Amigo and Social Media reaction to an entertaining draw against Wycombe

August 17, 2021: Wigan Athletic 1 Wycombe Wanderers 1

“Results don’t always match performances” is an old adage in football, but it could certainly be used in the context of this match. Wigan Athletic played some scintillating football and would have won the game with a canter had they put their chances away. But they did not and tired legs in the last quarter invited Wycombe pressure, resulting in a 91st minute equaliser as Kell Watts was outjumped at the far post from a corner kick.

The game was so different to that we saw on Saturday against Rotherham. That dour encounter was won by a late, late header from Will Keane. This was an entertaining affair.

Leam Richardson had retained the back four that completed the previous game, with Tendayi Darikwa  at left back and two specialists for that position on the bench. It proved to be a successful move as Darikwa had one of his better games. Jordan Jones was brought in on the left wing and his running and accurate crossing promised much for the future. Latics had gone ahead after 47 minutes from a thunderbolt finish from Callum Lang. The goal rattled the visitors and Latics were looking dangerous but were unable to add to their lead.

Keane’s header had hit the crossbar in the 69th minute with Jones taken off soon after, being replaced by Gavin Massey. Massey had looked more like his old self coming off the bench against Rotherham, playing on the right. However, this time he was placed on the left where, time after time, he has failed to deliver. Richardson is a wonderful motivator of his players, but his substitutions can be unimaginative and ill-timed. Gareth Ainsworth had made two substitutions for Wycombe in the 59th minute, the third being the huge Akinfenwa after 73 minutes. It signalled an aerial bombardment from the visitors who looked full of running at that stage compared with Latics.

After the game Richardson commented:

“I thought in the first-half we were excellent, and we were worthy of going in at half-time in-front. With the quality and the energy levels that we show, and the entries into their final third, we’ve got to be pleased.

Wycombe are a fantastic, well-drilled football team, and they are a threat from any dead-ball and set-piece, as well as from open play. If you do not put the game to bed, you obviously succumb to what we did.

I thought we were worthy to go in front and we started the second half where we left off. If we were going to be disappointed, it would be for the result, and possibly the last 15-20 minutes where we came off the page a little bit and started trading blows with Wycombe which is what they want.”

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:

Zeb2 commented:

Football eh ?…..probably got two more points than we deserved on Saturday ….and got two less than we deserved tonight.
not conceded from open play in 3 matches but two direct from corners.

Went way too deep last few minutes (a long standing trait with us) and invited waves of attack which caused us to crack in the end, but we should have been out of sight by HT….maybe we ran out of gas in that last ten/fifteen minutes ….unfortunately they didn’t.

C_Latic stated:

The positive is that we’ll play a hell of a lot worse than that this season and win. That Wycombe side are a very good team who like Rotherham will be right in the top six equation and we’ve absolutely pummelled them.

I’d say if we can get one more win from our next two, we’ll be a good spot heading into the international break. Then the fixtures will ease up and we can look at putting together a run.

JockLatic added:

Best I’ve seen us play in some time….shuda been 2/3 nil up at half time & thoroughly deserved our goal, such a shame we couldn’t have got a second as that would have seen out the game. Unfortunately we sat back & had little possession the last 10 mins or so n it just seemed like they were gonna equalise….didn’t think it was a corner n possibly a free kick to us beforehand. If we play like that for a good chunk of the season we won’t be far off so long as we convert the chances. Disappointed coming away from the ground tonight but only because we should have been out of sight in 1st half…..

Made in Wigan opined:

Disappointing ending but will look at the bigger picture. It’s a brand new team and we have some decent players. We can only improve as the season progresses if McLean doesn’t upset the apple cart.

We really do need to start taking our chances. Miss of the season contenders in consecutive games and today its cost us two points. Whilst Wycombe were okay I thought Rotherham looked a tougher opponent. That said I don’t think we’ve much to fear in this league though the time it will take the team to gel and for LR to find his best team and tactics means we’ll have to come from behind to make any impact of the league table.

