Man City 1-0 Latics
Saturday 28th January 2006
Regardless of the context, (cup final place in the bag, a league place to consolidate and an already significant injury list added to by bruised and tired legs after an exhausting run of games, including two sets of extra time) Wigan Athletic are this morning being painted as the bad guys. How dare such a small club treat the FA cup with such contempt? Does the competition mean so little these days that it is only worthy of our reserve team? How can a team that put so much effort into beating Leeds in the last round, and Arsenal in the Carling Cup, surrender so weakly in what is effectively a local derby?
For me, it’s a pity that more effort didn’t go into this tie, but talk of a weakened side is misleading. The basis of this team is the one that saw off Newcastle in the League cupthe one that scored four goals on the way to penalties against Leeds. Any suggestion that Paul Jewell sent a team out without expecting them to win is nonsense, witness the introduction of Bullard and Roberts, to chase a winner, and the pursuit of an equaliser, even though a replay was about as welcome as a Fowler goal celebration at Old Trafford, or Gary Neville, at all.
At the end of the day, no one is going to cry about being out of the cup, even though this year gave the first chance for a few seasons to let our head be turned by it. Ok so there are bigger fish to fry this season, but that can’t be used as an excuse for insipid performances like this one. There are some big games coming up in the next few weeks, starting with Everton on Tuesday, and this was the last chance some of these players had to make an impression and there’s no denying that the likes of Skoko, Johnasson and Mahon passed up that chance.
The fans have every right to be disappointed with this performance, buut it’s the players that need to be losing sleep over it.
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