Wigan Athletic 1 (James 6)
Leeds United 2 (Hernandez 9, Roofe 46)
This was another game that I felt we had to win if we were to continue to be regarded as serious promotion candidates; a bit like the recent home game with Ipswich. Wigan were undefeated at home in the Championship this season despite a few decent teams having tried. Amongst the 7 unsuccessful sides that Wigan had hosted before we arrived were the likes of Forest, Swansea and West Brom so we knew it wasn’t an easy game but it just felt like we had to win it to keep the faithful confident and the sceptical hopeful.
So the win this afternoon will keep most folk calm and will support our belief that the future remains bright. OK, let’s be honest, we still didn’t recapture the brilliance that we saw in those early season games against Stoke and Derby or Norwich, but it was another game in which we dominated the possession of the ball, gave away very few chances, and one in which we looked efficient if not scintillating.
Whenever we play without Samu Saiz I think we will tend to look more efficient than scintillating but maybe Marcelo Bielsa is coming to terms with the idea that maybe, just maybe efficiency is more reliable than scintillation. Watching Forshaw and Klich in midfield is very much like watching a BMW or an Audi go about its work, German efficiency at its silky smooth best, whereas watching Saiz and Klich together is perhaps more akin to watching an Escort RS Cosworth back in the 70’s; The ride is way more exciting but it’s no more likely to reach the desired destination than the Audi, particularly if there’s a bump in the road! I’m unsure how Bielsa is going to rationalise his next move with respect to Forshaw and Saiz if both remain fit. Having effectively rested Saiz and seen no discernible reduction in our capabilities what will be his rationale for the reverse change? Maybe the regular injuries we seem to be picking up this season will mean he can avoid the decision altogether, but if not, it is fascinating to see how this evolves.
For now, it's another three points and another result that we’d expect a promotion side to achieve and we now move on to a very out of form West Brom who look like a side we are meeting at just the right moment. The dream is very much alive folks!
Wigan Ath Leeds Utd
Possession 33% 67%
Shots 6 12
On Target 1 4
Corners 4 6
Fouls 12 15