Monday, December 03, 2007

Wigan 1 City 1

A good point from a tricky fixture or a cause for concern that another away trip yielded less than a full return?

The media have focused mainly on the latter in the aftermath of Saturday's point at the JJB, but I suspect the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Saturday's game was always likely to be a difficult one, given the circumstances of facing a side who were playing their first game under a new manager - and on a ground where we have far from covered ourselves in glory previously.

Still, having been gifted (and it was a wonderful Bramble-esque gift) an opener before too many would have even taken their seats it must rank as disappointing to not take all three points against a side who had lost their previous eight games in the league.

Our away form (or points return) is an obvious concern though as since the opening day victory at West Ham we have of course failed to win and a quick glance at the top half of the Premier League shows that we have the worst return in terms of points of any of the sides.

If you are being kind though, you could probably credit us for a degree of resilience for taking a point given it was a performance that wasn't considered one of our best this season. The Radio Manchester commentary highlighted the lack of structure and shape to the side on Saturday - areas that have been notably impressive this season. It was also evident that one or two key players - particularly in the absence of Elano, did not fill the void left by his injury.

Whilst I would hand a great amount of credit this season to Sven, the Bianchi sideshow is beginning to grate and perplex virtually every follower of City. If he is indeed struggling to settle, or cope with the Premier League then surely the softly, softly approach (as he has been fond of with Stephen Ireland - with good results) would be a far better one than ostracising him completely and persisting with the duo of Mpenza and Samaras. Added to this - and as good as his potential may be, it was also puzzling to see Kelvin Etuhu introduced ahead of him as well.

One thing did hit home this weekend and was just how consistent we are going to need to be to even achieve UEFA Cup qualification this season. The weekends results saw us slip out of the top four and the levels of consistency shown by the 'big four' are I think beyond us this season. Not only that but I believe our own improvements upon last season have been replicated elsewhere and it is a far tougher and more competitive league in general this season - as evidenced by a comparison at the stage last season.

Currently we sit in fifth position, and a look below us reveals that for our very impressive start (30 points from 15 games) the likes of Aston Villa, Portsmouth, Blackburn and Everton are not too far behind and means we are going to be in a huge fight even for a top six position.

The next five games between now and the end of the year are Tottenham, Bolton, Aston Villa, Blackburn and Liverpool are far from easy - and perhaps Sven's reticence to commit to end of season prediction until then is perhaps a clever one.


Everybody felt sorry for Titus Bramble, culprit and victim as City were handed the quickest Premiership goal of the season in 28 seconds. - Telegraph.

The last time Steve Bruce was at Wigan Athletic he lasted only 55 days, and yesterday another quick exit must have had its attractions. - Independent.

Gary Megson went back to basics in an attempt to move Bolton Wanderers away from the bottom of the table and Steve Bruce, it seems, is prepared to do the same at Wigan Athletic, even if it is not to everyone’s liking. - Times.

Having conceded a goal before their new manager had even had the chance to settle down in his new surroundings - and then seen their captain sent off at the end - you might think Wigan would simply be relieved to have finally ended a sequence of eight consecutive defeats. - Observer.

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