Birmingham 3-2 Latics
Saturday 27th October 2007

Latics 0-2 Chelsea
Saturday 3rd November 2007

It’s difficult to say that anyone deserved credit from both of these games.  At a push, the much maligned Marcus Bent would be spared some criticism (only some mind), his two goals at St Andrews being followed by a reasonable stab at the thankless task of handling the Chelsea defence all on his lonesome.

Pointing the finger of blame is easy, you could be blindfolded and see what needed changing for either of these games.  The only problem being that those changes would offer no guarantee of success.  The only real hope, the return of a man who has trouble scoring goals and had taken his previous team down a level.

Over these two games things turned for Chris Hutchings, following the Portsmouth game I wrote that he still held credit with the fans, fairly quickly after that, it ran out.  There may have been those who preferred to blame the chairman, but in the end there was only going to be one man winning that argument.

Neither result on its own seems enough to prompt such a drastic response but both gave truth to the theory that Latics’ slide was getting out of control.  To go away from home, score two goals and take the lead twice should be a happy tale, but a last minute capitulation can only mean frustration or despair.  To host the richest team in the country and give them the run of your home is just suicide.

At the end of the day, these two games proved that, yes Latics are capable of playing decent football, and yes maybe there’s something that could be done about the pending relegation battle, but equally that there is something deep rooted and wrong with the side.  What followed the Chelsea game proved only that it is easier to sack one manager than it is 15 or so members of your squad.

That may be an exaggeration, but it’s how things felt leaving the JJB this Saturday.  Everywhere you looked there were players who either didn’t deserve or looked like they didn’t want to pull on the shirt.  At Birmingham the defence let down their team mates and a week later the midfield returned got their own back.

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