‘We looked like we were back to our old selves’ – Paul Cook was clearly a happy man after the 2-0 win over Charlton, the first win since the opening day of the season and according to many the best performance since the opening day.
So were Latics back to their old selves? And what does old selves constitute anyway? Over the last few months, including a big chunk of last season Latics looked nothing like our old selves, if we’re basing our old selves on that attacking good to watch side that romped to the FA Cup quarter-finals, dispatched Manchester City with aplomb and won the League One title at a canter.
Over the last few months that good to watch football had disappeared in favour of what felt like a safety first approach – certainly away from home where Latics issues have been clear for everyone to see.
But over the last couple of weeks it looks like we may be seeing a return to that decent football – Hull was frustrating but there was a sense of something building, it certainly reached a crescendo as a 27 pass move led to a first league goal for teenager Joe Gelhardt. That sort of football continued back at the Dave Whelan Stadium and although both goals came from set pieces the build-up play and all round performance from Paul Cook’s side was far stronger than we have seen for a long while both home and away.
The next target is to maintain this level of performance and to start picking up points away from home, Latics couldn’t have really picked a harder opposition to face in that sense. Fulham were a surprise side involved in the relegation battle from the Premier League last season when you look at how they had performed in the 2017/18 season and equally when you look at the transfer fees spent at Craven Cottage last season.
Fulham have had a mixed return to the football league and currently sit in 12th place on the back of three consecutive draws. They are still one of the favourites for a swift return to the Premier League and Paul Cook’s side will have to be at their best to come away from Craven Cottage with anything. Sadly there won’t be many Wiganer’s enjoying a trip to the Capital thanks to the Metropolitan Police and the Football League.
Despite the fixture being known for over six weeks due to Chelsea being at home to Brighton on Saturday afternoon Latics had to move to the Friday night. This despite the fact that four high profile matches including Premier League sides took place on Sunday afternoon in the capital last week. Once again it feels like one rule for the Championship and one for the Premier League.