The good, the bad and Darren England – Talking points from Wigan

Talk of Ewood discusses the talking points from yesterday’s 0-0 draw away at Wigan.

Before we start, make sure you’ve read our review by clicking here, and our player ratings by clicking here.

So, let’s get into the talking points.

Mowbray tactics

After a questionable starting 11, a lot of uncertainty mellowed over the Rovers boys as a few possible tactics were mentioned across social media.

Mine being holding it out, using counter attack, until 70 minutes or so, and unleash Graham and Chapman from the bench. And after about 15 minutes of football, it became clear my thinking had been thought of elsewhere, as Mowbray’s side set up with an intention to not lose for the first half.

0-0 at half time, and Tony’s tactics seemed to be falling into place, drawing with the quality of Chapman and Graham sat on the bench. However, as the clock struck 57, the game – from Rovers prospective – took a huge turn for the worst as winger Elliott Bennett received a second yellow for a controversial dive.

Now, the referee (probably!) knows more than me, but from watching the incident live and viewing many replays the second yellow looked beyond suspicious as Bennett seemed to pass the ball, then jump to avoid hurt. This obviously could not be changed so Mowbray used his substitutions making 3 in quick succession – Chapman, Graham and Caddis whilst averting to a ‘park the bus’ and counter attack mode.

This seemed to be working successfully as Conway, Chapman and Graham broke away yet all failing to score. With Wigan beginning to stretch Rovers, the fresh legged winger Harry Chapman seemed to pull up when going for the ball, leaving Rovers with no option but to take him off, leaving us with 9 men.

Despite the lads defending excellently to grind out a 0-0 in the end, if it wasn’t for the Chapman and Bennett incidents, I feel Mowbray’s tactics would have come out on top late on, as shown with the chances we got with 10 on the field. The plan seemed to be taking place perfectly, and on another day, the three points could have been ours.

What went well

As previously mentioned, TM’s first 60 minutes went exactly to plan, and still went fairly smoothly until around 5 minutes was left to play.

Having just conceded 4 goals away from home this season, Rovers’ defensive structure was of a top level again with each and every defender chipping in with key moments in which they excelled, most notably Derrick Williams’ challenge to prevent a clear goalscoring opportunity, right before the moment of the shot, closely followed by a number of good saves by academy product David Raya.

Peter Whittingham. Forefront of much criticism since Rovers’ start to the season although at the DW, he showed what Mowbray signed him for and what he offers Rovers in many elements; a composed head on the ball, eye for a pass and surprisingly a strong tackle, something he massively lacked come the start of the season. He looked a new, quality player.

What can be improved

Since the departure of Josh King and the premature spell of Mo Barrow, Rovers have seemed to lack in the department of pure pace, which showed during the Wigan game, as we struggled to break clear of their defence and pose a real threat on the counter.

You could say Chapman provides pace, however it is still a factor in which we lack. Our constant inability to put away chances has cost us dearly thus far in the season, and Bradley Dack’s two efforts that both missed proved costly as the afternoon in Wigan went on.

This relates to Mowbray’s selection as, in a game we need to put away chances, Antonsson is preferred to a clinical Danny Graham who’s goal-scoring prowess is yet to be used effectively in League One, much to my displeasure as I personally feel he is the answer to our finishing problems, once he has a few more games under his belt.

Overall, it was still a great point, and onto Fleetwood on Tuesday!

Thanks for reading

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