Archive for September 2010
Have to admit, I didn’t watch the match, but I was still very happy to see Wigan beat just about anybody. That this third round victory in the Carling Cup came against Championship side Preston North End hardly bothers me. The manner in which they won, requiring two late goals to overcome a 1-0 deficit, also should matter little at this point.
All I care about is Wigan not embarrassing themselves, really.
From the match reports, it appears they did their best to do just that until late. Some bad defending led to a first-half penalty and a resulting 1-0 deficit. It took the Latics until two minutes before stoppage time to find the equalizer and up until the final play of the match for Charles N’Zogbia to secure the spot in the fourth round.
With his side unable to make any match look easy, Latics manager Roberto Martinez seems to have adopted a similar stance as myself.
“We started the game in such a slow tempo, and probably didn’t give the occasion the approach it deserved.
“But in situations like this you see the reactions of individuals as men and as a team, and we were really together at the end and managed to find the solutions.”
There have been small signs of hope throughout Wigan’s season. The acquisition of Tom Cleverley seemed to be one. In his debut against Sunderland, he looked sharp and capable of making an impact.
Looks like we’ll have to wait at least a month to find out. Cleverley apparently hurt his knee in a training mishap and likely won’t return at least until the Oct. 16 match at Newcastle.
“He has a little problem with the medial ligament in his knee,” Latics manager Roberto Martinez said. “But he is a very strong, fit boy and we hope he’ll be able to heal quicker than is expected.
“In training, as you can imagine, it’s very competitive with all the talent we have in the squad.”
Wigan play Preston in Carling Cup action Wednesday.
I was out of the country last week (hey, Canada counts!), so I didn’t deem it important enough to write about Wigan’s tie with Sunderland. I didn’t watch it, but I paid attention enough to know they fell behind while a man up and then needed a 88′ strike to pull out a point. Once again, Wigan manages a baffling result.
Well, I was hoping for another baffler this week, but was sorely disappointed. The 2-0 loss to Manchester City was probably just about what you’d expect. Carlos Tevez scored early, then assisted on the second tally. Wigan looked outmatched for the most part, once again failing to must anything in front of the DW Stadium faithful.
In case you’re wondering, Wigan has played four of its first five EPL matches at their friendly confines and claimed a grand total of one point (in the aforementioned Sunderland draw) and have been outscored … wait for it … 13-1. This loss to ManCity, in which Yaya Toure did not score the second goal until 70′, qualifies as a competitive match by these standards. I’ll tell ya, I don’t want to be a fair-weather fan, but this is actually considerably harder than I had anticipated.
That Wigan has already established themselves as one of the teams that will undoubtedly be fighting relegation should come as little surprise. That they have done so with such a home-heavy schedule hardly bodes well for their future prospects.
Then again, maybe playing at home is not as much of an advantage as we’d like to think. Wigan, as you probably know, plays in front of the smallest crowds in the EPL. Their high-water mark for attendance this season was the opener against Blackpool, which drew fewer than the average MLS crowd: 16,152. Against ManCity, a team that I have to assume is considered one of their rivals, about 15,500 showed up. Judging from what I could see on video, there were nearly as many away fans as there were Wigan supporters.
Who knows, maybe the Latics actually play better on the road where they get to feel like a real-life top-division side. Their one win, against Tottenham, came on the road, after all.
So, maybe I’ve just got it backwards. Maybe the trip to Birmingham’s St. Andrews Stadium, and against the team Charles N’Zogbia could not come to terms with, is the perfect elixir.