Amigo and Social Media Reaction to a goalless draw with Ipswich

Wigan Athletic 0 Ipswich Town 0

It’s another point in the right direction

So said Leam Richardson in his post-match summary.

It was a tight game with few chances created by either team with defences dominating. With Scott Wootton out through injury, Curtis Tilt moved to the right hand side of the centre of defence with George Johnston on his left. With various options for employing his front four Richardson had Will Keane at centre forward, with Callum Lang and a strapped-up Viv Solomon-Otabor playing wide and Thelo Aasgaard given a rare chance to play in his natural position as a number 10.

Aasgaard is a very talented young player and it was brave of the manager to give him the chance in the central creative role. However, in a game where defences and holding midfielders dominated the 19-year-old was so often crowded out when receiving the ball. Moreover, Keane looked lost at centre forward and the wingers could not get into the game. Solomon-Otabor was clearly not match fit and it was only later in the game when Lang played a more central role that he got more involved. Richardson’s dilemma is that Aasgard, Keane and Lang play best in that role behind that central striker.

Following a ragged performance at Accrington the defence was solid in this game with Johnston having a man of the match performance and Tilt not far behind. Moreover Jamie Jones was more authoritative in goal. If the defence can play like that in the games that remain then Latics will have a good chance of avoiding relegation.,

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:

True Believer commented:

As Arthur says it is a matter of opinion and in my opinion the game was fought out by two teams who were intent on winning three points but lacked the necessary skills to break the other down. Neither team showed any composure up front and lacked the ability to dominate the game. Both teams had opportunities to win the game but in the end I think both managers will be happy to come away with a point.

MoM for me was George Johnston who once again showed that he is a versatile player and a very solid performer. Alongside Curtis Tilt, who showed his commitment to the cause by returning from international duties a day earlier and still making himself available, they made a very strong CB pairing. Tendayi Darikwa had a decent game and is improving game by game and his forward runs caused a few problems for Ipswich, however his final ball needs improvement. Young Luke Robinson once again put in a solid shift but his inexperience shows in his pass selection and on a couple of occasions his wayward passing caused us problems, but I have no doubt he will improve.

Midfield has been a problem this season as we lacked experienced heads able to slow play down when necessary and pick out a pass when needed. In Evans and Ojo I think we have solved the problem as both had decent games with Evans spraying the ball wide to Darikwa to release him and set up a crossing opportunity.

Aasgaard looked good again playing in the central role but once again his lack of experience allowed the Ipswich players to crowd him out and snuff out the danger when he was in possession. Viv SO flatters to deceive and his control let him down today, although once again I have to applaud him for wanting to play even though he was heavily strapped up and this clearly hampered his pace.

Will Keane worked hard but doesn’t challenge enough for the high balls and is a poor substitute for Proctor, he is a much better number 10, playing off the main striker. Unfortunately for Will he is also second best as a No,10 to Callum Lang who once again makes you ask the question “why was he out on loan for the first half of the season”. His running with the ball directly at defenders causes panic and he was unlucky today not to have got a penalty, his energy is boundless and his enthusiasm rubs off on other players whilst his willingness to show for the ball gives the defence and midfield options.

Now to the scapegoat for many JJ.

I thought he commanded his area today and marshalled the defence well making a couple of decent interceptions and clearing the ball under pressure. His near post block saved the points when they did eventually get past the defence, and although you would expect him to make the block I still believe it was worth the mention.

To sum up, it was not one for the purists but given the performance last weekend it was certainly an improvement and pre match that is all I could ask for. A win would have been a great result, but at this stage of the season, and considering three points would have seen Ipswich back in to the play off places at the start of play, I’ll take the point, the performance, and look to build on that against Gillingham.

Jeffs right wrote:

I don’t expect us to roll any side over. We are struggling at the bottom because we have one of the weakest squads in the league. So long as we give it a go is important but two shots on target in 96 minutes is not going to get us up to finish fifth from bottom. Ipswich were depleted too and since Cook went there are struggling to get wins so have been slipping away from contention and like Stanley last week are not exactly buzzing. Today was another of those games where if you were to expect three points then this was one of the games. Alas two shots on target is not going to do it.

Victor Moses summarised:

Viv was done 20 minutes before he came off.

Evans actually played to the standard you would expect from him today. Some lovely switch passes which led to some of our best openings, several sliding tackles and used his body well to win several freekicks. Was good to see him play well.

Lang was excellent but didn’t see enough of the ball out wide, really had the beating of them almost everytime he had the ball.

Johnston had a very good game, won the ball back a lot.

Robinson struggled but thats expected every now and then.

The rest had good and bad moments, had chances to win that, ball never fell kindly and wasted too many opportunities to be creative.

You are my sunshine summarised:

Thought we played well today and all that was lacking was an end product and cutting edge at the top end of the pitch. We’ve created 3 good chances and also got into some good areas and situations without making the most of them.

We were really solid defensively today and the clean sheet is a real positive. Johnston was outstanding and Tilt was excellent as well especially after his whirlwind few days.

After an even 1st half I thought Evans and Ojo then controlled the game in the 2nd and we were the better team, so I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t win the game.

