12th Man – Is the lone striker the way forward?

Will Grigg Wigan Athletic

Is Will Grigg due a recall? Photograph courtesy of Wigan Athletic

It will be interesting to see what formation and tactics Warren Joyce employs against in-form Derby County on Saturday. Joyce has played one striker, packed the midfield and defended deep in his last two away games at Barnsley and Huddersfield and picked up four points.

Will he change to a more attacking formation or continue to defend in depth and hope to hit his opponents on the break?

It is something of a dilemma for the new manager. The home fans will have expectations to see their team attack Derby but using Yanic Wildschut as a lone striker and packing the midfield has delivered results so far.

There is no doubt that Latics rode their luck at both Oakwell and the John Smith’s stadium and they could easily have lost both games.

The statistics show that Barnsley had 62% possession and 16 shots to Latics 6. Huddersfield had 70% possession and 19 shots to Latics 9. The Terriers also had two good penalty shouts turned down.

A one-man attack will limit the number of chances created and it cannot be a strategy for long-term success unless the midfielders and wingbacks are pushed forward and support the striker on a regular basis.

If Joyce goes for a more positive approach on Saturday, Will Grigg has surely got to come into contention. Grigg’s recent absence from the team feels peculiar given his undoubted ability as a goal scorer.

The manager said that he hasn’t seen much of the striker in training due to international call ups and illness and that the player didn’t get much rest over the summer.

The Northern Ireland striker has only started in 12 games for Latics but he has still scored six goals this season. The prolific marksman should have trained this week and he has got to be the main option for a starting place if Joyce wants to be more attack minded.

Yanic Wildschut produced a Man of the Match performance at Huddersfield. He created the first goal and scored the second in a virtuoso display of strength and power.

He had worked his socks off for the team but he can’t be expected to fulfil such an energy-sapping role in every game.

Yanic was a revelation at Huddersfield, although comparisons to Marcus Rashford and Ronaldo are premature, the flying Dutchman has the potential to be a big success in the Championship.

A re-invigorated Wildschut and fully refreshed Grigg is an exciting prospect, but will the manager be brave enough to use them together?

This article was first published in the 12th Man column for the Wigan Evening Post on Friday 2nd December 2016.

About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Championship, Derby County, Warren Joyce, Wigan Athletic, Will Grigg, Yanic Wildschut and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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