we rely a lot on individuals brilliance like you said and let’s be honest, we have played poorly home and away for a few weeks now, late goals have papered over the cracks of late.
Bodies are really needed in January, need some creative central players, Keane is absolutely anonymous most of times, and I think he would help stop the hoofball if he played right up too with Thelo behind. But Leam is choosing hoofball, hopefully until he identifies players we need to be more dominant in games.