SussexBaggie speaks…United and defensive options

Our three-match winning run came to an end on Sunday, as we lost 2-0 at Old Trafford against Manchester United.

The players didn’t reach the same performance levels as they had done in any of our previous three games, but there is no shame in losing away from home against a side who look well placed to win the title.

Not many players really stood out as playing particularly well, although both Gareth McAuley and Youssouf Mulumbu performed admirably in what became increasingly difficult circumstances as the game wore on.

The reason it became more difficult as the game wore on was because Jonas Olsson was sent off about midway through the second half. Having already received a yellow card for an unnecessary challenge on Wayne Rooney, he picked up a second booking for catching Javier Hernandez whilst making an honest attempt to play the ball.

Although the sending off was unfortunate, there can be very few complaints about the decision.

Alternatives

The big question now is who will replace Olsson for Saturday’s trip to Wigan Athletic? We have several options available, which once again shows the strength in depth of our squad.

One option would be to bring Craig Dawson into the side as a replacement for Olsson, with the England U21 international impressing whenever he has had the chance so far.

Another possibility would be to move Liam Ridgewell alongside McAuley at the heart of our defence, and bring  Nicky Shorey back into the side at left-back. Although Ridgewell has only played at left-back for us so far, he is more than capable of playing in the centre if required.

A further option would be to move Paul Scharner back into defence alongside McAuley. Scharner played at centre-back for a few weeks last season with varying levels of success, although there is no doubt that he is better equipped to a defensive midfield role.

I would personally like to see Dawson given a chance, as the only way he is going to gain first-team experience is by playing more games, and this is an ideal opportunity for him to do so in the absence of Olsson.

Support

There are nearly 5,000 Albion fans making the relatively short trip from the Midlands to the DW Stadium this weekend, with the vast majority of these making the most of the 40 free coaches the club have made available for this game.

Although Wigan are struggling at the bottom of the table, there is no doubt that this is going to be a very difficult game.

For some reason, our record against them over the last few seasons is not brilliant. Victor Moses seems to cause us problems almost every time we play them, and the style of football they play ensures that they will always create a chance or two even if they aren’t performing particularly well in general.

This is a game which is impossible to predict, but hopefully we will play well and pick up a positive result!

Boing Boing!

Who would you start alongside Gareth McAuley? Have your say at WBA-MAD's fans' forum here at Baggies Banter