“It was a tough game but we knew it was going to be just that because they’re a good side. They’re very well set up, very strong and have got some good players…..It was two teams today who were having a real good go at each other. After our win on Saturday I knew people would be expecting more goals, but neither side don’t concede many so chances were always going to be at a premium. When our chances did come today we couldn’t take them but that’s football and I’ve got no problem with that.”
Paul Cook was his usual generous self in praising Shrewsbury’s performance yesterday. Shrews manager, Paul Hurst, was also magnanimous in praising Latics:
“We’re defying the odds and coming to places like Wigan, who were keen to give us some hiding. I say that because we’re one of a few teams to have beaten them, and they wanted to score four or five against us and really send us home packing, so I’m delighted that didn’t happen. I keep saying it and nothing will change my mind…we’ve seen the team that’ll be the champions at the end of the season. They’ve got some very good players, but I thought we had spells in the game as well”
Let’s take a look at some talking points arising from the match:
The high pressing was not so evident from Latics
Given the above comments from Hurst, one can understand him adopting a cautious approach. But Cook too was cautious in his game plan.
A major feature in Wigan’s best performances has been pressing high in the opposition half. The opposing defence has been disrupted, with them less able to build up moves from the back. Moreover, it has directly led to Wigan goals.
However, Cook was being cautious yesterday in holding his men back, fearful of a Shrewsbury counterattack.
The foul count
The actual foul count gave a strange reflection on the game. It showed Latics committing 11 fouls and Shrewsbury 10.
But Shrewsbury certainly came to shut down the creativity from Wigan’s midfield and will be delighted at coming away with a point. Their low-level fouling was constant throughout the game, with Nick Powell, receiving a heavy dose of it, especially in the first half. The referee was either unable or unwilling to stop the constant niggling by the away side.
Can Shrewsbury keep it going?
It has been remarkable how Paul Hurst has built a highly competitive side, largely from journeymen and players who have plied their trade in the lower divisions and non-league. Other than their excellent 20 year old goalkeeper, Dean Henderson, on loan from Manchester United there is no one who stands out. But they play the calm, defensive type of game that typified Burton Albion’s promotion-winning team of a couple of years ago.
With reference to Shrewsbury, Cook commented after the match that: “I don’t see them fading away, they’ll go all the way to the wire.”
Like Cook at Wigan, Hurst has a group of players who he relies upon week in, week out. In fact, both clubs have 7 players who have played in at least 20 of the 23 league games this season.
However, injuries could well rear their ugly heads over the next couple of weeks for both teams, with so many games packed into a short period. It is then that the overall strength of the squads would become more of a factor.
Wigan’s squad surely has more strength in depth than that of the Shrews. Whether Shrewsbury can keep challenging at the top of the table will most likely revolve around issues of injuries and depth of squad.
The best home attendance of the season
Yesterday’s attendance of 11,211 was the best of the season at the DW Stadium. It brought Wigan’s average attendance up to 9,106. It is the sixth highest average in League 1.
When Latics won League 1 in 2015-16 their average attendance was 9,467 but was swelled by the figure of 18,730 who attended the last game of the season against Barnsley.
Expect changes for Charlton
With a third game in six days coming up for Latics on Friday night, plus another one the following Monday, we can expect some changes for the Charlton encounter. Callum Elder, Max Power and Ryan Colclough will certainly be pressing for a place, although the latter was notably absent from yesterday’s squad.