Point fair at the DW, and a good one given the circumstances

Today's 1-1 draw at Roberto Martinez's Wigan seems to have split opinion amongst supporters. Some have argued that trips to such places should result in three points if we hope to make a big improvement on last season. Others, and i tend to agree, see it as a good result given the sending off of Pablo Zabaleta, the patched-up side, and the generally below-par performance.

Wigan do have an awful home record against the top four, surprise recent victory over Chelsea their first in 35 attempts since winning promotion. The mention of this stat by our fans, and i've heard several mention it over the last day or two, strikes me as pretty irrelevant. Some seem to be forgetting the fact that we're not a top four club yet, and given our away record in recent times, not losing games away from home is relatively impressive in itself.

Bearing in mind that we've never won at the DW Stadium, and that we lost there last season, a draw, in my opinion, is an improvement, and although Wigan might be, with all due respect, a 'lesser' side, it is after all a local derby. Last year we bottled so many away games that once a goal down you could rarely see us getting grinding out any sort of result, Hull and Blackburn the only two points we won from losing positions. Earning draws in tricky ties away from home shows we at least some maturity in that respect.

To give the opponents some credit, they played quite well for large parts of the game. Perhaps unlucky to go in 0-1 down at the break, though we should have certainly done better for the goal, they created few out-and-out chances, though N'Zogbia, Diame & Rodallega all impressed to some degree. Until the second yellow card awarded to Pablo Zabaleta, however, i thought we were looking much the brighter side in the second half.

Wiley has received criticism in some quarters, and the first booking awarded was probably harsh. Once in the notebook, though, the player has a responsibility to not make any rash challenges that might tempt the official to order him to leave the pitch. Zab's tackle was cynical if not completely pointless, and without him on the pitch we never looked remotely like going on to take all three points.

The aim for us has to be to win our home fixtures and to pick something up whenever we travel. Winning our game in hand would take us above or further ahead of our main rivals (in my opinion Spurs, Everton, Villa, possibly Liverpool). Given that several of those who played yesterday were nursing knocks, not to make excuses, but Zabaleta, Bridge, Lescott, de Jong & Petrov have all been carrying injuries, and several squad players are also still missing, we did okay in the circumstances, and should see it as a point gained rather than two lost.

No comments:

Post a Comment