Rams 0-1 Wigan - Match report
Sunday, 13th Jan 2008 16:27
Help me out here; aside from the sending off and Wigan's winner, what exactly happened in this match?
Derby County 0-1 Wigan Athletic
88 minutes of nothingness in arguably the worst Premier League game ever (up there with our visit to Reading earlier this season) and if the Rams weren't already relegated before they certainly are now; thirteen points adrift and with the worst goal difference known to mankind and our already dreadful season is going swiftly down the toilet.
It was set up for victory; the idea being that the new signings would swoop in and immediately start off a new era of confidence and restored pride. What I chose not to factor in was that new captain Robbie Savage was making one his first top flight starts since returning from a broken leg, Hossam Ghaly in his first appearance since his shirt throwing incident last season, Laurent Robert in his first competitive appearance for over a year and that Tito Villa was being asked to play alone up-front in the most difficult league in the world having only come into the country a short week ago.
The result was disastrous but all is not lost; Ghaly and Villa showed glimpses of their talents and whilst both Savage and Robert were largely anonymous they are a proven quantity whose abilities should shine through with match practice.
The main problem in this match was the defence which was largely shocking and forced the Rams onto the back foot right from the off; Claude Davis is looking like a total bust at the £3million Billy Davies forked out for him and if wee Billy does intend to go on to the top of the managerial game he needs to realise that having played for Preston does not automatically make you a Premier League player.
Davis is much like opposite number Titus Bramble; he appears to have the physical attributes of a top-class defender but just can't put it together upstairs. Davis cannot head a ball properly despite his tremendous leap and dives in far too much for a player who should be able to use his pace to keep up with the likes of Marcus Bent. Of course, in the Championship I can imagine that Davis will look another class because his natural talent will see him through in much the same way as Giles Barnes' did last season but in this league you need something more and we just don't have it and Davis is indicative of that.
The sending off was a joke; not that it was undeserved because you can't expect to stay on the pitch when you swing an arm at an opponent, even if it was unintentional. It was the sum of an awful game for Davis who looked overmatched against a red-hot Marcus Bent and with a clearly unfit Andy Todd beside him it was the stuff of nightmares.
The goal was a fine finish but the poor defending was there for all to see; a simple long ball was headed down by Bent under no challenge and to be fair to Sibierski he cracked it home on the volley to score with his first touch. Lewis Price had no chance and it was a disappointing result for the young keeper who had his finest game since coming into the side.
Derby chances? Hmmm, there was Robert's low free kick on ten minutes and our one decent move of the game on the half hour which involved Ghaly and Barnes but aside from that? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
For a small man our new striker Emanuel Villa certainly gets up well in the air but I wonder if the rest of our players seriously consider punting the ball in his direction to be a good idea. He looked alright on his debut and I feel there is a lot to come from the Argentinean but he needs Kenny Miller beside him and we need to start playing the ball to feet; Wigan outclassed us in terms of keeping the ball and playing through midfield whereas we resorted to ye olde hoof ball again and again with no clear end in sight; to Todd and Mears I would say this, give the ball to Ghaly! Not to Savage when he's got three players around him; to Ghaly and Robert with the idea being that we actually get forward in numbers with the ball as opposed to hoofing it long for Villa and Fagan to chase pointlessly.
Hopefully with Sheffield Wednesday up next we may actually see something resembling a footballing display but with our defence set in their long ball ways I can't really see it.
Full-Time: Derby 0-1 Wigan
Rams: Price 7; Mears 4; Todd 4; Davis 3; Mills 5; Ghaly 6 (Macken 5); Robert 5 (Edworthy 5); Savage 5; Barnes 5; Fagan 5; Villa 5 (Teale 5).
Wigan: Kirkland; Boyce; Bramble; Melchiot; Kilbane; Valencia; Brown; Palacios (Koumas); Landzaat (Sibierski); Heskey; Bent (Olembe).
Referee: M. Clattenburg.
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