Tag Archives: championship

Will Wigan Athletic regret letting this versatile midfielder go?

Wigan Athletic sold Leandro Da Silva Lopez to Hull City in the summer, for a minimal fee. Is it a transfer that Wigan will regret in years to come?

Lopez arrived with a big reputation from Peterborough, who are known for selling on quality, young players to Championship clubs. The Portuguese youngster rarely featured, however when he did play, I was impressed, considering his age and lack of Championship football experience.

I liked his versatility and attitude. He can play across the midfield, at right-back or as a wing-back. Although he’s not the most physical, his pace is a great attribute and he’s exciting on the ball. When playing against Burnley in pre-season, I thought he done very well defending against Dwight McNeil, then he was sold a couple of weeks later.

Whether Lopez requested it, in order to find first-team football I don’t know, but I think we’ve let a decent player slip for a nominal fee.

Obviously it’s too early to say we’ve let a good player go, but from what we’ve seen at Wigan so far this season, I doubt he’d of done any worse. A young player that had a great attitude on the pitch, and deserved a run of games in the first-team, in my opinion.

I would’ve preferred to see Lopez leave on loan for a year, learn his craft and gain experience, then come back next season and try to break into the team. I just don’t understand signing a highly-rated youngster, never giving him a go, then selling him for half the price a year later. Oh well, let’s hope he doesn’t go onto be the next big thing, I’ll come back to this article if so.

Two things Shrewsbury fans can expect from Wigan Athletic’s youngster

Shrewsbury Town fans got their first viewing of Callum Lang last weekend, as they drew 1-1 away at AFC Wimbledon.

Many Wigan Athletic fans wanted and expected this to be the breakthrough season for Lang, he featured a lot during pre-season under Paul Cook and done well.

I’m pleased he went out on loan. He’s got the potential to be a very good striker, but he’s not ready for Championship football just yet. He needs experience and to add physicality to his game, at present Lang would get bullied by some championship defenders due to his slightness.

However, Shrewsbury fans can look forward to a striker that will score goals if given chances. Lang scored 13 on loan at Oldham Athletic last season. He was arguably their best player while hitting double figures the season before at Morecambe. A natural goal scorer that is lethal in the box.

Another great attribute that Lang possesses is pace. Especially around the box, he’s brilliant at finding space and making runs in front of defenders, just a very clever striker that knows how to score goals.

Shrewsbury is a good fit for Lang. A club that will be pushing for top six, hopefully, create him plenty of chances, he can score double figures and come back ready to give it another crack at Wigan.

We have to be careful, how long will he stay happy going out on loan every season. At some point, he’s going to ask for a first-team chance or a move away, it’s not like we’re banging the goals in ourselves at the moment. Lang will be a good striker in a few years, he’s got the natural ability and just knows where the net is, that’ll take you far in today’s game.

Two key games for Wigan Athletic to claim their first away win of the season

Wigan Athletic have won one of their last 25 away games, in the league. An incredible stat that not many managers would survive. I’d like to know how many of them we’ve led 1-0 in, a lot, but we can’t hold water let alone hang onto three points.

On Saturday against Hull City was a huge opportunity missed. The Tigers were winless in five and gifted us an early lead. However, a poor piece of defending and a screamer from Kamil Grosicki saw us go into the break trailing 1-2. Joe Gelhard rescued us a late point with a stunning goal, perhaps saving Paul Cook his job too.

So, a look ahead to our upcoming away games…

I wouldn’t be surprised at Wigan beating anyone in this league, home or away. Everyone beats each other, and yes some teams are better than others, but there’s not a lot of difference in quality from the top to bottom. It’s not like we’re playing Manchester City or Liverpool away from home.

Our next away game is Fulham – write off. In all seriousness, I fancy them to win the league so that’ll be very difficult. Followed by Sheffield Wednesday, another very tough place to go that we’ve got a terrible record at.

