It ‘s been a puzzling few days football wise. So apologies if my usually coherent (stop sniggering) thoughts are on the muddled side. Not least because I stopped watching the game when the sixth Spurs goal went it and when I heard that there ‘d been three more had decided that it must have finished 6-4. I wonder why people were sniggering at me on Monday. Or so I keep telling myself as part of the ongoing denial.
Sometimes you reach points when there’s not enough words to describe your predicament, other times there are way too many. From about 55 minutes into this game there was just one word rattling around my head. Ipswich. This was car crash football, up there with anything the Prices and Katonas of the world could throw at us, proper Z-list stuff and basically you were stuck with the choice of covering your eyes and hoping to get to the end with sanity intact or… or… like I said, some times there aren ‘t enough words.
The 1994/95 season was a horrendous one for the Tractor Boys (for those of you clinging to the Chelsea result for cold comfort, Ipswich beat United that season as well as losing 9-0 to them). The general perception being that they’d paid the price of over reaching themselves, of aiming too high. The cost of European qualification the year before was relegation, and a ‘let that be a lesson to all you pesky little clubs from little towns, with ideas above your stations’.
And now it’s our turn. With a dismissive wave of the hand to our ‘footballing side’ aspirations Spurs came at us like men possessed and shredded the weak and inexperienced under belly that Wolves had exposed back in August. If our goals conceded weren’t already warning enough that some action was required then this double your goal difference defeat is surely the point at which someone has to say ‘no more’. But no more to what?
That’s my problem right there. There’s so much right about what Bobby is trying to achieve and you can’t point your finger at one individual or particular unit and say they are the weak point. On any given day any part of the team is capable of top notch stuff. The question is whether they can string it together into any sort of team performance or game to game consistency.
Even that isn ‘t so much of a problem. We might not be getting our results in the right order, but we’re not at panic stations points wise (yet). The big worry is what happens in games like this one (Pompey, United, Arsenal, Blackpool) where the side takes a hit and just falls to pieces. I ‘d say capitulates but that’s an understatement.
At the moment Latics are like a rich tea biscuit, the smallest slip can lead to a complete disintegration and a distasteful sludge at the bottom of your cup (not that I approve of spoiling a good cup of tea by dunking, it ‘s a bloody disgraceful habit). It seems that the trigger point is going two goals behind, from there on in, the score could finish up anywhere.
As much as I support the ‘continental ‘ approach that Bobby is trying to instill, his side are still missing a little bit of that good old, English, “Stand up and be counted”. It ‘s something that usually only comes with experience and is definitely a peril of coming into the season without Cattermole and without Brown. Diame and Thomas may be more technically gifted, but they ‘re still learning the ropes.
My biggest fear is that the team could react to the season as a whole in the same way that they have going two behind. In all likelihood we ‘re going to spend some time in the bottom 3 this season (maybe sometime quite soon) and we will want to see the right reaction to that. However the team has already shown a tendency to let their heads drop which is bad enough over half a game, it would be catastrophic over 10 or 12 of them.
But that ‘s just stating the bleeding obvious isn ‘t it? In reality, we all know that losing 9-1 one week means nothing in the rollercoaster ride of this season. We could get another battering this weekend or we could give Sunderland a good going over. I don ‘t know which the real Wigan Athletic is yet, I guess we ‘ll find out as soon as the players decide themselves.
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