With manager, Steve Bruce stating that the “immense” void in our midfield left by Lee Cattermole will be filled by either Paul Scharner or new boy, Ben Watson, Wigan fans are frantically expressing their personal preference, and who they want to see standing in alongside Brown in this weekend`s crunch game at the Stadium of Light.
Bruce spoke of his dilemma yesterday, “We’ve got the option of Scharner going in there, and also Watson, who I thought did very well against Boro.”
The selection of each player offers slightly different qualities to the side, with Ben Watson playing a predominately attacking role during his time at Palace. Few Wigan fans have seen Watson outside of Latics colours, and his opening form has been reserved, coming close once against Fulham but turning out a quiet display for the majority of the game. I
n his time at Selhurst Park, the young midfielder was known for his composed ability on the ball and a solid work rate. He will not thread defense splitting balls through opposition defences like Lampard or Scholes, but his late runs into the area meant a respectable goal scoring record at his former club.
His short range passing and positioning is also solid, and he will help the side to retain possession in what promises to be a tough away encounter.
Scharner, despite featuring mainly at centre back, has vocally expressed his desire to play more games in the centre of the park.
He is not in the usual defender-come-midfield player category, with a keen eye for getting into opposition areas from crosses, and habit of making runs from midfield to support the attack, much like his break away at Chelsea recently.
The lively Austrian also has a great deal more Premier League experience under his belt, playing a major role in the first season in the Premier League, and is by no means a stranger to this central midfield role.
Arguably, the Austrian will offer a more influential role to the team, with confidence and composure to carry the ball forward, and willingness to join the attack and have some attempts on goal. Scharner came close twice against a good Chelsea side, and despite Watson`s apparently more attacking role, he will support the attack and venture into the opposition area much more regularly.
Watson will be a much more conservative choice for Bruce, his inclusion in the side ensuring that the structure of the side remains solid, as he and Brown will rarely find themselves out of position when Sunderland attack.
Although Scharner impressed at Stamford Bridge, he was part of a 5 man midfield, with Brown and Cattermole providing essential cover in what was a largely fluid and free role for the Austrian. It is possible that his movement, especially in attack, will be more limited with only Brown alongside him.
The choice will be a difficult one, though it is likely Bruce will go with the same choice as when he last visited the North East.
Watson is tipped as favourite to start alongside Brown, but by going for the Austrian, Wigan could find themselves with a much needed spark and assistance and in what has recently been a struggling and sluggish team going forward.
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