Then a trip to Pride Park to face Derby County – tin hat on, that’s winnable. The Rams have started the season poorly, and Phillip Cocu could be under pressure going into that game, if their form doesn’t improve between now and then.

A trip to Ashton Gate in late October will be a stern test for us, another very good footballing side that’ll fancy their chances of beating us. Then Stoke City rooted to the foot of the table and we actually beat them 3-0 at The Bet365 Stadium last season, god they must be bad.

Jamal Lowe’s opening stint at Wigan Athletic could have been better, agreed?

Jamal Lowe signed for Wigan Athletic this summer, a transfer that dragged on for a while due to his former club, Portsmouth, standing firm on their valuation. So, has he been worth the time and money?

It’s difficult to fully judge him yet, as he’s only started a handful of games, but I like what I see.

Lowe is a player that possesses raw pace, an eye for goal, confidence to pick the ball up and run at defenders. I like his endeavour and that he’s willing to be that X player that every team needs, constantly on the move and wanting the ball. A slight negative would be his final ball could do with some improvement, however his 17 goals last season suggests it’s a matter of time before he starts scoring.

In my opinion, it’s a criticism of Paul Cook as to why we’ve not seen the best of Lowe so far this season. We need to play football on the floor. Our biggest assets are our wingers, we’re not using them to full effect. In the past few games, we’ve reverted to lumping the ball forward to an isolated Kieffer Moore, hoping for a miracle. That won’t work in the Championship.

A change of formation for Wigan?

Our two full-backs are quick, positive players that are probably better at attacking than defending. Joe Williams and Sam Morsy can both pass a ball, Michael Jacobs and Jamal Lowe are creative wingers and we have a 6ft5 striker that wins a majority of headers. Play through the lines, double up out wide, get quality into the box, it’s not rocket science.

The way we’ve been playing, we’ve bypassed midfield and starved players like Jacobs and Lowe of the ball, which is why they aren’t having a big impact on games. That needs to change, or we’ll struggle this season.

Wigan Athletic needs to utilize dangerous 2.5m front-man if Cook wants to turn early season form around

Wigan Athletic signed Welsh international striker Kieffer Moore from Barnsley during the summer, for an initial fee of 2.5 million.

The striker has yet to score for Latics, but I’m encouraged by his performances, and confident that the goals will start flowing soon.

Paul Cook was on the lookout for a ‘target man’ type striker all summer. After moves for Sam Gallagher and Jordan Hugill both failed, he turned his attentions to Moore. Since signing, I’ve been happy with his performances, considering the service he’s had.

I think Cook is perhaps underestimating Moore’s ability on the ball. He’s not just a target man that can hold the ball up, from watching him last season at Barnsley it’s evident he’s good with his feet too.

Last campaign we played some brilliant free-flowing football, since Moore’s arrival we’ve reverted to long-ball tactics which don’t suit any of our players. Moore wins the majority of headers, but he’s too isolated and nobody gets close enough to him, to benefit from the flick-ons.

Wigan needs to start playing football again, use their quality out-wide and get quality deliveries into the box for Moore to attack. We don’t need to be predictable and just lump it forward at the first attempt, Moore is more than capable of scoring with his feet too.

Jamal Lowe and Michael Jacobs are being bypassed, and not receiving the ball enough in the right areas. Let’s start playing through the midfield and attacking teams like we did last season, playing route one football doesn’t work in this league. It’s not our style and the fans aren’t impressed either, what happened since the Cardiff game – we looked outstanding going forward that day.

3 positives Wigan Athletic can take away from their draw

Wigan Athletic gained their first away point of the season on Saturday, as they fought back to draw 2-2 at Hull City, thanks to a goal from youngster Joe Gelhardt.

The Latics have struggled away from home, since returning to the Championship last season. Paul Cook’s side has won just one of their last 25 games on the road, Leeds away, to stop them from getting promoted, fantastic.