Lang needs to play centrally and only out wide when we have no other options to play on the wings. He’s wasted out there and we need him more involved in the game which he will be through the middle.

Although I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t win,because we were the better team that 2nd half, it’s a point closer to safety and very much all to play for going into the last 9 games.


Additionally we have the official takeover to look forward to next week, which,fingers crossed should be rubber stamped before Good Friday!


Keep the faith!

Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com

Amigo and Social Media reaction to three points for Wigan Athletic at Northampton

Northampton Town 0 Wigan Athletic 1

It was not a game for the purists, but Callum Lang’s opportunist goal after 82 minutes was enough to give Latics the points. The ground staff at the Sixfields had done a great job in keeping the pitch only barely playable in the freezing conditions. The result was a hard, bumpy surface, making skilful football very difficult for both teams. The hoof became the norm:  Latics did produce flashes of good football, the Cobblers very little.

With Tom Pearce possibly out for the long term and Jamie Proctor having to self-isolate, Leam Richardson wisely shuffled his lineup and tactics. Adopting a line of three central defenders provided the height and physicality to withstand Northampton’s aerial attacks.

Lang was moved to centre forward and for most of the game he was in the shackles of the Cobblers’ physical back line, chasing long balls. It is to his credit that he seized his moment to take his chance in a manner reminiscent of Will Grigg of yesteryear, racing on to Luke Robinson’s headed clearance to outpace two defenders and score with aplomb. It had been a game with few real chances for either team the best one for Wigan coming to Thelo Aasgaard early on, his shot hitting Lang.

Latics had taken the field with two 19-year-olds in their lineup. Robinson has played for Scotland at U18 and U19 levels, but it was his first league start for Wigan. Aasgaard, brought up in Liverpool and with a Norwegian father, represented Norway at U16 level. He is a class act and last night showed the glimpses of skill and physical presence that will make him a key player for Latics.

After the game Richardson commented:

“You know what you’re going to get from Keith Curle’s team and Northampton did put it to us in many ways. You’ve got to be up for meeting that challenge. My challenge to the lads was to make sure we were better than them in every area, which allowed us to impose our little bits of quality that we always felt we could get in certain areas.

We’ve set our criteria out, we know our aims and we’ve spoken about them now for a while. We’re a new group even in the middle of a season and our numbers are continually reduced, with Tom Pearce’s injury and Jamie Proctor’s positive Covid test after such a good debut.

Our lads are always training and learning, and that showed with Luke Robinson getting his full debut – he was outstanding. He’s played a massive part in us keeping a clean sheet and he’ll certainly remember his first 90 minutes for us.”

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:

Victor Moses commented:

The pitch was terrible, players falling over all game. Slipping, ball getting stuck in their feet. They were very direct, most players struggled to control the ball especially Keane, his was woeful.

Both of Langs goals he’s spun the defender before finishing nicely. Had more to do this time but took that goal very well.

Forgot to mention Aasgaard, played really well tonight. Whilst all the other players struggled to control the ball he was tidy and creative. Much better then we’ve seen from Gardner recently. Robinson did solid a lwb, Darikwa defended excellently.

Arthur_Itis said:

Wigan tried to play on the deck occasionally but the pitch was horrendous (the ball bobble waist height on a simple 10 yard pass at one point) so we ended up hoofing it and just don’t have the players for that tactic.
Northampton were set up for the hoof from the off, but Tilt and Johnston particularly battled well, and we managed to limit their chances.
Both teams were poor, but I felt we could have been much better if we’d been playing on a bowling green, whereas I felt they peaked no matter what the conditions.

Skem Tic  added:

For me that was a hard earned but well deserved win, Northampton looked like a team that were playing away against top of the league opposition. They appeared to be playing for a draw from about the fifth minute and became difficult to break down and were getting away with plenty of fouls, as usual we got no help from the usual Poor referee.
Langs goal was great, the strength he showed holding off two defenders pushing and pulling him back it would have been easy for him to go down, glad he didn’t the as it would have been waved away as a coming together by the ref!
Defence were much better tonight and the whole team looked like they wanted to play. Man of match for me Curtis Tilt! Keep it up Latics!

Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com

Five talking points following a narrow home defeat by Peterborough

A well-taken goal by forward Jonson Clarke-Harris after 28 minutes was sufficient to send Latics to another defeat. Peterborough’s centre forward had found himself unmarked in Wigan’s box.

With Tom Pearce still injured John Sheridan fielded the same team that started at Charlton with the exception of Matty Palmer making his debut in midfield in place of Dan Gardner.

Peterborough had come to the DW full of confidence following three successive victories. That confidence soon showed as their smooth passing movements put pressure on the home team’s defence. As the match continued Wigan’s front two, Joe Garner and Will Keane, were starved of possession and neither looked like scoring. The poor quality of crosses into the opposition box from open play and set pieces gave them scant opportunities. Keane was replaced by Chris Merrie after 68 minutes and Garner by Ollie Crankshaw after 81 minutes. Thelo Aasgard made his debut, coming on for Palmer after 88 minutes.

