Monday, 2 November 2009

Get behind my new campaign!

We all know, deep down, that England are a little bit rubbish at football. And we won't get past the Quarter Finals next summer in South Africa.

So join my new campaign, let's all have Honduras as our country to support next June. Yes, I might be a little bit biased because we have two of their standout performers in Hendry Thomas and Maynor Figueroa. But you can't deny the pure, unadulterated joy in the radio commentator's voice when he realises that they've qualified for the World Cup in this clip:

So if you're on Facebook, spread the word of this group, see if we can get everyone behind Los Catrachos!

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Aftermath: Portsmouth 4-0 Wigan

Oh dear oh dear oh dear. I'll wait until Match of the Day to fully make my mind up, but to be battered by a team bottom of the league and without a home win all season smacks of over-confidence.

By all accounts we were horrendous defensively - something that was poor earlier on in the year, but looked like it was being rectified in recent weeks. Obviously, with our new style of play defensive stability will be compromised slightly, but to concede four goals is outrageous. No offence meant to Portsmouth but on paper they certainly aren't four goals better than we are (clearly they were miles better than us today).

It does seem that we struggle horribly against compact, hard-working teams - apart from Portsmouth we have also been beaten by Hull and Wolves, who are similar sorts of teams. Against the more expansive and confident teams we are allowed to play how we want to, resulting in the extremely impressive scorelines against Aston Villa, Chelsea and Burnley. Let's not forget that included in our next six games are Fulham, Birmingham and Stoke who are likely to play in a similar manner to Portsmouth today - they'll view it as a game the have to get a result out of. Somehow we need to find the middle ground between the two, because as well as we might play against the top sides it will be the results when we play those teams around us that will decide our fate this season.

All in all, not a devastating result - although one that will raise significant concerns for Roberto Martinez ahead of Sunday's clash with Fulham.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Away day preview: Portsmouth

Game 11 of the Premier League sees Wigan travelling about 40,000 miles south through Narnia to play Portsmouth on Saturday. With our hosts rooted to the foot of the table with only four points and Wigan finally putting some consistent performances together, this looks like an easy away win on paper. To be fair, so did Chelsea's games at Villa Park and the DW Stadium.

Portsmouth have lost all five home league games so far this season, all by the margin of just one goal. This suggests better performances than results are showing, and we all know how intimidating Fratton Park can be. Portsmouth are also a team coming off the back of a 4-0 tonking of Stoke in midweek, so our recent good form might be under threat.

Saying that, in recent weeks Wigan have been playing outstandingly well, harrying the opposition like Mourinho's Chelsea and attacking with a speed and flair that would impress Arsene Wenger. Hugo Rodallega is maturing into the player he hinted at becoming towards the end of last season and our back six are settled and keeping out goals. So can we keep this up at the weekend?

Team News
Portsmouth have Michael Brown back from suspension, but are missing defensive duo Hermann Hreidarsson and Linvoy Primus, both long-term injury absences. Papa Bouba Diop and John Utaka both face fitness tests.

Wigan will have to do without Maynor Figueroa for the first time since May 2007 after his knee injury. Paul Scharner and Chris Kirkland are still carrying the same injuries from last week but both should start.
Predicted starting XI: Kirkland; Melchiot, Boyce, Bramble, Edman; Thomas, Diame; N'Zogbia, Scharner, Rodallega; Scotland.

Two to watch
Obviously, Hugo Rodallega is the one Pompey should be scared of. Two goals last week means that he has almost outscored the whole season's top scorers for Latics in the past three seasons. He's the first striker we've had who genuinely looks like scoring every time he gets that ball since Nathan Ellington.

For Portsmouth, Michael Brown returns against his former club from suspension - and he's bound to be fired up for this one. We loved him during his short spell in Lancashire, and it will be interesting to see how he compares to our new central midfield partnership of Thomas and Diame.

Despite Portsmouth's dramatic improvements in recent weeks, if Wigan play like they did against Burnley then we'll have our third away win of the season. However, Pompey are packed with hard-working, battling players - and it is these sorts of sides that we have struggled against. Think Wolves at home or Hull away. It will all depend on whether the Latics forward line has the stomach for the battle. So long as Jordi Gomez is kept away from the starting XI then we'll be fine, include him in the centre of midfield and we could be in trouble.
My prediction: Portsmouth 1-2 Wigan

As Bobby says, Sin Meido.

P.S. also, have a look at my views on the Marlon King situation, posted earlier on today on TalentSpotter. Leave your thoughts below if you don't want to bother registering on TalentSpotter, I'll read them all.

Hello everyone

Welcome to my new blog.

Some of you will know me from 606, or others from my ramblings on - I'm the same Sheikh Mahand. (If you don't know me from either of those sites, check them out - they're rather good, if I do say so myself.)

Anyway, I started this up because I wanted to have an outlet for smaller thoughts than the ones that deserve a full on article on either of those two other sites. I will be posting links to anything that I do write on other articles, so don't worry about missing anything, Sheikh fans! I am of course being sarcastic, I realise Worbo's Vital site and the barman over at Tree and Crown are the real icons in the Latics blogosphere...

That's enough from me for now, the first match preview will follow tomorrow afternoon.