The week didn’t begin as many would have hoped but it’s certainly got better as it’s gone on.
We’ve a pretty poor record following international breaks, one of the few benefits of being in League One was the lack of international breaks, being able to build a run of form without having it interrupted with your players jetting off around the world is certainly useful. But despite the interruption of an international break it isn’t an excuse we can use – after all it’s the same for all the sides in the Championship.
Saturday was an excellent day in West London, bar the actual football. Brentford fans are always hospitable and Griffin Park is certainly one of the more welcoming grounds in the country. Sadly Brentford weren’t as hospitable towards Latics on the pitch. We were given a footballing lesson – plain and simple on Saturday and it’s a wonder we escaped with only a two goal deficit.
Brentford remind me very much of the Bournemouth side that got promoted in 2014/15, we faced Bournemouth at a similar time of the season and they comprehensively beat us as well. The sending off of Sam Morsy could well have been the turning point in that match, although Brentford looked on a different level to ourselves we were amazingly still in the game and actually getting back in to it just before the sending off.
I immediately thought the referee had made the right decision and it was a clear sending off but obviously with the benefit of TV replays Sammy was hard-done too with that straight red. Rightly it was rescinded and it was written in the stars that Sammy would have a big part to play in Tuesday’s game, to prove his critics wrong.
It was important for us to bounce back against Hull on Tuesday, obviously we want as many points on the board as early as possible this season but equally in a week where you have three games in such a short space of time it allows Paul Cook’s side to lay down a marker towards the rest of the league. The lads did that and more on Tuesday, although the scoreline didn’t suggest it and it was a little bit nervy towards the end Latics showed that they’re certainly not here to make up the numbers.
Another home win (three now for the season) and goals for the aforementioned Sammy Morsy and Josh Windass was the perfect response to the disappointment of Saturday. Nick Powell may not have got on the scoresheet on Tuesday night but he once again showed his utter class, he dominated the match completely and was by far man of the match. He’s so important to Paul Cook’s side and if the takeover deal is to be completed soon it’s good to see that a new contract for Powell is top of Paul Cook’s to-do list.
Neither Grigg or Powell got themselves on the scoresheet on Tuesday but they offer so much to the side, along with the returning Micheal Jacobs the attacking link up play was in stark contrast to what we saw at Griffin Park on Saturday. So it’s on to the last game of a busy week and a Bristol City side who seem to score as many as they concede.
Who knows what to expect from Friday’s match but Latics should be full of confidence again, expect to see more changes on Friday night as Paul Cook rotates his side again for that final match in six days. Callum McManaman pulled out of Tuesday’s squad with an injury and it’s probably too close for him to be considered for selection on Friday – which is a shame as I thought he’d be a shoo in to fill in for Gavin Massey.
It’s been an excellent start to the season, especially at home. Let’s hope that can continue on Friday night under the lights.
First published in the Wigan Post, Friday 21st September 2018
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