04/05 Review pt3 – The case for the defence

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Pascal Chimbonda
Best to get him out the way early on. It would be all too easy to let Pascal’s current situation affect your view of his season as a whole, but that would be grossly unfair. His energy and character have been a key part of Wigan Athletics’ public personality this season (note to self: copy and paste this for Jimmy Bullard) and the recognition he received from his fellow professionals is gratifying for both club and player, but just a word of warning to Spurs fans; the PFA vote takes place in January, at that time we were still flying reasonably high. Pascal’s performances when we were doing well were nothing short of brilliant, when the wheels started to come off, less so. That said it would be rude to pretend that he hasn’t been an important and in the main extremely effective player for us this season.

Leighton Baines
Without the showmanship, grin or overall fuss of the lad on the other side of the park, Baines has been quietly proving what many Latics fans could have told you a couple of years back, that he’s one of the best left backs around. Sven might not agree, but then again I’ve actually watched him play a few times this season. He was a real contender for player of the season and if OPTA scored for goal line clearances and last ditch challenges then he’d be the highest rated player in the league. He hasn’t got forward quite as much as he could have done, but this has perhaps been as much about his oppo’s marauding runs as anything to do with his own ability.

Ryan Taylor

It’s not clear where Jewell sees Ryan’s long-term future, and to be honest I’ve not formed an opinion of whether he’s better as a midfielder than defender myself, yet. The one thing that is certain is that he has got a long-term future with bags of ability and a seemingly good head on his shoulders. Let’s hope for a speedy recovery and him continuing his development next season.

Steve McMillan

It came as no great surprise to see Studs bother the doctors more than the opposition. The most frustrating thing is that he’s an excellent player when he’s fit.

David Wright

Who? Oh yes, an injury whilst on loan to Norwich scuppered his chances of a permanent deal. David is a player who has done very little wrong in a Latics shirt, but was always going to be on the fringes this year. Only time will tell if he’ll be on the move this summer.

Arjan De Zeeuw

What can you say? A colossus before he left us, a colossus on his return. Arry’s performances this season have solidified his reputation as a Latics legend. We knew he wasn’t going to be speedy, but all the other attributes we remembered are still there. His strength, nouse and above all leadership were key to our early season form and ensured he was a shoe-in as the fans’ choice for player of the season.

Stephane Henchoz

Early on Stephane’s performances at the back were just as key to our form as Arry’s but he struggled to keep his place for the run-in. His experience was more than useful and he definitely did the job he was brought in to do. For fairly obvious reasons, Jewell thinks that job is done and it’s time to move on. When it came to the retained list it was probably a straight choice between Henchoz and Matt Jackson and for me the right choice was made.

Matt Jackson

Apparently the Latics All-Stars did quite well in some national cheerleading awards. If Jacko had been entered then surely he’d have swept the competition away. No, I’m not going to reveal some dark secret involving him wearing tutus and performing basic acrobatics, but anyone who sits in the south side of the West Stand should know where I’m coming from.

For the first half of the season, Jacko was an almost constant fixture, encouraging teammates and cajoling linesmen and opposition alike. You get the impression that, although chances on the pitch have been limited, Matt has played the part of Club Captain with relish and has played an important part in the season off the pitch. Combine that with the fact that he’s stepped up to the plate and performed every time he’s been asked and it’s clear why Jewell has rewarded him with an extra year in the Premier League.

Paul Scharner

Full of energy or a headless chicken? Committed to the cause or rash and naïve? Defender or midfielder? It would seem that the jury is still out on the Austrian with his own website and ‘unique’ dress sense. He’s shown enough since his debut in the first leg of that cup-tie to suggest he could be any and all of the nicer attributes listed above. Like Johansson before him I think it’s fair to suggest that Scharner will be a different player with a pre-season behind him, and with the positive aspects of his play and a few goals thrown in he’s probably bought himself enough time to prove himself.

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05/06 Review pt4 – Middle of the Road

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2005/06 Review pt 2 – End of Season Report

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