Stats courtesy of Whoscored.com

Amigo and Social Media reaction to an important win at Plymouth for Wigan Athletic

Plymouth Argyle 0 Wigan Athletic 2

After a depressing February with the relegation fight an uphill struggle the month of March brings so much promise. With back-to-back wins and ownership issues nearing resolution there has been an uplift for both players and fans at Wigan Athletic.

This was a fine performance by a Latics side that was as well-balanced and cohesive as any seen this season. Wigan looked dangerous throughout the first half with their pace and willingness to run at the home side’s defence. They scored two fine goals and came close to adding more. Despite Plymouth coming close on several occasions Latics went into the interval with a two goal lead.

But Latics have had first half leads in the past and have blown them. When the second half began one wondered if the defence could stand firm and avoid making errors that could let the Pilgrims back into the game. In the end it was a resolute defensive performance, together with a touch of good fortune, that kept Plymouth out.

Players from last season’s squad made a significant impact. Lee Evans was excellent in midfield despite not having played for months. Gavin Massey looked like his old self on the right wing, after the struggles he has suffered this season. His link-up play with Tendayi Darikwa was reminiscent of that he would have with Nathan Byrne in earlier times. Jamie Jones has had a topsy- turvy season and has been fortunate to keep his place in recent weeks. But he has started to repay Leam Richardson’s faith in him and had a good game last night.

It was the most experienced line-up Richardson had chosen this season, with the exception of a 19-year-old left back. Luke Robinson was drafted in because of a long-term injury to Tom Pearce. The latter had been one of Wigan’s better performers, his bold attacking runs, and dangerous crosses having become a major attacking arm for the team.  Robinson is a solid and tenacious defender who looks comfortable at this level despite his lack of experience. Although he is being employed in a more defensive role than his predecessor, he has shown his abilities in attack.

After the game Richardson commented:

“We know how much change there has been over the last few months since February and then passing the responsibility to – and challenging – this new group. It’s not an easy task but the performances and relationships have grown over the last few weeks.

It’s all about the new group coming together, individually as units and then into the team and being able to see through games when you’re ahead. The game management was fantastic.”

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:

FrancosLoveChild stated:

Mental how much difference off the field matters affect on the pitch, the whole atmosphere has gone right back up to the time last of season before July. Very refreshing!

You are my sunshine concluded:

Another brilliant win to move us out of the bottom 4! Really enjoyable 1st half! We could’ve scored 5 and looked a real threat, but on the other hand could’ve conceded a couple in that 10 minute spell that we were under severe pressure.

2nd 45 we were much less of an attacking threat, but took the sting out of the game well and managed the game successfully. We defended well for the most part and when it was breached Jones made some solid saves and didn’t put a foot wrong all night. I thought he could’ve been replaced after the Wimbledon and Hull defeats, but since he has been solid, so fair play to him.

Impossible to pick a mom as everyone was excellent again in another superb team performance and big 3 points! Good to see Evans back out there and Massey getting stronger.

Hopefully by the end of the week we get further positive news on the takeover front!
What a difference a week makes, UTFT!

Moonay wrote:

Took chances, missed chances, and rode our luck, but overall, definitely deserved to win.

Superb. Now for the play-offs!

Ooohaaahdonniespage added:

Evans class first game in ages. Massey best player on pitch for me. If he can keep on the up like he is we have a real chance. And LMB wouldn’t you agree that Jones is much improved?

Victor Moses summarised:

Did well to see the game out, ball hit the woodwork 6 times over the past two games with them all deflecting away from goal. Not had that luck all season, been punished for everything but when we needed it the most it came on the back of two good performances.

Jones did well in goal tonight, a lot of their shots were at him but he was solid and dealt with everything required of him.

Johnston must of made 15 tackles, being first to the ball ahead of their attacker almost every time.

