0-4: Not the start I was hoping for
The best news to come out of Saturday’s fixture of opening EPL matches was that Wigan does not find itself at the bottom of the table.
Despite falling 4-0 to recently promoted Blackpool, Wigan finds themselves nestled safely in 19th after Chelsea’s 6-0 throttling of West Bromwich. After an offseason filled with promise, this was not the start I was looking for.
Gary Taylor-Fletcher put Wigan in an early hole with a strike at 16′. After a pair of goals from Marion Harewood at 38′ and 43′ set the match into halftime 3-0, the game was essentially over. Alex Baptiste closed out the scoring in 75′.
There were some points of positivity from the Latics, though. Newcomer Mauro Bosselli and last year’s leading scorer Hugo Rodallega made some strong connections and Bosselli nearly opened his scoring account with a header that glanced off the woodwork. Prior to Baptiste’s late goal, the Latics had actually controlled play during the second half, albeit against a team that had little reason to push forward. Wigan also had a second-half goal pulled back after what appeared to be an incorrect offside call.
“Today was extremely disappointing,” Latics manager Roberto Martinez told the team’s website after the match. ”We were excited about playing at home and looking forward to giving our fans the right performance to start the season with.”
On a personal level, I’m trying to not less this match get me too far down. I’m trying to remember that Charles N’Zogbia didn’t play, that Ronnie Stam was a substitute and that Ali Al Habsi can’t possibly do worse than today’s starting keeper Chris Kirkland.
Obviously, one lopsided loss hasn’t changed my interest in this team. It does, however, serve as a wakeup call. In watching today’s match, I know now more than ever that talent alone does not guarantee victories, especially in the EPL. At points, I was actually amazed at how quick and skilled Wigan’s players are in comparison to the players I usually watch in the MLS. I knew this was the case, but seeing two teams that could very well be fighting relegation this season really drove that point home.