Let’s have a look at a few things Cook will of taken from the draw at Hull…

Keep it on the floor

Wigan’s second goal is doing the rounds on Twitter. 27 passes, a great move, rounded off by Gelhardt’s brilliant turn and finish. It just shows, we have some good footballers that can open up teams. Play with width, be confident on the ball and look to attack. In recent weeks, we’ve been lazy in possession and prematurely just been lumping it forward to Kiefer Moore.

Joe Williams was our best signing of the summer

I’m really, really happy with this signing. A solid, good midfielder that fits alongside Sam Morsy. Without Reece James, I feared our midfield would be overran, as Lee Evans isn’t a defensive midfielder. However, Williams has taken his opportunity with both hands and for me was our best player on Saturday. Strong in the tackle, great passing range and works hard.

Jamal Lowe is a winger

Lowe has started his Wigan career well, considering he’s never played at this level before. Cook tried him in the number 10 role against Hull, it didn’t work. His best attribute is his pace and trickery, best used out-wide.

In the number 10 role, he doesn’t get that time and 1vs1 against defenders that he can attack and run at. I prefer Michael Jacobs playing behind the striker, perhaps they can swap positions for the upcoming Charlton match.

What is Wigan Athletic’s starting 11 based on FIFA 20 ratings

Don’t play as Wigan Athletic. Just pick Man City or Liverpool, it’s stressful enough watching us every week, let alone trying to play as them on a game.

Some of these stats and ratings are outrageous. Antonee Robinson has 86 pace, fair enough, a good rating. Jamal Lowe has 91. If the two had a race over 100 metres, I would put my life on Robinson winning. Ridiculous speed, especially after his leg break earlier this year.

Anyway, let’s look at the ratings and see what our best starting 11 is…

David Marshall is our highest-rated goalkeeper, with 71 overall. Good call. At right-back, we have Nathan Byrne, who is apparently quicker than Robinson too, another myth. Nevertheless, FIFA players will know it’s always good to have two-speed merchants as full-backs. Robinson and Byrne are exactly that, perhaps Wigan is the team to play with on FIFA 20 after all.

Ah, forget that our highest rated centre-back, Charlie Mulgrew, has just 51 pace. Followed closely by Chey Dunkley with 57 pace. A disaster waiting to happen. In any FIFA you need quick defenders, unfortunately, Wigan isn’t blessed with any. We struggle because of that in real life too, teams with quick strikers always cause us problems. Pretty accurate this, after all.

No gold Fifa cards

Onto the midfield, still no gold cards. However, Sam Morsy and Joe Williams are both 70 rated, which all-round solid midfield ratings, we’ll take that. As long as they both have 98 aggression, it’s bang on.

As I’m going through this, it’s scarily close to our best starting 11 in real life. Michael Jacobs, Josh Windass and Jamal Lowe are our three highest-rated forwards, just pass the ball to Lowe and let him run, Byrne overlapping, winning formula. Oh, and make sure you stick 6ft5 striker Kieffer Moore in the box and you’re set to go.

What a team that is. Other than the slow centre backs, it’s a pretty decent side for FIFA. Sadly, it’s not quite working out that way in real life currently.

Wigan Athletic’s exciting diamond is attracting the big boys amid further rejection

Reports suggest Everton are interested in signing Wigan Athletic youngster Joe Gelhardt, however, Paul Cook has insisted that the club is not looking to sell.

The teenager is a product of The Latics academy, and represents England at youth level, alongside team-mate Jensen Weir. After a number of impressive performances at the international level, and making his senior debut, Gelhardt is attracting interest from big Premier League clubs.

Gelhardt made his home debut in pre-season against Burnley, scoring a fine goal minutes after coming on. Without overreacting, he looked a gem from minute one. Just one of the players who looks to impact a game positively, wants the ball, is confident in his ability, looks forward and is wanting to create or score a goal every time he receives the ball. A breath of fresh air.