Tilt made some good blocks and scored an important goal.

Ojo has played well recently.

Lang’s ability to run the channels and give us control in their half cannot be underestimated he’s brilliant at it.

Massey and Otabor excellent 1st half, both tired in the 2nd but put shifts in.

Well done to all the staff and Leam over the past 2 games to turn it around, still a long way to go but back in the pack with a shot at staying in L1.

Evans class first game in ages. Massey best player on pitch for me. If he can keep on the up like he is we have a real chance. And LMB wouldn’t you agree that Jones is much improved?

Degsy1 added:

We played well but Lady Luck was on our side tonight as Plymouth hit the woodwork 3 times but it’s about time we got the roll of the dice !

Well done you tics !

Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com

Amigo and social media reaction to a rough night at Milton Keynes

We shuffled the team around to match them up and we did that until half time, but it was a massive downer how the penalty came about to give them their first goal. The injuries aren’t something we need at this moment in time when we’re after results and trying to win games, especially when most of our injuries are to experienced players.

“It’s given other players opportunities and I’ve put a team out that I thought could get something from the game. We’ve had another couple of injuries again tonight, so it’s difficult for us. Viv’s injury is quite a serious one. With one or two of the others they’re being monitored so we’ll just have to see how they are. We’re short on bodies, but I can’t sit here crying, we’ve got to get back to performing and winning football matches.”

John Sheridan’s thoughts after his shuffled-around team struggled at the MK Dons Arena.

Already without Darnell Johnson and Viv Solomon Otabor who left the field early against Plymouth it was a shock to learn that Lee Evans and Kal Naismith were also unavailable due to injury. Sheridan reacted by changing to a 3-5-2 formation, with full back Tom James at the centre of a back three.

Latics looked uncomfortable from the start and Will Keane’s injury forcing him to leave the field of play after 9 minutes complicated things even further. Although he had two central strikers and a natural number 10 on the bench Sheridan elected to bring on winger Ollie Crankshaw is the second striker role.

The Dons were much the better team in the first half and Latics were fortunate to go into the interval with a 0-0 scoreline. But the seemingly inevitable happened in the first ten minutes of the second half with the Dons going ahead thanks to a soft penalty awarded against Tom James and a poor clearance from Curtis Tilt gifting a second.

Thelo Aasgaard came on for a distraught Gavin Massey after 64 minutes and Tilt was replaced by Alex Perry five minutes later. The latter part of the game saw Latics look a little better, with Perry looking calm and composed in front of the defence as the Dons retreated into a less attacking mode.

Given the current state of limbo prevailing at Wigan Athletic the limp performance did not come as a surprise. Sheridan has done his best to meld together a disparate group of players but the undercurrents in the club have surely affected all concerned. Those remaining from last season’s senior squad have seen the departure of so many teammates, their salaries reduced, their immediate futures uncertain. New players have been brought in from outside. Some have come and already gone and none of them have a contract beyond January.

However, there is room for optimism for the future. Earlier yesterday the U17 team beat Manchester United’s U17s in the Premier League Cup. They were invited to participate because Latics’ U18s won the U18 Professional Development League North in 2019-20. The current U18 team is again top of the table with five wins in five games.

The critics will say that there is a massive gap between football at youth level and that of the senior level. Indeed, over the years at Wigan we have seen so many bright young players disappear, many going into non-league football. However, with the upgrading of the academy to category 2 status last season both the U18 and U23 teams are playing against much stronger opposition on a regular basis.

Although they did not win their division the U23 team performed well last season. Eight have them have already played for the senior team this season, largely as a result of the club’s precarious financial situation. In contrast last season only Joe Gelhardt from the U23s appeared in league games.

It is rumoured that the Garrido consortium see the development of homegrown talent as important to the future of the club. Their potential acquisition of Wigan Athletic remains in the hands of the EFL. We can only hope that the process will be completed sooner rather than later. Maybe before the home game with Northampton on Saturday?