Following the game Sheridan commented:

“We try and tell them week in week out to pass the ball and be more adventurous and productive in passing the ball forward and trying to hurt teams quicker and we need to do that put teams on the back foot quicker, instead of allowing them to recover and get back into position.

It’s something we do work on but we need to do a lot better. Scoring goals is a problem at the moment. There are lots of deliveries going in the box at the moment with corners and set plays but our end product isn’t there at the moment.”

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

A rocky period for Latics

After losing the first two league games Latics rallied by winning the next two. The win at Portsmouth was well merited if the home victory against Doncaster owed as much to the visitors’ profligacy in front of goal as the fighting qualities shown by Wigan. The wins were followed by a 3-0 defeat at Crewe where Latics were outplayed. Poor refereeing decisions played a major hand in the narrow defeat at Charlton but Latics never truly looked like scoring in this encounter with Peterborough.

The prime goal for Latics this season is to avoid relegation, but that is by no means an easy task given the limited resources John Sheridan has at his disposal. The starting line-up last night contained five players from last season’s squad and six on short-term contracts which end in January, half of whom are on loan. The seven players on the bench were products of the U23 and U18 teams.

Recruiting players for a club with an uncertain future is always going to be difficult. Moreover, the League 1 salary cap restricts things further. Sheridan has to use the players remaining from last season’s squad as the backbone of the team over the course of the season, although some of those could depart in the January transfer window.

The football we have seen these last couple of months has been reminiscent of that of early last season in the Championship when we saw the bright, flowing side of Cook-Richardson football interspersed with spells where hoofball prevailed. Seeing Joe Garner struggle to receive any kind of service last night brought back memories of Kieffer Moore’s early days at Wigan when his main function seemed to be in chasing futile long balls.

Giving youth a chance

The departures of talented young players such as Alfie Devine, Joe Gelhardt and Jensen Weir for such meagre transfer fees was a bitter pill for us to swallow. However, the funds raised by their transfers helped the club to survive at a critical period in Wigan Athletic’s history. The good news is that the academy system is still intact and the U18 team has won all four of its games so far. There is still an abundance of teenage talent at the club.

It was good to see the 18-year-old Thelo Aasgard make his senior debut yesterday. Aasgard joined Latics in October 2016 and has represented Norway at the U16 level. A skilful player, well suited to the number 10 role, he has been a regular starter in the U23 team this season. He is the fourth teenager to make his League 1 debut this season following in the footsteps of the 19 year olds: Charlie Jolley, Adam Long, Emeka Obe. Divin Baningime was also 19 when made his debut in the EFL Trophy defeat by Port Vale.

Two more 19-year-olds have been making the bench but have yet to make their senior debuts. Both Kyle Joseph and Luke Robinson are Scotland youth internationals. Joseph is a striker with a good goalscoring record. Robinson is a left back who has shown expertise in shooting from outside the penalty box.

The development of home-grown talent is key to the long-term sustainability of the club. Previous managers have been reluctant to bring in young players, preferring to stick with their senior players. In John Sheridan’s case it has been a necessity because of the threadbare nature of the senior squad.  

Sheridan’s main task is to avoid relegation on a budget that is shoestring compared with previous seasons that Latics have spent in League 1 over recent years. However, should he manage to keep the club in the division and give further experience to young homegrown talent, the season could be regarded as a success.

Naismith for number 10?

Since Nick Powell’s departure the number 10 position has been problematic for Latics. Various players have been tried there, including Lee Evans. The Welshman has returned to form in the last three games since returning to his favourite position in holding midfield. In the last couple of matches Sheridan has used Will Keane to support the central striker, rather than as an orthodox number 10. Although it has not been noticeably successful up to this point it remains an option that the manager might use as needs arise.

Kal Naismith has once again proved his flexibility in playing in different positions. When he has played in the centre of defence his creativity has been missed further up the pitch. But there is debate among fans as to what is his best position.

In these days of inverted wingers Naismith found himself on the right wing and Viv Solomon-Otabor on the left. The latter has impressed on both wings this season, although yesterday he was snuffed out of the game by the Peterborough defence. Naismith had some good moments but one cannot help but feeling that he looks uncomfortable playing on the right.

Despite being such an all-rounder Naismith has rarely played in central midfield. But he has all the attributes to be successful in that position. Why not give him a run as a number 10?

The Garrido takeover

The acquisition of the club by Jose Miguel Garrido is awaiting ratification by the EFL. Until that happens we will not be able to discern the direction of the club in the near future.

Garrido will be buying a club that won the FA Cup only seven years ago, has a thriving academy and is not riddled with the levels of debt which typify so many clubs in the higher levels of the EFL. On the downside he will have to support the club financially during an era in which supporters are not allowed into football grounds.

Looking forward to Plymouth on Saturday

The last two games have been tight contests where Latics have lost by the odd goal. With such a small nucleus of experienced players Sheridan will face challenges as the fixtures pile up.

We can assume that Sheridan will stick with that same nucleus of players on Saturday when Plymouth Argyle are the visitors. Let’s hope they can get back on track and pick up three valuable points.

Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com