No case for the defence

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You’ll have to excuse me if my spelling and punctuation isn’t up to scratch at the minute. It’s because I still have my hands over my eyes as I can’t bear to look at our defence.

I suppose we should give them a little bit of a pat on the back for keeping the defeats to three goals or less this season but it seems that so many of our goals this year have come as a result of easily avoidable errors and it’s highly frustrating.

I’d like to go on record in print to say that at certain points so far this season I have stated the opinion that I wouldn’t be too bothered if I never saw any of the following again in our back four again: Lopez, Gohouri, Figueroa and yes, go on then – Gary Caldwell. The trouble is that if I got my wish we’d just be left with Boycey and a one legged Paraguayan holding the fort.

Steve Gohouri reminds me of Scott Green, loves charging forward and pumping his fists and the crowd love him but defensively, well. Maynor Figueroa is a decent footballer but he is so out of position at times he appears to be searching for his right winger under the West Stand concourse. Adrian Lopez is another who looks like a footballer but will typically make one big blunder per game. And Gary, well he is, on the face of it, exactly the backbone we need but he gets caught the wrong side of his attacker way too often and we seem to get punished every time lately. Oh and the others are far from perfect while I’m taking aim. I tend to think that we are missing Antolin Alcaraz terribly though.

If everyone was fit, I’d like to see Alcaraz and Caldwell in the middle with van Aanholt and Boyce on the flanks; or maybe Alcaraz and Boyce in the middle with Stam at right back. Some harsh choices there I daresay and the thought of an attacking full back pairing in Stam and Paddy who are also a tad ropey at actually defending also scares me but it’s clear changes need to happen and this would be where I would start.

Let’s be honest as well and admit that whoever plays there it is Roberto Martinez’s job to get them drilled and organised and recent weeks have resembled an episode of Keystone Cops and he needs to fix this rather than blaming the players, whether that be the defensive set up or the team as a whole. Either way, we can’t afford to give away goals so cheaply unless they’re flying in at the other end.

First printed in the Wigan Evening Post’s 12th Man column Wednesday 5th October 2011

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