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.

Moonay said:

1st half ……. I’d rather forget.

2nd half, goals aside, we showed a little promise at times. Like Glasgow says, the decline in our line-up from the 1st minute on Saturday to the point tonight when Keane went off shows our plight.

The kids give us hope, but they need confidence. There’s little point at this time comparing ourselves to any other club, regardless of position in the league. What we need to do is to concentrate on playing as a team, working hard, supporting each other, keeping the heads up. As fans, that’s all we can ask of them right now.

You are my sunshine commented:

Yep agree with the fact Jones had a good game as well as Long, especially 1st half, keeping it 0-0 at HT with some decent saves!

For me, I just think Perry is the best suited player to replace Evans, with his ability to get on the ball and keep possession. He is a very neat and tidy player. Whereas Merrie, who can also pick a good pass,is more of a tough tackler. That crunching one in the 1st half was a cracker. Palmer seems more similar to Merrie than Perry. So I’d have Evans or Perry with Palmer or Merrie in the 2 cm slots.

We are desperately lacking an experienced natural number 10 to play just behind Garner. Aasgard is the only one in the entire squad,so it’s good to see him involved recently. The less said about Massey tonight the better. His body language was appalling at times and he seemed frustrated at being so deep. No excuses though,he needs to do much better!

For me, tonight for 70 minutes we didn’t get on the ball no were near enough. Due to the 532 formation, we had no width in the final third, which also resulted in a lack of crosses into the box for Garner to attack.

King _deZeeuw06 opined:

At the end when we had more of the kids on were looked a bit better, granted MK had already got the win and were happy to sit back and hold onto it, but there was a bit more enthusiasm and energy in the way we tried to go at them at least.

Crankshaw really struggled, thought Palmer looked quite good but had very little to work with. Thought Perry and Aasgaard showed more than some of our senior players. Gardner even showed a bit towards the end, but it was too little too late. Massey shouldnt play again even if he is fit – not sure if it’s confidence, attitude or whatever but he has been one of our worst performers, taking zero responsibility and going hiding this season when he should be one of the ones leading the charge.

It seems like our senior players are dropping like flies so i assume the kids will be playing on mass on Saturday – it can’t be any worse. But Sheridan needs to stop mucking about with players out of position and 5 at the back – it’s making a tough job even harder.

C_Latic said:

Still not in the bottom four (somehow). The goal now (other than still having a club) is to get to January without being cut adrift. Do that and we still have a good chance of staying up assuming a takeover has been completed by then and we can bring bodies in.

You are my sunshine also added:

I know we had injuries to key players but we are still better than that disappointing display! IMO Sheridan got it wrong tonight playing that negative 532 formation,with too many players out of position.We were too deep from the start and it set the tone for the rest of the game.

As soon as Perry came on,who can get on the ball and spray it around in our familiar 4231 formation we improved that last 20 minutes.

I’d give Long mom tonight
.

Degsy1 responded:

I agree with you But thought Jamie Jones also played well tonight – I s as Lao agree wrt Alex Perry, in fact from what I can see, Matt Palmer & Chris Merrie can also “get on the ball and spray it around”

My starting midfield would have been Palmer, Merrie & Perry and I would have told Pierce & James to play it through midfield who would then get it up field by means of control & passing rather than the current methodology being employed by Sheridan of hoofing it up and relying on luck !

I also would have subbed Aasgaard for Massey at half time !

Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com

Amigo and social media reaction to a narrow loss at Charlton

“We’re playing the twelve men at Old Trafford”.

In the Premier League days one rarely felt that Latics were going to get the balance of refereeing decisions going their way when playing the bigger clubs.

They certainly did not yesterday at The Valley.

