Part 2 of the mid season review looks at the playing squad with a brief review of their performance so far and a rating out of ten. At the end is my team of the half season. Feel free to join the forum to disagree.
Wigan are fortunate to be blessed with three good keepers although how long whoever is deemed third choice will hang around is up for debate.
Scott Carson……. has to be assumed to be first choice although currently injured and with Ali performing well he may find it difficult to get his starting place back. When fit he has performed well this season and was the recipient of several man of the matches scores here on TNS. A good shot stopper his only weakness seems to be an indecision whether to punch or catch, something that bedevils quite a few keepers in the modern game.
Ali Al Habsi…….. a welcome return from injury and the big Omani is performing as well as ever, he is even kicking better! Some good saves in his time between the posts since his return and three clean sheets on the bounce will make if difficult for him to be displaced.
Lee Nicholls………currently third choice for the ex England u 19 keeper. Lee was thrown into the first team and with the exception of the Waregam game performed well. How long he will be prepared to be third choice at a championship club is up for debate and with his hometown club Liverpool allegedly interested in signing him, Wigan may be prepared to cash in on one of their most saleable assets.
Latics main strength this season has been in defence with a preponderance of centre back and any number of players prepared to play at full back or wing back. The goals against column took a hit recently, mainly in my opinion when Shotton was dropped from his excellent partnership with Barnett but the return to form of Ramis has been a bonus.
Emerson Boyce……as always the acting captain has led by example, getting a little but slower going forwards but can still do a job at centre half if not right wing back
Leon Barnett……. Player of the half season for me, can score goals with his right foot or his head, defends superbly and distributes the ball well to others.
Ryan Shotton……..loan player now returned to Stoke, formed an excellent partnership with Barnett and grew in stature with every game. Surprisingly dropped after a superb performance away at Yeovil.
James Perch…….a utility back ( and midfielder when the occasion arose) , James has fitted in and performed competently wherever he has been asked to.
Thomas Rogne……on occasion looks the natural successor to Aryan DeZeeuw but like at Celtic all too often out with an injury.
Ivan Ramis…….a welcome return after a long injury and until yesterday’s injury he was slowly getting back to his best.
Stephen Crainey…….competent in defence but has a tendency to push forwards and get caught out of position. A stop gap signing
Like the curates egg, good in parts, some games they have performed well, others not so well. Unlike the defence there hasn’t seemed to be a settled midfield all season and this revolving door I believe has been to the detriments of the performances.
Chris McCann……. has taken his time to settle and to cement a place in the starting line up ( see revolving door quote) but is improving with every game both in defence and attack.
Ben Watson……there are two Ben Watsons I reckon, one that is good , bosses the game with tenacious tackling and silky passes and the other which cant pass for toffee and has a stinker. Trouble is you never know which one you are going to get.
James McClean…….good on the left, like a fish on a bicycle on the right, has the skill and the pace but sometimes lacks the vision. Hasn’t cemented a starting place just yet
Jordi Gomez…..ah the enigma that is Jordi, probably the most skilful player at the club, Jordi suffers from the Wigan fans wish to have a midfielder who chases every ball like a dog after a Frisbee and Jordi with his silky skills isn’t that player and his jogging around gives the impressing that he can’t be bothered which goads a percentage of the home fans which is unfair.
James McArthur…….. an all action committed midfielder who also has a surprising amount of skill and vision. Would be my first choice midfielder every time
Roger Espinoza…..a fan favourite for exactly the reasons that Gomez isn’t, chases very ball makes some wincing tackles. Doesn’t seem to be a favourite with the managers, maybe they don’t like long hair.
Nick Powell…….an attacking midfielder who due to the ineffectiveness of the strikers has all too often player in attack and hasn’t let the team down. His performances suffer when moved out wide though. Hopefully he will stay for the season although rumours persist United want to send him on loan to a P.L. club.
Jean Beausejour…… the guy has everything, skill guile, talent, everything that is except bottle and all too often backs out of 50/50 balls. Oh and he cant tackle …see number of penalties conceded.
Callum McManaman….. endured a torrid time under Coyle, was used as a rotation player and then when he did play watched the ball sail over his head. Looks a lot happier under Rosler although still struggling to cement a place in the starting line up.
The area of most concern, strikers cost money and for one reason or another we don’t seem to have any. Coyle signed two strikers over the age of 30 and both of these have failed to deliver. Now the January window is open a striker who is under 30 and has pace and is hungry ( for a goal not a pie) is essential.
Grant Holt….. Came with a big reputation but has palpably failed to deliver with only two goals, one a penalty. Suffered the indignity of been left behind from Maribor to work on his fitness which as a professional footballer who only has to train and play is somewhat embarrassing. Hopefully he will get fit and start to repay his transfer fee with some much needed goals.
Marc Antoine Fortune……….one goal, a tap in at Yeovil I could have scored is poor return for an ex P.L. striker. His recent performance don’t give the impression of him scoring any time soon.
Boyce (c), Shotton, Barnett, Perch
McArthur, McCann, Watson, Gomez, Beausejour
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