Opposing View - Wigan Athletic
What were your hopes, fears and expectations for the season?
Back in August I was hoping that we`d continue the form that we were in from the end of February last season, we went on a great run, played some good football and the games more often than not were really exciting affairs, my main worry was that we`d lost our talisman Charles N`Zogbia during the summer and that without him we`d have not cutting edge, unfortunately it`s that fear that is now being realised.
Is survival enough for Wigan on a season basis?
Survival this season would be more than enough to be honest, we`re struggling at the foot of the table, in danger of becoming adrift and clutching already, even at this early stage. Long term I`d have hoped that we could challenge for a top half finish on a regular basis, but realistically for a club of our size that`s never going to happen.
How big a loss has Charles N'Zogbia been for you this season?
Monumental, as already mentioned he was our talisman, Charlie had the ability to take a game by the scruff of the neck and win it almost single handedly, he had a passion for our club and played with his heart on his sleeve, his performances not only lifted the supporters but also his team mates, a real class act, sold for under £10 million to a club and manager that has no idea how to utilise him, should have stayed put, made him captain and gave him whatever his wage demands were.
Will Roberto Martinez come under pressure if Wigan continue to falter this season?
He`s under pressure now, there are a section of Latics fans that have never taken to him and the way the season is going their voices have been getting louder, but the man in charge, Dave Whelan, appears to have faith in Bobby`s long term project and is sticking by him. I am a big fan of Martinez, to get rid of him would be, in my opinion, a massive mistake. He is working against the odds on the smallest budget in the League, he needs time and I think/hope he will get it.
Would you rather be struggling in the Premier League every season or battling for promotion in the Championship?
The Premier League is the place to be, I have followed my club since non-league days, to see us now playing the worlds top teams week in week out is a dream come true. I have looked in awe at some of the players at the JJB/DW in our seven seasons at the top, Henry, Tevez, Silva, Ronaldo, Crespo etc etc. We are playing against them as equals (well supposedly) it is just fantastic, give it up to play in the Championship where it is still just as stressful, no thanks.
Is Martinez right to try and defend Antolin Alcaraz?
I haven`t seen that he has to be honest, Martinez said that Alcaraz had let the club down and would be dealt with internally, I understand he has been fined the maximum he can be, what he did was indefensible.
Where will you finish this season?
Bottom, that`s how I feel at the moment, we are struggling at the back, struggling up front and getting no luck. We have been awful this season, though last week against Blackburn was probably the best we played so far this term, Martinez shook the team up, made five changes and they responded. It`ll take a massive effort to drag ourselves out of the mess, but you never know, still at the moment I don`t hold much hope.
Who should we be watching out for on Saturday?
Albert Crusat if he gets a start, I think he`s the smallest player in the Premier League, looks like a ballboy! He`s also one of the fastest. Great little winger, we`ve been chasing him for three seasons, finally got him in the summer, as we say in Wigan, he`s a little belter.
1-1 is how I see it, though I do have a sneaky feeling that we just might get one over on Brucie, I know him and Bobby aren`t the best of mates and that will add some spice to the game, so I`m going to change my mind and go for 1-2 away win!
Two teams low on quality, scrapping for points? I can't see it being the belter that the Wigan-Blackburn game was, sadly.