John Sheridan had to reshuffle his pack for the game with left back Tom Pearce unavailable through injury. Gavin Massey was moved to right back, with Tom James moved across to the left. Darnell Johnson and Curtis Tilt formed yet another central defensive partnership. Will Keane was employed in a roving role behind Joe Garner. The seven substitutes on Wigan’s bench were graduates of the U23 squad.

I was a tight game ultimately decided by poor goalkeeping. The major refereeing decisions went to the home side, as noted by John Sheridan: “We are unfortunate to go away and get nothing from the game and it’s very disappointing.  We had two stonewall penalties and I will never know why he disallowed the Joe Garner goal; the linesman was 10 or 15 yards away from Will competing for the ball and he doesn’t give a foul but for some reason the referee – who is 40 yards away – gives a free-kick and disallows the goal.

The performance and the way the players went about getting something out of the game was a lot better. Again, we have lost the game and it’s disappointing because the goal is a direct free-kick and leading up to the goal we made ourselves vulnerable. The things we do, the decisions we make and we give too many little free-kicks away in dangerous areas, if you do that you get punished. It’s a shame we didn’t get something from the game because we deserved to.”

Sheridan did not use any of his bench, preferring to use the senior professionals at his disposal for the whole game. Despite the result it was a good performance with some bright spots. Gavin Massey had looked a shadow of his former self in the previous two games. He had a nervy start at right back, but grew into the game, looking more confident and assured. Curtis Tilt made an impressive debut despite not having played competitive football since March. It was good to see Lee Evans playing a more commanding role in the centre of midfield.  

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.

The_Pon commented:

Absolutely shocking refereeing today. I’m not normally one to blame a ref. They do have a difficult job to do and I’m usually willing to let a few bad decisions go, especially when they’re are bad decisions that go both ways.

Today though, it was absolutely appalling. Every decision went the same way. Charlton players just hit the deck for free kicks whenever they like, whilst two very strong penalty claims turned down and a perfectly good goal disallowed for us. That’s not to mention the niggly trips and pulls that they got away with almost every time but the ref gave them pretty much every time.

Don’t mind cr.p referees that much when they’re cr.p for both sides, but obvious bias makes my blood boil.

SwindonLatic said:

Poor goal to concede. But we deserved at least a point. If we can get an end product out of Viv he can be as big for us at this level as Yanic was. Get the Palmer lad in, in place of Gardner and we could have the makings of a half decent team. Looked much more solid at the back. Liked the look of Tilt

Tilt was very good, head and shoulders our best player. Having Garner back certainly helped. Evans looked better than he has in recent games in def mid, but really started to look more like his old self after we went behind and it felt like he started to take more responsibility and dictating the play – that is what he is best at and hopefully with Palmer coming in he will be able to do more of it. Keane showed some nice flashes but he doesn’t really seem to be the Kieffer Moore type who can cope with the long balls and needs the ball more on the deck and players running off him. Otabor and Kal could really do some damage but they are so often taking on 3 players by themselves and crowded out – they need some help in the form of some runners and support to pull men away from them or give them options to slide someone in.

Felt that we aren’t really doing ourselves justice. We are not giving ourselves many options on the ball with a lack movement resulting in losing the ball by going long and we haven’t got a Moore to make it work. On the occasions we go up a gear start to up the tempo, show more urgency and commit men forward like we did towards the end we look a much better team. Not sure if the players are showing the opposition too much respect but if that the is the reason they really shouldn’t. Need to start games showing the urgency we show after we go behind.

Omar Bogle is still totally sh­.te – even at this level!

We’ve played about 5 of the likely teams in the promotion hunt this season and they’ve all been utter shte. We have been in turmoil with a team of cast offs yet if we could cut out costly errors to give away the points we could’ve probably won all 5. If we could get our takeover done and get our act together there is no reason we couldn’t fly up the league but we’ve got to do better ourselves.

 

TrueBeliever opined:

Quite an even game for me, Charlton looking to bed players in as were we. The goal was a mistake from Jones but overall he had a decent game and kept us in it when their forward turned Johnson in the first half.