Wigan is a Championship club and will be for a long time, in my opinion. The club and manager can say we aren’t looking to sell, that’s good to hear, but we all know if Everton comes calling with a serious bid, he’ll be off.

Gelhardt is Premier League quality

I don’t mind that. Gelhardt is a quality young talent, if he sees his future in the Premier League and is offered the chance, go grab it and do us proud.

The club wouldn’t hold him back. It wouldn’t be fair. Just make sure we have him tied down to a long-term contract, to ensure we get a good fee for him and not peanuts for a player that could be worth £10 million-plus in a few years.

Obviously I’d love to see him play for Latics for many years, but it’s about being realistic. The club needs sales to keep afloat and have the luxury to reinvest in new players, that comes from selling your assets sometimes. You can’t deny a young kid a chance of a Premier League move, get good money, stick on a big sell-on clause, wish him well.

Joey Gelhardt he’s one of our own. For now.

It’s time: Wigan Athletic simply must move for Chris Hughton

Thanks for everything, Paul Cook. Your time as Wigan Athletic manager has come to end. Appointing Chris Hughton needs to be our priority now, a top Championship manager.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching and following Latics under Cook. We’ve played some brilliant football, won a league title, reached an FA Cup quarter-final, beat Manchester City and stopped Leeds United getting promoted. What a man.

He’s done his job. Getting us out of league one and consolidating us in the Championship. I was happy with our final position last season, although we were poor away, our squad was battered by injuries and our home performances were outstanding.

However, this season we’ve spent as much money as we were in the Premier League days. It’s time to push on and look towards getting a promotion out of this league. Being brutally honest, we’ve been dreadful this season and it’s got to a point where I don’t think there’s any coming back.

The away results and performances are simply inexcusable. Preston, QPR and Middlesbrough are average Championship sides, we didn’t even give them a game. Gifting cheap goals and offering no threat at the other end. It’s not good enough.

Chris Hughton will sort out that defence in a matter of weeks, that’s what we need. To build a base at the back, stop conceding sloppy goals and regain confidence further up the pitch to start scoring goals again.

We look devoid of confidence and belief, someone needs to come in with fresh ideas and get these players going again. I believe we have a good squad, capable of finishing mid-table. The owners have spent big on players, now it’s time to break the bank on a manager that can manage them.

Wigan Athletic needs Cook to achieve these two crucial things in 2019

Wigan Athletic is not having the greatest time in the Championship and Paul Cook needs a plan of action. The Football Manc Cave are looking at what that plan should be.

Wigan fans have already questioned whether their manager should stay or go in recent times as their performances haven’t been great. Let’s say he does stay until the end of 2019, what does he need to do?

Let’s look at Wigan’s most recent form. They drew with Barnsley 0-0, lost 3-1 to QPR, lost 1-0 to Middlesbrough and 2-0 to Leeds, alongside another draw yesterday. They currently sit 22nd in the league with 5 points from 7 games. Here’s what Cook needs to work on.


He needs to work on every player’s individual performance in order to succeed but the defence needs close attention. Sloppy goals have lost Wigan games recently and if the back four were a little tighter, maybe Wigan would be in a different position right now.

Paul Cook has previously admitted that he knows the performances aren’t good enough. No Wigan fan is forgetting that he kept them up last season through difficult injury times within the squad. Even though the away form wasn’t great, their home for was good enough to keep them out of danger.

You would think that staying up would motivate and inspire the squad and manager to do well this season. However, that doesn’t seem to be going to plan. If the defence is worked on, they can start to improve.


It’s going to take some time to get it right at the back and work on the defence fully, although, winning games requires goals. Something that Wigan are falling short on is creating chances. When you look at their results, they aren’t scoring any or they are conceding a few and getting one back.

If they’re going to lose, they need to at least start trying to balance the score sheet. Only when their defence is sorted, will goals and attacking chances start to come. Right now if they go for the attack and get sloppy at the back, nothing will change.

« Older Entries