Friday, August 19, 2005

Bitter Sweet Symphony

I don't know too much about their football team, so when I think about Wigan I tend to think first about The Verve who were one of my favourite bands before they split prematurely. I'd like to think I was into them well before they were on Capital Radio as much as XFM (always a sign that it's time to move on). I would then think about George Orwell (who wrote "The Road to Wigan Pier") and George Formby, and I suspect that other than both being called 'George' they probably wouldn't have too much else in common.

However it is now their football team which has propelled the town into the spotlight, and whilst they have had huge financial backing from David Whelan, the truth is that Paul Jewell has done an amazing job and even stirred a little more interest for football in a town best known for rugby league.

I'm reluctant (as difficult as it is) to read too much into our promising 3-1 win at Sunderland, and equally I don't think too much should be read into Wigan's battling but ultimately fruitless display against Chelsea. Chelsea were on a hiding to nothing with all neutrals and the media willing the Latics to put one over them, and they were also bedding in more new signings in an unfamiliar environment. The bottom line is that Wigan didn't score and they lost the game, so let's not get carried away.

Our home form wasn't bad last season though it disintegrated with the rest of our season from the Spurs game onwards. We had a mixed time against the three promoted clubs at home last season - we played and thrashed Norwich 4-0 early on, but then got outplayed by WBA before we limped to a 2-2 draw versus Palace by which time all we had left to care about was putting them down.

If we are to push on this season and genuinely challenge for a European place, then it has to be based upon solid home form (maybe 10 or 11 wins), and Saturday offers a perfect opportunity to begin the right way. Curbs is forced to make at least one change, and it would seem logical to put Thomas in for Ambrose in a straight-swap, and thus line up with the two out-and-out wingers that I think we should always have at home. I still don't rate Kishishev and would probably still opt for Holland longer-term, but the Irishman may be injured. Curbs clearly also has Hughes figuring in his plans, and he may be a surprise inclusion.

Betfair is showing odds of approx 10/11 Charlton, 4/1 Wigan and 5/2 Draw. If the traditional bookmakers are offering reasonable odds also, then I'd be inclined to include Charlton in a treble with Wolves and Blackburn. Smertin is available at 25/1 at William Hill to score the first goal which seems good value given his thundering shot against the bar at Sunderland. As for a correct score, 2-1 looks decent value at 10/1 on Betfair.


Post a Comment

<< Home