Johnson and Tilt looked comfortable given it was the first game they had played together. Evans looked better running the show from deeper but Gardner is too loose on the ball and tries the flicks too often losing us possession.

Massey was half decent as a full back but still lacks confidence and pace going forward, maybe he is still trying to get his fitness back and will improve with game time. Solomon-Otabor drifts in and out but is dangerous in one on one situations when he gets the ball out of his feet.

I thought both Garner and Keane fought well against a couple of decent CB’s and won their fair share of the ball without actually creating much. No doubt if they get to play together more they will improve and form an understanding.

We should have been given at least one of the two penalty shouts as Evans had his standing foot whipped away as he was about to shoot. The one with Keane was more debateable but his set up for Garner was never a foul and the assistant ref, who had the better view, obviously thought so. Poor decision by the ref.

Overall a decent performance from yet another makeshift side still looking to find some consistency and getting to know each others games.

Onwards to Tuesday and the visit of Peterborough with at least an improvement on last week’s performance.

Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com

Five talking points following a gritty victory against Doncaster


Wigan Athletic 1 Doncaster Rovers 0

Who would have thought that a Wigan Athletic team built around the bare remnants of Paul Cook’s squad could be in mid-table after four games played? This win over an in-form Doncaster side who had been unbeaten in their first three games was the result of a well-taken goal by Joe Garner together with no mean amount of grit and determination.

There were surprises in John Sheridan’s opening line-up, with Nathan Cameron on the bench and Danny Fox in discussions with Robbie Fowler, manager of East Bengal, who play in Calcutta. Kal Naismith was moved back into the centre of defence with Darnell Johnson making his debut, on loan from Leicester City.

Darren Moore’s Doncaster looked a useful outfit in the first half, their movement and fluidity constantly challenging Wigan’s defence. But thanks to profligate finishing and fine saves from Jamie Jones the game was goalless at half time. Latics were much better in the second half, buoyed by Garner’s excellent header from Viv Solomon-Otabor’s cross after 59 minutes.

Following the game Sheridan commented: “I am very pleased with the result. It was a really tough game, which I expected because they’ve got a very good footballing side and they gave us a lot of problems in the first half. We were probably fortunate to go in level at the break because we didn’t really get going and we were a bit sloppy in the way we started the game. I felt we should have got up the pitch a bit further and got in and around people but what we asked of them at half-time they have gone and done in the second-half and I thought we were magnificent in the second-half; we created problems, got in and around them and played some excellent football ourselves, scoring a great goal to get the three points.”

Let’s take a look at some points arising from the game:

Maintaining a style of play

John Sheridan’s appointment was hardly heralded by Latics fans. Most of us had expected Liam Richardson to take over as manager. However, the combination of the two has helped to stabilise things on the field of play.

The starting line-up from this match contained six players from last season’s squad, two who have stepped up from the U23 squad, the remainder being loan players or those on short-term contracts.

However, the style of play developed during Paul Cook’s three-year tenure has remained in place. This is something that has so often not been the case in the past.

Dave Whelan’s mistake of appointing Owen Coyle as successor to Roberto Martinez is the most memorable. A group of players weaned on patient possession football struggled to adapt to a long-ball approach from a new manager.

It is to Sheridan’s credit that has not tampered with the style and method of play that had been previously established.

A captain who leads by example

Sam Morsy’s departure from the club was a bitter blow. Morsy was not only a key player in midfield, but a captain who led by example.

Joe Garner was the obvious choice for the captaincy when Morsy departed, a senior professional, known for his gritty determination to succeed.

With five goals in six games the new captain has been in fine form. For the first time since joining Latics in August 2018 he is now the undisputed first-choice central striker at the club. He is thriving on it.

