Looking back at Wigan
Sunday, 30th Dec 2018 14:00 by Jamie Thomas
First off, I've seen a few recent articles get a tuning so I'd just like to add this is my first time writing an article for PlanetSwans. Please be gentle.
I arrived at the Liberty quietly confident we would get a decent win under our belts against an out of form Wigan side. Quietly being the operative word there as when has form ever mattered to the Swans? I found the performance against Villa was a tidy 90 minute display that warranted points. Unfortunately Bony's penalty was saved and the Swans were left frustrated.
Fast forward to 2:00PM Saturday as the teams are announced for the game against Wigan and I was pleased to see a partnership of McBurnie and Baker-Richardson. McBurnie has struggled upfront on his own recently and Baker-Richardson made an impact on his last start at the Liberty. Also, a surprise entry in the form of Cian Harries. I took the formation as a 4-4-2 with Grimes at fullback. I would prefer some consistency in the teamsheets but see why changes were made.
Unfortunately it became quickly apparent that this was not the case. We were out-muscled from the start and Wigan's gameplan was simply to prevent us from playing. They pulled it off with great success, quickly frustrating fans with constant breaks in play for niggly fouls and time wasting. Baring in mind I have only seen the penalty decision live, I felt it was a very soft decision. The penalty was neatly tucked away and the one goal deficit soon became two after some very poor defending. Cian Harries looked like a player who wanted no part in the game and Routledge's efforts went unrewarded as he was out of depth in defense and out of ideas in attack. Both van der Hoorn and Carter-Vickers were struggling in the aeriel contests as we were pinned back by poor decision making and basic errors. Dan James seemed to offer the only glimmer of light, gliding past defenders and putting a few dangerous balls into the box. I told myself our performance against Bristol earlier in the season would be our worst of the campaign - the Swans made sure I was made to eat those words after the first 45 minutes v Wigan.
Two changes at half time saw Baker-Richardson and Cian Harries leave the field for Naughton and Montero. Wigan's gameplan remained the same and they started where they left from the first half. However, the Swans looked a lot more stable leading to more confidence on the ball. Montero started taking players on and chances were created. A Matt Grimes corner was turned in for an own goal by Burns then a quick throwing by Montero meant a late cross from Celina saw van der Hoorn level it up. The linesman offered a bit of comic relief by attempting to flag McBurnie offside but the Swansea crowd soon reminded him of the rules. The Swans kept pushing for the winner and were on top second half. One final throwin should have created another chance if the referee would have let play go. He decided he had enough and blew full time on a horribly disorganised first half and spirited comeback in the second half for the Swans. I'd definitely go as far as to say this is two points dropped.
The game quickly got too much for the referee and the standard of officiating was on par with what we expect down the Liberty. A salvaged point after a disastrous first half.
On a final note - I have seen the "Potter in/out" arguments on social media and would like to say I am firmly Potter in. I feel the selling of players was necessary in the summer but replacements weren't bought. We have invested heavily in the youth setup and it's paid dividends as we now have a platform to build on. I will admit Potter's rotation is baffling at times, forcing him into substitutions at half time but we have a duty to stand by Potter and the players to push on this season. It's not going to be easy, but when have we ever done it the easy way?
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Photo: Action Images
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