After a strong finish to the 2018-19 season, things seemed to be looking up for Wigan. Latics went unbeaten in their last five games, winning three and drawing two for eleven valuable points that took them comfortably away from the drop zone.
A few months on, and we’re now five games into the following season…
Starting with a bang
The opening day echoed the upbeat atmosphere of April and May, with Wigan victorious over promotion favourites Cardiff City. The Bluebirds, who still had the majority of their Premier League squad intact, took the lead through Joe Ralls in the 20th minute. However, a battling performance from Wigan saw them score twice in quick succession to take the lead around the 60-minute mark.
Despite Omar Bogle pulling things back, Lee Evans applied the killer blow in the 75th minute to leave Wigan fans on top of the world – and not too far from the top of the table.
Four straight defeats
Unfortunately, that emphatic performance wasn’t replicated the following week. Preston took the lead early on at Deepdale, before adding two more nails to the coffin over the course of 90 minutes. In the next league match, a strong Leeds side took all three points from the DW Stadium following Joe Williams’ red card in the 21st minute.
That was followed by two away fixtures at Middlesbrough and QPR, both finishing in defeat.
A single goal from Britt Assombalonga was enough to see the Latics off in the north east, while QPR made a ferocious second-half comeback following Cedric Kipre’s 2nd minute opener. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see many Latics fans playing videoslots casino to stay entertained during the match!
A tough start
Five games in and Wigan are third from bottom with just three points on the board. On the face of it, it’s a problematic start. But in truth, it’s been a bit of a mixed bag. Beating a newly relegated Cardiff side is something to take encouragement from. The same can be said for the opening 20 minutes against Leeds, until Williams was sent off.
QPR and Preston have looked strong this season, meaning that Wigan may simply have been dealt a tough set of opening fixtures. Looking at each game individually, there’s no massive shame in losing away to Preston, Middlesbrough and QPR – or even at home to top-of-the-table Leeds. But looking at the bigger picture, there seems to be yet another issue with Wigan’s performances away from home.
The away form conundrum
Albeit early in the season, Paul Cook’s side seemed to have continued with the poor away form that set them back in the last campaign. Wigan mustered just two wins and five draws away from home in 2019, compared to a respectable 11 wins and eight draws at home.
That’s a gap of 30 points between away and home fixtures over the full season. Had Wigan replicated their home form in away matches throughout the season, they would have been in and around the playoffs.
As for how it’s fixed, that’s up to Paul Cook and his coaches. Interestingly, Bristol City were the only team in the Championship whose away form was better than their home form last season. They’ve already won two of their three away games this season. Maybe it’s time to take a closer look at what they’re doing right?
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