Wigan Athletic 1 - West Bromwich Albion 1
That was a tired, leggy performance and result that, in isolation, would be a decent point but the grumblings of discontent are getting louder.
As a declared Bruce skeptic, I do feel a bit for him. A thin squad with no real available strikers, a relentless schedule that allows little time for training ground work, few options to change things off the bench. And yet it’s reasonable to question the goals against, the lack of wins, the predictability.
On balance I’m still going to give him the benefit of doubt and these last couple of days to try and get bodies in that improve us. A fit Dike or another striker probably converts a couple of these draws to wins and things suddenly look a lot better. He’s probably got another 6 games post window closing to get points on the board but he needs a surge and fast.
Interesting to see Furlong dropped and O’Shea tried at right back - I think the plan was a clean sheet at all costs... also Zohore on the bench having not played in yonks even for the under 21s was strange. Robbo not there and seemingly on the move to free up funds for Lai’s business interests.
The clean sheet plan went out of the window on 5 mins when Ajayi allowed a long punt to bounce and then was muscled out and we conceded another cheap goal, with Bartley watching by. That the mistakes have been made by so many points to widespread sloppiness. Not good.
The game after that was scrappy as hell. Wigan played like 90s Millwall. 11 horrible battlers, runners, in yer face, aggressive, doubling up on wingers and always with 11 behind the ball.
We couldn’t get Wallace or Diangana in it and, after Semi pulled up and was replaced by Furlong I’d go as far to say that Molumby was our only outfield player who did any good or looked like he was enjoying it.
A rare attempt to overplay gifted Grant with a half chance and, to his credit, he took it really well with a run and low finish - the defender retreating to allow him to do so.
There was to be no stirring catalyst though. It was crap from there onwards from both teams.
We had lots of the ball in our own half... they hoofed it but created a bit more because they actually had forwards.
Livermore came on for a very below par Yokuslu and, with about 15 to go We went sort-of 4-4-2 with Swift dropping alongside Livermore, Phillips up top with Grady just off him and Grant on the left.
The only observations of note after this were Grant giving the ball away cheaply in horrendous positions nearly costing us and Matt Phillips getting booked for winning the first 50/50 of his career… a bizarre decision that looked even worse after replays and especially given some of the rough treatment dished out by Wigwall.
Friday night will be a lot tougher… there better be reinforcements.
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