Opinion: Frustrating Fulham
Feature by Paul Farrington
Updated Monday, 24th September 2012
For as long as I haev been watching Wigan Athletic we have a frustrating ability to lower the standard of our game against sides we should be beating.
The Latics so often, particularly at home, raise their game against the best sides in the division but then sucumb to the more ordinary sides. The display against Fulham was indicative of this.
With only a handful of away fans making the trip and little riding on such an early season fixture it was visibly, and audibly, difficult for the home support to rouse anything resembling an atmosphere.
This transcended onto the field where the Latics started slowly and gradually came to a halt as Fulham sucked every ounce of life from the game.
There were plenty of warning signs with Al Habsi making a number of impressive saves before Hugo Rodallega scored with a trademark header. If only we had been aware of his capabilities?
From this moment on the game suited the away side. From the sidelines it was amusing to see Roberto Martinez stick to his trusted three centre backs despite the fact that Fulham, already with two goals in the bag, were playing with almost nobody up front.
The midfield was lacking in creativity and Fulham has far superior numbers, almost all eleven men, camped inside their own area. There was no way we were going to pass our way through it.
Only with the introduction of McManaman and Myaichi, players capable of beating a man, did we start to cause Fulham problems. McManaman in particular showed a real class and arrogance to his attacking play, even if only for the short time he had on the field.
This is by no means a terrible result. It is a frustrating result and these are the cause of perennial relegation dog fight. As Fulham rise away from the perils of the bottom three we are sucked closer in.
With all the hall-marks and potential to be perhaps the best Wigan Athletic team ever, the team need to start performing in the games that matter.
With Sunderland, Swansea, and West Ham in the league all to follow in a short space of time, when better a chance to show this potential.