Wigan Athletic 1 - West Bromwich Albion 0

Date: Saturday 20th October 2018 
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
Johnstone 6.3, Dawson 5.2 (Adarabioyo, 49 5.0), Hegazi 4.9, Bartley 4.3, Mears 2.9 (Edwards, 78 5.4), Livermore 3.2, Brunt 3.6, Gibbs 5.4, Barnes 5.8, Gayle 5.7 (Robson-Kanu, 76 3.3), Rodriguez 5.1
Unused subs: Myhill, Townsend, Hoolahan, Field
Manager: Darren Moore 3.4
Referee: Jeremy Simpson 4.0
Attendance: 12,739   Home Fans 4.2   Away Fans 6.7
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 9


At the start of the season most of us would have jumped at 24 points and third spot after 13 games. Much has been made in the media about our goalscoring prowess and the depth and quality of our squad etc etc., but us fans are a fickle bunch and always looking for something to niggle at, so here goes.

None of us would want to return to the dour defensive approach under the pariah Pulis (let's not even bring up that other manager starting with 'P', whose disastrous tenure has been written out of Albion history in Orwellian fashion), but how have we seemingly lost our ability to defend in such a short time? It's true that GMac, Evans and Yacob have gone, but Dawson and Hegazi were our top pairing in the middle anyway for the last ten games or so. So, is it just down to tactics? And can the likes of Bartley, Dawson and Hegazi really be taught to spray passes around like Beckenbauer? Or are banging in goals and keeping clean sheets mutually exclusive? It would seem so with this squad.

Second whine: how come we replaced Nyom with MLS reject Mears? OK, he was just signed as a back up, but with Phillips still his on a never-ending recovery from 'exhaustion', having played six games in a month, Mears has assumed the spot. Edwards came in against Reading and did a good job, so why not give him a start? It's hard to criticise DM, who in many respects is a breath of fresh air, but he seems just as reluctant to blood the young prospects as Pulis was. Look what a run in the first team has done for loanee Barnes. Would Leko, Harper or Spurs future superstar, Burke, have matured in similar fashion? We will never find out because at best they get three minutes at the arse end of a game.

Let's hope that Dowling is the new Ashworth and he and DM can build a squad which is a combination of in-house graduates and astute pick ups willing to bust their balls for the club. No more Anelka's, Chadli's and Krychowiak's please. I understand the strategy in picking up loanees like Barnes and Gayle, both masterstrokes, but loanees can't be the basis for building a long term Premier league squad.

Whine over. COYB