Talking football - Latics are halfway to paradise
Glass half full or glass half empty?
There’s two ways to look back on Wigan Athletic’s agonising 4-3 defeat at Nottingham Forest.
Obviously, to concede four – in Gary Caldwell’s words – ‘ridiculous’ goals is unacceptable at this or any level.
But those seeking a positive need look no further than the three goals Latics plundered at the other end for hope.
Three times Latics pressed the self-destruct button at the back, yet three times they hauled themselves off the canvas to level.
If I was a betting man, with 90 minutes up, I’d have said a seventh and decisive goal was more likely to go into the Forest net rather than Wigan’s, such was the visitors’ increasing threat on the counter.
Of course, I’d have lost my money if I had lumped on.
But the point remains.
While neither scenario is ideal, would you rather be following a team unable to buy a goal, or a team leaking them at the other end?
I’d suggest the latter, because it’s far easier to put right on the training ground.
Which, speaking to Caldwell and several players this week, is exactly what’s been going on over at Euxton.
Despite being newcomers to the division, Latics have hit their straps in attack.
Only Burton (nine) have scored more than their tally of eight goals from four matches.
Will Grigg has emphatically answered questions about whether he can score goals at this level, with three in four games – and four in five in all competitions.
The attacking options – including Yanic Wildschut, Michael Jacobs, Nick Powell and now Jordi Gomez – is mouth-watering at this level.
Caldwell insisted only last week his midfield was up there with the best in the Championship.
If Latics can just tighten up at the back – and they will be boosted this weekend by the return from suspension of Jake Buxton – they’ll surely start to record a points tally more in keeping with the quality in the squad.
It was great to see Shaun Maloney on target for Hull at the weekend in their surprise victory at Swansea.
Having been tipped by EVERYONE for immediate relegation back to the Championship, the Tigers are already six points nearer to their 40-point target with 36 matches to go.
Maloney had also scored on his previous Premier League away game – that brilliant free-kick at Arsenal in May 2013 that was, sadly, not enough to steer Latics away from the drop.
Speaking of Latics old boys, how about Adam Forshaw’s sublime reverse pass that unlocked the Sunderland defence to lay on Middlesbrough’s killer second goal on Sunday?
Quite how he, and Maloney, could not get a regular start in a struggling Latics side two years ago – leading to both leaving in the January transfer window – is anyone’s guess.
Just weeks after leaving Latics, Emyr Huws has regained his spot in the Wales squad.
Whether it’s being closer to the selectors in Cardiff or sparkling early-season form that’s seen him replace the injured Aaron Ramsey, we can but speculate.
But somewhere in there lies a player of undoubted class, who I’m sure will prove to be international class over the next few years.
It’s just a shame we saw it so infrequently in a Latics shirt.
Social media throws up all manner of brilliant facts and stats, but I haven’t seen one better than this for a while.
When Arsenal last won the league, Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford was six years old.
When Liverpool last won it, his Dad was only 10!