Talking Football

Michael Jacobs
Michael Jacobs

A POINT gained or two points lost – that’s the question Wigan Athletic supporters will have been asking after each of the last two matches against Millwall and Oldham.

The way Latics were hanging on at Oldham after the sending-off of Jordan Flores made it feel like a decent draw on the road.

And any time you score a stoppage-time equaliser – like Latics did against Millwall in midweek – has to be taken as a positive.

However, as Gary Caldwell was the first to point out, Latics had dominated both games, and ought to have taken maximum points.

As things stand, Latics lie ninth in the League One table. Had they picked up those extra four points, they’d be joint-fourth – a mere three points off the top.

It’s fine margins of course, but it’s something Latics have to address as quickly as possible.

Man for man they have a squad that is – in terms of quality and depth – the envy of the division.

Clearly after the introduction of a brand new playing squad over the summer, it was always going to take time to gel into shape.

But nine games in – a fifth of the campaign – and boss Caldwell will be wanting to see improvement sooner rather than later to keep in touch with the leaders.

The Scot has bemoaned his side’s lack of a more ‘clinical’ nature to their game.

In fairness, the side has been playing without key players in all areas.

Will Grigg announced his return from a freak elbow problem in style against Oldham, while Francisco Junior’s introduction off the bench helped Latics find an extra gear going forward.

Both have been missed during their lay-off, and their return will help ease the burden on Michael Jacobs, on whose shoulders there has been far too much emphasis to create something.

If others can help share that responsibility, Latics can send out a real statement against second-placed Walsall this weekend.

REGULAR readers of this column will remember the comments of ‘Marmite Man’ Steve Evans last month, when he came under pressure at Rotherham.

“The chairman has given me his support,” he said. “That’s no surprise to Steve Evans.”

It presumably came as a bit of a surprise just a fortnight later – and after back-to-back victories – that Evans left the club after a meeting with Millers’ chairman, Tony Stewart.

Incredibly, Evans proceeded to outdo his previous comments with a quote that paints quite a picture.

“It was a very emotional moment – to watch Steve Evans watch his chairman shed lots of tears.”

Not content with talking about himself in the third person, we’re now talking about an out-of-body experience.

As the Chuckle Brothers might say: “Oh dear. Oh dear.”

“I am the same guy who nearly won us the league, but better,” said Brendan Rodgers after guiding Liverpool to a much-needed victory over Aston Villa last weekend.

Aside the obvious David Brent-ness of the comment, it doesn’t say much for his players – given the side has gone backwards alarmingly in the last 18 months at the same time as Rodgers feels he has improved as a boss.

Of course, critics may point out that, as it was Rodgers who bought those players, he is in some small way responsible for their under-achievement.

Another way of looking at it might be to suggest it was the goals of Luis Suarez that ‘nearly won the league’ and that, following his sale, Rodgers has been found out a tad.

“There has been a frenzy to get me out of here,” claims Rodgers.

One thing’s for sure – after another shambles in midweek against the mighty FC Sion in the Europa League, defeat in Sunday’s Merseyside derby is utterly unthinkable.

THE visit of Millwall in midweek served up another contender for the ‘Superbly-Named Footballers XI’ I’m currently compiling.

Clearly Wigan’s own Max Power is an automatic selection in the midfield. But solid consideration has to be given to Millwall’s Ed Upson – who’s surely heard that instruction many times over the years.

GARY Caldwell was right to condemn Jordan Flores in the aftermath of his unnecessary red card at Oldham last weekend.

But the Latics chief did have some constructive words of advice after mulling over the situation.

“He never hit him, but the intent was there,” Caldwell told the

local media on Monday.

“If you’re going to do it, do it properly!”

LEON Barnett and the rest of the Wigan Athletic side had to withstand a physical battering from Oldham as they held on for a draw last weekend.

But the sight of Barnett then copping a verbal battering from an Oldham groundman for having the temerity to walk across the playing surface – in training shoes – towards the team coach was more priceless than the point!