12th Man: It’s never dull

James McArthur

If there’s one certainty in life it’s that there’s never a dull moment when following Wigan Athletic. A well-earned win over Blackpool was quickly followed by the news that a deal had been agreed for Brentford’s Adam Forshaw though the announcement that a bid from Leicester had been accepted for James McArthur tempered the news somewhat. Add in mysterious links to French strikers and it’s just another week in the company of Wigan Athletic.

The win over Blackpool despite being closer than it should have been was an excellent three points, although Uwe surprised many when he said that the first half was one of the best in his time in charge I can see his thinking behind that comment.

How the Latics weren’t four or five up by half time is something that would astound most observers such was our domination, Callum McManaman who is quickly becoming our talisman could have had a hat-trick on his own. His link up play with Oriol Riera who bagged his first goal in Blue and White was particularly pleasing and backs up what the management had said about building new partnerships. Hopefully the lads can kick on and get another three points against Birmingham on Saturday which would stand us in good stead ahead of the international break.

On the transfer’s front Dave Whelan has again been unfairly portrayed as the pantomime villain with James McArthur on his way to Leicester, a reported £7m transfer fee for a player like James is fantastic business and shows once again the strength of Wigan Athletic’s transfer policy in recent years. Although it’s always disappointing to see good players leave if that money can be reinvested in to the club to help keep us solvent and go towards squad strengthening then it really does become a no brainer.

With the expected arrivals of Adam Forshaw and a new striker along with the return from injury of Chris McCann, Ben Watson and James McClean the squad is starting to have a more balanced look to it. Get another three points on Saturday and we could really hit the ground running come September.

12th Man: Don’t write us off just yet

In these pages last week I wrote about a mixed week for Wigan Athletic and explained that it wasn’t time for panic. Well a week later and we’ve lost another two games but in my mind it still isn’t time to panic. Some of our supporters have taken to social media in recent days to berate everyone at the club from manager to chairman, chief executive to tea lady. It seems everyone is to blame for our less than glittering start to the season.

But it’s August and the transfer window hasn’t even closed yet. Once again it’s been a summer of upheaval at the DW Stadium. Players who would have been guaranteed a start last season such as Jordi Gomez and Jean Beausejour have left. Loan players who played a large part in our drive to the play-offs have left. Add to that a horrendous injury record which curtailed many of the players pre-season and it doesn’t take much scratching below the surface to look at why we’ve made such a sluggish start. The start is reminiscent of those under Roberto Martinez when supporters who saw us perform so admirably at the end of each season would wonder what we had done all summer. You can’t bring in 7 or 8 new players and expect them all to gel at once, football doesn’t work like that and it will take time for partnerships to develop amongst the players.

That isn’t to say that everyone is without blame, questions do have to be asked and it’s important that we get up to speed as soon as possible, as we saw last season playing catch up isn’t easy. This Wigan Athletic side like those before it strive on pressure and the pressure will certainly be on at the DW this weekend.

Latics face a Blackpool side in disarray, a club with a real crisis unlike our supposed crisis which involves losing a few games. Jose Riga has somehow fashioned together a side made up of free transfers and trialists and despite not being able to name a full bench at the start of the season now has a squad to choose from.

Despite Blackpool now having a full quota of players Saturday presents the perfect opportunity to get our season up and running. Players like Don Cowie, Andrew Taylor, James McArthur and Shaun Maloney who have had a stop start pre-season will be getting up to full speed and Saturday is the time to show it.

Our main problem for as long as I can remember is a lack of service to our strikers and as a result a lack of goals from said strikers. We need to hope that Uwe has been working on the side creating chances for the strikers. On Tuesday night we dominated the game at Cardiff but failed to convert that domination in to goals.

Begin to turn the domination in to goals and reach the high levels we set ourselves last season and there’s no need for us to write this season off just yet.

12th Man: Don’t panic

It’s fair to say it’s been a mixed opening week for Uwe Rosler’s side and when I say mixed I’m being kind. The two performances against both Reading and Burton in the League Cup on Tuesday where nothing like what we’ve come to expect from Uwe Rosler’s Wigan Athletic, why was this the case?

Burton Albion celebrate after scoring against Wigan Athletic

It’s difficult to say, for the first 45 minutes on Saturday the lads looked in control and once we went ahead it looked like we would be getting the season off to a winning start. Uwe later explained that he had made a mistake in his starting line-up, it may have been the strongest midfield available on paper but all had missed elements of pre-season. James McArthur, Don Cowie and Emyr Huws had never played together and only Huws arguably had a full pre-season albeit with Manchester City.

When you add to the fact we are still missing Ben Watson, Chris McCann and James McClean whilst Shaun Maloney and Roger Espinoza missed most of pre-season you can see where our issues lie. To get a point after being so comprehensively outplayed in the second half against Reading could be considered lucky or it could be another example of last season’s battling and never say die attitude. It may well have been better for Uwe to play less of his household names and offer game time to Fraser Fyvie, Tim Chow and James Tavernier who had been given a full pre-season and featured in most of the pre-season games.

Burton on Tuesday was another story, a strong side were outplayed by a side two divisions below us and Uwe was right when he said the performance was ‘unacceptable’. It’s always disappointing to lose games and even though losing to Burton with the amount of internationals in the team is embarrassing I suspect Uwe will have been happy to avoid a Tuesday night trip to West London to face QPR again. Despite that there was a strong following in Derbyshire on Tuesday night and many like myself who had booked time off work would have expected better of a Wigan Athletic side.

It’s very early days and a positive result on Saturday would set us up well for the next week or so and put thoughts of that defeat to Burton out of mind.

As  Corporal Jones would say, ‘don’t panic’. Just yet.