Thursday, 26 March 2009

A Game of Three Teams

I wrote a piece for The Leader a couple of weeks ago drawing attention to some uncanny parallels between how their season has unravelled and our similar fortunes. The comparison has led to me pondering our situation further.

There's a school of thought, which to a great extent I subscribe to, that teams eventually settle where they should be, despite fluctuations in form throughout the season. So if, say, Wigan Athletic are a mid-table team, that doesn't mean they'll settle into a pattern of win one game, draw the next, then lose the next, and stick with that throughout the season. Instead they'll have good runs and bad runs, accompanied by media over-reaction as the media draw daft conclusions based on a brief run of form.

Admittedly, sometimes teams maintain their good run and over-achieve, or can't pull out of a tailspin, but generally I'd say things even out and by the final table most teams end up where they ought to be.

That's why Villa's current loss of form isn't a great surprise. To me, they've always felt like they're about sixth best in the Premiership, after the big four and Everton. Their winning streak elevated them way above that position, and the media got carried away by claiming they were the next big team. Now things have fallen away they're getting the opposite sort of speculation. But by the end of the season, they'll probably be in sixth or thereabouts. It was a hell of a ride, but in the final analysis they ended up where they ought to be.

So the question is, where is Wrexham's natural place? Where should we end up the season. Frankly, I don't know-it seems to me that we're one of those few teams that defy this rationale. The reason I can't look at us and make a judgement as to where they ought to finish is that we've had three different teams this season. The first, which Brian Little compiled in the belief they'd take us up, was a mid-table side:

Spender Kempson N Brown Tremarco
Critchell Kearney Mackin Aiston
Louis Whalley

Then Dean Saunders arrived, dismantled that side and built one which was on a par with Burton Albion:

Baynes Westwood Williams Williamson
Brown Fleming Fairhurst Woolfe
Louis Williams

But around the transfer window he reshaped it, and we've fallen off that standard:

Curtis Westwood Collin Williamson
Aiston Crofts Fleming Flynn
Louis Jansen

So how do you work out where our place is in the great scheme of things when we've had three different sides of vastly varying quality? Roll on the days when we can enjoy a bit of stability; not that I have a clue when that will be!

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