While the insanity and arguments continue over the transfer window and the targets we are linked with along with its imminent closure, there is far more pressing matters to be had. Matters that concern three points from a convincing home performance which then kick-starts momentum after two disappointing results. Wigan, at the Lane, under the floodlights, in the freezing cold. Thirteen points clear off 5th spot by this late evening if all goes according to plan. The plan being simply this: turn up, turn it on.
Wigan are woeful, generally, more so on their travels. I have no desire to entertain a 'plucky park of the bus' away performance, frustrating the home side. We expected (hoped) that the Wolves game would be one of much glory and panache and instead got shocked with the single point shared at the final whistle. We then almost won, could have drawn but managed to lose the game at the Eastlands. Irony time: Wigan one of only two teams to have won at WHL in the past two seasons. Ooh.
A draw and a loss - this is the new age crisis at the Lane. We need redemption, we need to be professional and ruthless. This is the type of football match where I would instruct the players to kill off the opposition in the opening 30 minutes and then contain them with comfort and counter to build on the lead admirable into the second half.
Lessons learnt; we still need the players to look back and remember what Wolves achieved against us. We need to appreciate and respect this league is not always black and white and the shades of grey can leave many confused and irritable. We have to work hard and retain focus. In doing so we might then take it by the scruff of the neck and dominate, and thus not allow Wigan to get any sort of anchor in the game. When all said and done...
Tonk 'em, Tottenham.
No offence to the visitors but the forty or so fans who make the journey down won't complain too much if they watch another dvdesque destruction. Well, they would, but at least they can claim to have witnessed it.
Defoe and Lennon are doubtful. No Aaron probably a touch more influentially on how we line-up, but at least with Bale we'll have some width if he's instructed to retain some level of consistency down the flank and not spend too much time through the middle. At home, against such opposition, it's good to stretch them a little. Which I'm sure we'll do (because if we don't then there's something very wrong). Keep it structured, simple. No need for anything too fancy. Plenty of necessity however for tempo and movement. This isn't so much a tricky game in that I believe Wigan can beat us. I am however cautious that any game can have the potential to upset, and in this game we can beat ourselves which might allow the opposition to beat us.
I might wish for it to be over in 30 minutes, but if we have to be patient then the onus will be on us to display some level of intelligence to carve them open and create match-winning opportunities (I prefer not to dwell too much on players dwelling too much in front of goal. The less said about offsides the better).
I know the trend is for the opposing team to defend deep, all men behind the ball and play with physicality. I'm also aware of the question marks being raised that we don't always have the (aforementioned) intelligence to break well-drilled sides down. Our home record would suggest otherwise. We can and have done so in the past. On occasions, we fail but that sometimes has a lot to do with the way the opposing side played (credit is never given as we prefer to blame within and it's worth remembering similar games where we have lucked out and scored a winner when it looked unlikely). Wigan try to play football but it would be naive of them to attempt to do so this evening. Even so, I don't think they're quite as savvy as Wolves if they attempt the opposite. I reckon they'll end up parking the bus but leave the keys in the ignition.
We owe them after the 1-0 of last season, the most ironic of results that followed the 9-1 from the season before. They owed us but it's now our turn for revenge. It's football, we take turns, it's how the Gods like it. Won't have to worry about next season as they'll probably get relegated in this one.
Adebayor needs to score a couple as well. No pressure then Spurs. Christ, I can feel it, this is going to end up being an untidy game that we just about manage to score the winner late on *shudder*...
Three points please. Possibly more important than any signing we make in this window.
Daring is achieving. Love the shirt.