A numbers game – Sheffield Utd report

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I finished the Arsenal report with a glib line about saving performances like that one for games like Sheffield United.  As it was it was almost poetic in its tragedy as in the very next game Latics turn out their single most abject performance since joining this merry band of robbers thieves and vagabonds that is called the Premier League (sorry, that’s what too much stopping in on a Saturday team time or having Sky+ does for you, either way I blame Murdoch).

Initially I was so cross that I nearly started writing my match review with 60 minutes gone (it’s less of a mobile phone, more a pocket sized multimedia computer you see) but then I got distracted by an argument with the missus (over said same multimedia device).  By the time I got home I just couldn’t be bothered writing this one up, who can blame me, if the players can’t be arsed then why should I. 

Then after watching it back, I was thinking a nice little piece about how we’re not very clever at the back and why Lee McCulloch needs to spend most of his time on the bench (he had won me over, but I’m back to not seeing the point in a big way). 

But as it turned out, the match wasn’t the big thing here.  It hardly mattered that Jewell dropped one tactically by persisting with the 4-5-1 come 4-3-3 that worked so well for 85 minutes against Arsenal (any possibility that the midfield performance could have been down to the players rather than the formation Paul?).  Lining up that way put us on the back foot and made it harder for us to get going even when we switched back to 4-4-2.

It didn’t even matter that Jewell could have taken McCulloch off three times but stuck with him throughout.  This lost us Camara (our real goal threat), Kilbane (the main supply line in recent weeks) and Boyce (ok so that one might have been tactical, but surely a defender for a defender at that time of the game adds nothing). 

No the important thing was that the Manager had dared to make a comment (or answer a question) about the size of Latics crowd.  Why do people care?  It’s obvious that he’s not talking about the fans that turn up, he’s probably not even meaning those that can’t afford or are refusing to pay the prices.  He’s talking about the ‘Mr Wigan Athletics’ that will be sat in practically every pub in Wigan pontificating and shoving their £35 down their throats in pints and pork scratchings.

The only real problem is that if Paul and the Players want bigger crowds, they’ll have to do their part as well and this game wasn’t it.  If they keep performing like this then they’ll be lucky to be playing in front of 5,000 let alone 15.

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