Ok, I didn’t go to the game on Saturday. I know that loses me superfan points but, being who I am, it doesn’t stop me having an opinion, or ten. These are the ten conversations that have been dominating my timelines, inboxes and internal dialogues over the last couple of days.
- Gut ache, I can now confirm that sitting on the couch with a stomach like a washing machine next to a youngster who’s having trouble keeping anything in his gut, is infinitely preferable to watching Latics struggle to string three passes together. I’m happy to do house visits to pass my germs on ahead of Thursday, if you’d like. For a small charge of course.
- Of course I’m joking, i’d actually been looking forward to seeing how Coyle’s Latics fayred against a side coached by someone with (allegedly) similar principles to Bob’s. As it turns out, I wasn’t impressed to say the least, I must have got my managers mixed up, because Brighton were just as gloopy as Latics. Definitely nothing to write a saucy postcard home about.
- It wasn’t all gloom for Latics, I actually text my mate at half time to say ’at least they were *trying* to dominate possession and take the game to Brighton’. Only trying mind, they still struggled to string passes together and were hindered by a lack of movement and imagination. You might be able to practice imagination too much (although exercising their brains once in a while might help) but you can definitely work on movement although it’s probably a lot to squeeze in when you’ve only two hours and have to work around the next lot of table tennis fixtures.
- I know there’s still some of you that aren’t convinced that the manager is to root cause of the rubbish we’re watching week-in, week-out but here was a good bit of evidence to the contrary. Every opportunity that Coyle had to influence this game went wrong. We got worse after the half time team talk and more disjointed with every subsequent substitution.
- And of course, they were the standard substitutions. Unless forced by injury or fatigue, it seems Coyle’s answer to struggling in a game is pretty much the same every time. Change the striker, then change one winger and then change the other. Admittedly that often means that we switch from wrong-sided to right sided wingers, but the general pattern of play remains the same. That might be ok if you’re already controlling the game, but when you’re trying to get hold of it and your tactics aren’t working then, maybe, it’s them and not the personnel that needs changing.
- But what if tactics don’t matter, after all it’s nit the performance but the results that matter, right? Well Saturday’s game is what happens if you’re not playing well and fail to address your problems because you’re getting the results. Things fall apart, people who have been keeping quiet because they’re happy with the points tally suddenly let go of all that bubbling disappointment they’ve been sitting on. Latics fans are a fickle bunch in general but it’s always harder to win them back once you’ve lost them. Coyle is on the verge of that right now and if things don’t pick up then it’ll be a long hard, whingey time until summer.
- Because he’s not going to get sacked. Not unless things get so bad that Dave has to travel back from Barbados this winter, and I can’t see that happening. I don’t know that Whelan is THAT chairman anymore, plus the market for managers has changed since the summer. Rene Meulensteen is in West London waiting for the axe to fall on Martin Jol and Steve McClaren has gone home to Derby. Roberto do Matteo? Can you see Latics picking the salary he currently gets for sitting on his backside? (http://www.espn.co.uk/football/sport/story/257159.html.Sometimes it’s better to ride the storm and see what’s on the other side, there’s only six months of that contract left.
- And everything will be alright by then, won’t it? A couple of loans this week, followed by a spending spree in January and we’ll be the Borussia of the Championship. Piece of cake init? Well, ok, if you ignore a couple of things. Firstly there’s that 12 month contract, If DW has the slightest doubt in his mind that Owen’s the man to lead us through next season (whatever the division) then he’s not going to chuck him £10m with no guarantees that it would be enough. Secondly, bargains are rare in the January window, that £10m could well be enough to grab you a decent striker (and pay his wages), but throwing all your eggs in one bread tin? That’s not a clever idea when your season is as precariously balanced as ours is right now.
- If he wants more to spend, then Coyle might have to move some players on. Looking around the squad, it’s not hard to see who that might be. Injuries permitting Maloney and Ramis are probably top of the list, followed closely by Beausejour, McArthur and Espinoza. Failing that then the potential of Macmanaman and Nichols is plain to see. It’s hard to object to a manager wheeling and dealing with your fringe players, but when they should be key first teamers deliberately marginalised for a reason no-one is quite sure of, it’s another matter all together.
- Obviously I can’t go without mentioning that miss, and what a miss, eh? Proof, if you needed that Holt’s not worth the free hamburgers they reckon he’s getting down the training ground. Well, probably not if you think about it. It was a bad one alright, but it seems like the first real chance he’s had in ages. Look at it again and you can see that he snatches at it, failing, as a result, to get the curve he’s looking for. He probably scores that 9 times in ten. Ten in ten if he’s in form and confident, which he’s plainly not. We’ve said repeatedly elsewhere on the site, if we can find a way to get the best out of Holt, we’ll find ourselves doing better on the pitch and probably feeling better about ourselves off it. You can blame the number nine for his own woes if you like, I’d like to think the manager could be doing something about it.
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