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Latics rise hints at Prem dip

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Latics rise hints at Prem dip



Wigan fifth in the Premiership? Played eight, won five, lost two? Perhaps we should all enjoy their success while we can, because history says it rarely lasts.


Already, though, these Johnny-come-latelies from the lower divisions, a team welded together by a blunt-speaking manager and a self-made chairman who knows what it is like to break a leg for your club, have made mugs of the maestros.


And they have truly made us wonder - is the Premiership what it was? Best league in the world? You must be joking.


What has happened to the monster teams since the end of last season - a season in which we all thought their dominance was confirmed.


Liverpool won the European Cup remember? Looking at them now you wonder how.


When was the last time you saw a decline in a player as startling as that of Fernando Morientes. When he was signed the Spaniard was going to set the Premiership alight, such was the ability we all know he had.


Well, he scored twice against CSKA Sofia in a Champions League qualifier in August and since then nothing. In fact, he's been dropped.


They brought him back as a second-half substitute for that mighty English goalscorer Peter Crouch at Anfield on Saturday and he missed two of the easiest chances you are likely to see.


Everton? Back to a mighty force again, fourth in the league last season and in the Champions League...well briefly. And now? Rockbottom of the Premiership with just one goal.


Form, it is said, is temporary but class? Well, that's supposed to be permanent. So what happened to old Invincible Arsenal since they handed over London's bragging rights to Chelsea a year or two ago?


Arsene Wenger's team are now going through an injury crisis. And also another crisis in which they can hardly hit a barn door from spitting distance.


Doesn't one thing invariably follow another. It certainly does without Thierry Henry and there will be a cheer all around Highbury N5 when he finally returns from injury. Reliant on one man? Just a bit.


If there is any way the Frenchman can be tied up in a chair and forced to sign a new contract, Arsenal had better do it. And it is about time they also got themselves a decent goalkeeper.


Jens Lehmann is OK but does he ever make any real match-winning saves a la Petr Cech?


Edwin van der Sar does, and we can see what a difference he is making for Manchester United. They have lost only one game thanks to their new Dutch signing in goal, but a home defeat by Blackburn and a struggle to see off Sunderland are not what United used to be about.


Arsenal and United are confusing themselves by trying to play good football all the time. That's no good in the Premiership any more. You have got to try to be a bit more direct at times, get crosses in, go for free kicks and hope for deflections. That's what Chelsea do. It is all valid.


But even they should have joined the mug-brigade - on the first day of the season when Wigan deserved to beat them but lost instead to a last-minute bolt out of the blue from Hernan Crespo.


Wigan's great strength has been their ability to bounce back from that, with boss Paul Jewell and outspoken chairman Dave Whelan setting all the right examples.


They have also set themselves up as a tight unit at the back, with a bit of craft in Henri Camara, and a charger, Jason Roberts at the front.


Others, like Stephane Henchoz, Arjan de Zeeuw, Jimmy Bullard and Graham Kavanagh are driven by experience and sheer hard professionalism at bigger clubs. Ideal for those narrow 1-0 wins, especially if a kindly linesman suffers a moment of temporary blindness.


The romance of it all is wonderful, of course. Everybody loves the underdog, but just as in FA Cup giant-killings once the triumph of the no-hoper has been celebrated you have to wonder what happened to the quality of opposition that let it happen.


From Teamtalk.com


What do yous think of the premiership this season??

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