Here it comes again

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It’s hard to work out what exactly will give us a good result tonight. Obviously a win, or even a draw, would fall into that category, but after 2 consecutive 4-0 drubbings those two outcomes may be setting our sights too high. As with all these games, against the top few sides, it’s more a matter of getting the performance right than the score line. If Jewell wants to build for the future then there’s a chance to put a foundation down tonight by proving to the watching world, and ourselves, that we are capable of causing Manchester United some problems.

I’ve already made comparisons elsewhere with the two games against Chelsea, games where organisation came first and chances came on the break. Ok, so we lost both of those games as well, but we came out of them with credit. No matter how nice Mr. Ferguson’s words have been this week, it’s been too easy for United to sweep by us so far. In the main that has been because Latics have tried to play them at their own game. I think by now, we know who’s better at it.

To get something out of this game, if only pride, then we need to get back to two solid banks of four, we need to remain balanced throughout the 90 minutes and to keep our concentration at all times, and in some energy and the skill that we know the lads have got and you’re on to something good. It sounds simple written down, but those things were the basis of our start to the season and they served us well until the game at Anfield.

Whatever the reason, we’ve only seen fleeting glimpses of the style that took us to second place since then. Now that the cup final is out of the way, and the mythical 40-point target met, it’s time to push on. No doubt there’ll be more targets in place (another 20 points?) and Jewell will be pushing the lads to meet them. The first target though is to get back onto the horse that threw us. As nice as it would be to see us galloping away tonight it is essential that come 10 o’clock, we’re sat in the saddle and raring to go.

I can’t see there being too many changes from the cup final team. Obviously Filan will be in nets and either a defender or midfielder will miss out to accommodate a more natural choice at left midfield. I’m expecting Henchoz to step out, Scharner taking his place and Bullard returning to the centre. As for left midfield, you’ve a choice of three. Each presents a very different option, Zeigler would give the most balance, Thompson has the experience and McCulloch adds some strength and heading ability to the mix.

To return to the question of the result. I can’t see it being another 4-0 anything less than 3 would be a good result, providing that it’s down to our resilience rather than their wastefulness. We’ve not scored against the top three sides yet, this is our last chance of the term and that statistic is unlikely to change now. Is that any reason to be glum? Well when you’re bogey teams are Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United, you must be doing all right.

It’s hard to work out what exactly will give us a good result tonight. Obviously a win, or even a draw, would fall into that category, but after 2 consecutive 4-0 drubbings those two outcomes may be setting our sights too high. As with all these games, against the top few sides, it’s more a matter of getting the performance right than the score line. If Jewell wants to build for the future then there’s a chance to put a foundation down tonight by proving to the watching world, and ourselves, that we are capable of causing Manchester United some problems.

I’ve already made comparisons elsewhere with the two games against Chelsea, games where organisation came first and chances came on the break. Ok, so we lost both of those games as well, but we came out of them with credit. No matter how nice Mr. Ferguson’s words have been this week, it’s been too easy for United to sweep by us so far. In the main that has been because Latics have tried to play them at their own game. I think by now, we know who’s better at it.

To get something out of this game, if only pride, then we need to get back to two solid banks of four, we need to remain balanced throughout the 90 minutes and to keep our concentration at all times, and in some energy and the skill that we know the lads have got and you’re on to something good. It sounds simple written down, but those things were the basis of our start to the season and they served us well until the game at Anfield.

Whatever the reason, we’ve only seen fleeting glimpses of the style that took us to second place since then. Now that the cup final is out of the way, and the mythical 40-point target met, it’s time to push on. No doubt there’ll be more targets in place (another 20 points?) and Jewell will be pushing the lads to meet them. The first target though is to get back onto the horse that threw us. As nice as it would be to see us galloping away tonight it is essential that come 10 o’clock, we’re sat in the saddle and raring to go.

I can’t see there being too many changes from the cup final team. Obviously Filan will be in nets and either a defender or midfielder will miss out to accommodate a more natural choice at left midfield. I’m expecting Henchoz to step out, Scharner taking his place and Bullard returning to the centre. As for left midfield, you’ve a choice of three. Each presents a very different option, Zeigler would give the most balance, Thompson has the experience and McCulloch adds some strength and heading ability to the mix.

To return to the question of the result. I can’t see it being another 4-0 anything less than 3 would be a good result, providing that it’s down to our resilience rather than their wastefulness. We’ve not scored against the top three sides yet, this is our last chance of the term and that statistic is unlikely to change now. Is that any reason to be glum? Well when you’re bogey teams are Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United, you must be doing all right.

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