It would be nice if, just once, Latics’ players did something to help themselves. For some reason I expected more of them today, a bit of reaction against the Spurs injustice driving them on maybe, or possibly just a hour and a half away from the gripes, moans and boos to let them concentrate on their game would do the trick, but no, what we got was around about the poorest half of football we’ve been treated to this season.
Neither side was great during the first 45 to be fair, but Latics’ efforts can only really be described as painful and, come half time, Bobby must have been wishing he could have made about eight changes. As it was he made two which was enough to change the pattern of the game but not the result, which was ultimately decided by something Tom Daley would be proud of. I don’t mean a 40 yard put after a night on the ale, that’s John Daley.
Yes, it’s whiney, yes, it’s blinkered but that’s what I’m here for and, anyway, for the second week running, the press are in pretty universal disbelief at the decision the only things that seem to vary is whether there was slight or no contact and whether Melchiot got the ball. Of course Mario should have known better than to do what he did but when he didn’t do what he was penalised for then it’s hardly an argument is it?
That was first half injury time and despite Latics not being capable of playing worse they should have got to the break all square. It wouldn’t have changed the team talk but the job at hand would have been completely different, not that you’d have been full of faith in Latics’ ability to make the most of that. They managed to up their game in the second half but without looking anything like a real threat.
What they did look like is a side with no confidence, no faith in their selves and with a stupid orange kit on. And yet the difference from the first half was a real step forward. Or maybe the best phrase is a real push forwards. I’m sure harsh words were spoken at half time and Bobby’s brave step of taking of two senior payers will have made a few of their colleagues pause for thought
My thoughts on Scharner are well documented, but this was, perhaps the worst I’ve seen him. He didn’t look interested, didn’t look like he was bothered about anything. When he did try, he failed and for a man who is surely only in the side for his strength and leadership he was dragging the side down. It may be wishful thinking, but it could be the last we see of him, if others can take their chance.
N’Zogbia’s departure was slightly more puzzling, he’s been our only threat during this wretched run of form and replacing him with Moses represented a real gamble. A gamble that I don’t know whether we’ll know paid off until at least next week. As for the why, who knows? Charles had shown his backside a little bit in the first half, and taken a yellow for it. Maybe it was that, maybe a knock, maybe a bit of half time petulance.
Either way, it sent a very clear message to other players, it doesn’t matter who you are, how important you think you are, you’re not indispensable unless you’re prepared to put your shift in. It might prove too late to make that point, but there is still time for it to have an effect. There is, isn’t there?
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