Garner is a combative figure on the field of play, not afraid to mix things physically with powerful central defenders who tower above him. He clearly relishes playing in the target-man role, but Garner is also capable of making killer passes as we saw yesterday when he put Solomon-Atabor through with a pass that should have led to Latics taking a two goal lead.

Joe Garner is now 32. He has had made more than 470 career appearances at nine clubs. Nevertheless, he retains an enthusiasm that must surely rub off on the less experienced players around him.

A young centre of midfield

Two young Liverpudlians, Chris Merrie and Alex Perry, have certainly caught the eye in recent weeks in establishing themselves as an option in the centre of midfield. Having operated together in the U23 team they know each other’s games and gel as a partnership in that key area.

Chris Merrie is 21 and a product of the Wigan Athletic academy. He joined Latics in 2013 after previously being part of the Everton youth system. Prior to this season his Latics appearances had been limited to cup competitions. In the 2017-18 season he went on loan to both Southport and Altrincham, making a total of 25 appearances. A regular at U23 level Merrie has stepped up to the senior squad. He is strong in the tackle and is an accurate passer with his trusted left foot.

Alex Perry is 22 and a product of the Bolton Wanderers academy. Latics acquired him from as a free agent with Bolton suffering financial difficulties in September 2018. Prior to this season Perry’s only first team experience had been during a month’s loan at Northern Premier League side Sutton Coldfield in November 2017 and a single appearance for Bolton in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Perry was a regular in the Latics U23 team and has made an impressive step-up to the senior level this season. He is an energetic midfielder, strong in the tackle, who shows vision in his passing.

Put Massey on the right

Gavin Massey is now 28. He joined Latics in July 2017. At his best he has used his searing pace to cut apart opposition defences, and he has scored spectacular goals. His partnership with Nathan Byrne on Wigan’s right was a key factor in Latics winning League 1 in the 2017-18 season.

Last season was not Massey’s best. He is an exclusively one-footed player, most effective on his “natural side”, the right. So often last season Cook would frustratingly play him on the left. Massey has always been willing to work hard for the team and does not shirk in his defensive duties. However, playing him on the left wing has hardly helped him be at his incisive best.

When yesterday’s team sheet came out one hoped in vain that Massey would be played on the right with Viv Solomon-Atabor on the left. The latter has shown is ability to play effectively on either wing. Although being predominantly right footed he can use his left to good effect.

Using Massey as a “workhorse” left winger has never got the best out of the player. Being so one-footed means he constantly passes the ball inside or backwards, lacking the option of going on the outside past the full back.

It can only be hoped that Sheridan will see this and employ the player in his most effective role.

Evans must gain more self-belief

Lee Evans is now 26 and should be nearing his peak as a midfield player. Evans is physically strong and possesses a fine technique and the vision to make a killer pass or score goals. With such attributes Evans should be further on in his career than he is.

Last season was tough for the Welshman with Sam Morsy and Joe Williams forming a formidable partnership in the centre of midfield. At times Evans played in the problematic number 10 role, sometimes looking good, but could not establish himself as the first choice for that position.

There is debate among supporters as to Evans’ best position. Before Williams’ arrival he would often partner Sam Morsy in central midfield. Although defensively solid he does not have the tenacity of such as Morsy and Williams, but his ability to launch pinpoint long passes from the centre of the pitch was a useful tool for the team.

We know that Evans can be an effective holding midfielder in League 1, but Sheridan has given him the chance to show what he can do as a number 10. In the opening games of the season he was somewhat anonymous, possibly shell-shocked like many others by what was happening off the field of play at the club. He has since improved.

Evans has the ability to be among the top midfield players in the third tier. But too often he makes the square pass rather taking the more incisive option which he is capable of. Moreover, he has scored spectacular goals in the past, but does not shoot often enough.

With belief Lee Evans can be a top player. He has the attributes necessary to be so. If Sheridan and his staff can continue to give him a good run of games and help instil more self-belief in the player, he could be key to Latics’ success in the near future.

 

Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com