Garner and Keane: The Firepower to Reinvigorate Wigan
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Garner and Keane
Although it’s an old-school cliché in football, attack is the best form of defence. Following a troublesome 2019-20 campaign, the Latics dropped into the third tier of English football, and manager Paul Cook resigned from his position. However, from a purely on-field perspective, there’s something of a reason for optimism, especially when you consider Wigan’s new-look attack. Having retained the services of Gavin Massey and Joe Garner, the 2013 FA Cup winners also signed Will Keane on a short-term deal. So, let’s consider whether prioritising attacking phases of play will be the best form of defence for Wigan.
A Need for Both to Deliver
Over the years, a number of Premier League greats have played for the Latics at the DW Stadium, albeit at the latter stages of their careers. From Jason Roberts to Emile Heskey, the Wigan faithful have become familiar with a certain standard from their strikers. Climbing back through the divisions in their pursuit of once again becoming a Premier League club won’t happen overnight, but the squad does boast a plethora of offensive talent.
At the time of writing, Garner is involved in a goal in every 3.5 matches. The 32-year-old has played over 70 games for Wigan since arriving from Ipswich in August 2018, in which time he’s scored 15 goals and assisted a further five. Crucially, as per his profile at Transfermarkt, he’s a proven League One striker, having found the net on 71 occasions in 175 third-tier games. If the 32-year-old can find his form, then he has the ability to steer Wigan clear of relegation. As of November 4th, Garner is 33/1 in the football betting to win the golden boot in League One come the end of the season.
Keane, on the other hand, will be hoping to find a home at the DW Stadium. Across his first five matches of the 2020-21 season, the former Manchester United academy player has already clinched much-needed points for the Latics, scoring the equalising goal in Wigan’s 1-1 draw with Plymouth Argyle.
Sustaining League One Status
Come the end of the ongoing season, the primary goal has to be to retain their place in the third tier of English football. Although the last few years have been somewhat unforgiving to the Latics, achieving short-term goals will provide the foundations to target long-term success, even in spite of times of uncertainty. Seven years ago, Wigan were playing in Europe for the first time in their history, yet the focus now has to be on avoiding the drop, as opposed to reaching the heights of club football.
Steering clear of the relegation zone is an achievable task for Wigan in 2020-21. Although it will be a tightly-contested battle between a number of teams, the Latics have the firepower to avoid falling further down the divisions. Historically, established goalscorers have single-handedly kept sides teams up and, for the foreseeable future, Wigan have Garner to turn to.
Offensive Expression and Freedom is Needed
Very rarely are there any instances where clichés perfectly fit the bill. That said, attack does look like the best form of defence for the Latics. While their leading strikers may be out of form, taking the game to their opponents will yield positive results, especially with players of the pedigree of Garner and Keane.
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