Swansea City 2 Wigan Athletic 1
Nathan Byrne’s well taken first half goal gave Latics a lift, but Swansea were to score three minutes later. Swans’ manager Steve Cooper had clearly done his homework and employed a high press to stop Latics building up moves from the back. The under-pressure defenders resisted the easy-hoof way out, but most of the time the ball came back to keeper David Marshall who would look for a defender willing to receive, but often had to play it long.
Paul Cook had brought Joe Garner into the starting line-up for Josh Windass, who did not even appear on the bench. He persisted with the out of form Jamal Lowe, keeping Kieran Dowell on the left with Joe Williams continuing in the number 10 position.
Going in 1-1 at half time, given previous performances, it was hard to see Wigan coming away with even a point. In the event Swansea laid siege on Latics who held out until Paul Cook made two substitutions after 64 minutes. Gavin Massey came on for the hapless Lowe, but sadly Cook sent Massey to the left wing, which is a position where he has so often looked like a duck out of water. Playing a number 10 on the left wing was hard enough to understand, although Dowell had linked up well with Antonee Robinson, but when Massey came on he was switched to the right flank. Square pegs in round holes yet again.
It was no surprise when Swansea scored what proved to be the winning goal just three minutes after the substitutions.
Despite the result Latics played with lots of enthusiasm and tried hard to get back into the game in the closing minutes.
But spirit is not enough: Swansea clearly had a game-plan and their players knew their roles. If Latics did have a plan it dissolved following Cook’s substitutions.
Unless Cook’s team selections and substitutions show a radical change, Latics are heading for the abyss. How many more square pegs in round holes will we see? The depressing scene of Cook berating the fourth official, rather than focus on the pattern of play on the pitch, is getting tired.
Let’s take a look at how fans reacted to the match through the message boards and social media.
Our thanks go to the Cockney Latic Forum, 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.
Jeffs right on the Latics Speyk Forum referred to Kieran Dowell’s position:
Signed as a number 10 as he plays behind the striker. So Cook plays him as one of the so called wide players with the inept Lowe on the other side and a defensive midfielder behind the striker. He really does want this pay off badly.
JRTfatfan on the Cockney Latic Forum said:
The point is we lose a goal EVERY time he makes changes. Was neither attacking or playing for point change, like for like both players. Garner was doing Ok, Lowe was pants. This is just about the worst performance of the season.
Garswood Latic on the Cockney Latic Forum responded:
The point that John makes is spot on, as I have mentioned elsewhere. This isn’t just bad luck. The only way I can rationalise it is that the team aren’t really understanding the changes and what that means for them individually. There is obviously confusion, and until they understand what is required we remain vulnerable. Why?
1. These things and possibilities aren’t being discussed and planned and plotted during the week (“if we are down we will have an attacking formation and X and Y will do this etc”)
2. If a change is made that falls outside these pre-planned changes (and there will be many times that happens) then no-one on the pitch is being informed what it means (when we’re making changes is Morsy there finding out what the thinking is particularly if we’re changing formation other than like-for-like changes? Does anyone ever see players being given instructions?
3. A possibility that can also be alongside 1 and 2 – the players are too thick to understand what is required.
A fascinating post from King_dezeuww06 prior to the game on the Latics Speyk Forum:
For anyone interested here are the stats for the the Championship teams since they changed their managers this season (mostly in relegation fight) league games only:
Cardiff – Harris
Win ratio 37%
Points 17 out of 33
Barnsley – Struber
Win ratio 33%
Points 16 out of 36
Millwall – Rowett
Win ratio 50%
Points 26 out of 42
Stoke – O’Neill
Win ratio 33%
Points 17 out of 45
Reading – Bowen
Win ratio 47%
Points 28 out of 51
Huddersfield – Crowley
Win ratio 33%
Points 27 out of 63
Results of teams who kept manager in relegation fight
Boro – Woodgate
Win ratio 30%
Points 34 out of 81
Luton – Jones
Win ratio 22%
Points 21 out of 81
Wigan – Cook
Win ratio 19%
Points 23 out of 81
I knew Rowett was going to work wonders at Millwall but really impressive with how well Bowen has done at Reading they have a good team with a goals in them but you never know how a number 2 will step up in his first job. Other changes all yielded that 1 in 3 win ratio which is what most teams are looking for without being spectacular, unforunately no one seems to have got in a Joyce unfortunately that had zero impact.
Boro were doing terrible until they suddenly went on a run of 5 wins and 2 draws in their last 8 games pulled them clear.