Archive for the ‘Wigan news’ Category
Well, at least we can rest assured that midfielder Charles N’Zogbia will suit up and probably start against Chelsea. After manager Roberto Martinez explained his French midfielder’s absence in the season opener by saying he was “not mentally right to play,” Martinez has shifted his opinion and now says N’Zogbia is ready.
“But he has been back to himself in training this week,” Martinez said. “And when he does that, he remains a special player for us.”
Of course, this hardly means N’Zogbia will be staying put for the entire season. Martinez actually seems to be welcoming speculation by essentially saying that N’Zogbia will be moved whenever the right deal presents itself.
Tottenham Hotspurs are the latest side to join the rumored pursuit of N’Zogbia, with Juventus, Marseille and Sunderland already supposedly in the mix.
Also worth noting, apparently goalkeeper Chris Kirkland is getting another opportunity this week. I guess there’s something to be said with Martinez sticking by his man, but I’m hoping the leash isn’t too long.
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.
This story is, admittedly, a bit old but it is worth reporting that Charles N’Zogbia will miss the EPL opener against Blackpool in order to earn his first call-up for the French national team. This likely ends the possibility that he will play for England (not that this particularly bothers me) but it does hamper the Latics efforts to start their season off right.
The move could also add some closure to the possibility that N’Zogbia will be transferred before the window closes at the end of the month. Among the teams that won’t, apparently, be acquiring the midfielder’s services are Birmingham, which should come to a relief to our friends at Aston Villa.
At some point, I guess I’ll start getting used to this stuff, but for now this stuff still amazes me: a.) a team in the same league would agree to let you use one of their players and b.) they’d just decide that they aren’t really that into the idea.
Apparently a day or two after agreeing to transfer Tom Cleverley to Wigan, ManU manager Sir Alex Ferguson has decided he’d like the 21-year-old midfielder to stick around. Here’s what Fergie had to say:
“Tom Cleverley is going to stay. He is an exceptional young player in the sense of his ability to play in different positions.
“He is such a mobile boy who can play wide on either side and in central midfield. Also, which he has showed at Watford last year, he is a goalscorer.
“Tom has got outstanding qualities as far as goalscoring is concerned, so he is going to stay.”
I’m honestly not sure how big of a loss this is, but it is a bit of a shock to the ego. I still don’t know much about Cleverley but he promised to be an interesting player to watch mature.
While Charles N’Zogbia may be on his way out of town, Wigan may have found a midfielder to replace him. Tom Cleverley has apparently been loaned to Wigan, with manager Roberto Martinez beating out several other EPL sides for the opportunity.
Cleverley is considered an up-and-coming talent, although not quite ready to earn heavy minutes for Manchester United who still owns his rights.
Among the highlights of Cleverley’s recent form was a goal against the MLS All-Stars during ManU’s match at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.
Cleverley spent last season at Watford, a Championship team, and scored 11 goals in 33 matches.
As an aside, I’d like to add that as someone who’s still rather new to the EPL this is an odd development. Basically, there is such a gap between ManU and Wigan that there’s little concern with loaning out a quality player to another team in the same league. Unless I’m missing something, Wigan will play ManU at least twice and Cleverley will likely play significant minutes in those matches. I’m trying to think of an American equivalent to this, but I really can’t fathom what that would be.
I haven’t had time to really get attached to any Latic, but one that I had fully expected to fall in love with was Frenchman Charles N’Zogbia. Unfortunately, it’s starting to look pretty unlikely that I’ll get the chance.
According to L’Equipe (via The Independent), Wigan officials have told N’Zogbia that they won’t stand in his way if he finds a more desirable location.
“When I came here, I was in a period where I wanted to relaunch myself,” N’Zogbia told L’Equipe. “Today I’m at Wigan but if tomorrow a good club with great aims contacts me, I am open.“I have talked about it with my bosses. They won’t put a spoke in the wheel.”
N’Zogbia is also set to make his debut with the French National Team when they play a friendly against Norway. Obviously, this would be a blow to Wigan’s hopes of improving upon last year’s 16th place finish. It also serves a stark reminder of what kind of battle I’m facing in terms of rooting for a lower-table side. At least it’s interesting, right?
Among his rumored suitors are Juventus, Olympique Marseille and Birmingham City.
James McArthur, considered to be a dynamic young midfielder while playing in the Scottish Premier League, has completed his signing with Wigan.
“James is a really exciting prospect,” Wigan manager Roberto Martinez said, “and we are all delighted that he is chosen to join Wigan Athletic. We are building a squad here at the DW and I see James as being another real quality addition who will add great competition in the midfield areas.”
The 22-year-old scored 10 goals in 168 league appearances for Hamilton
After a fair amount of speculation that the deal was less than iron-clad, Paraguayan national team player Antolin Alcaraz has officially signed with Wigan.
Latics boss Roberto Martinez told the club’s website: “It’s fantastic news we can confirm the arrival of Alcaraz.
“He was one of the very best at the World Cup – this is a massive boost for the club.”
The defender is 27 and should provide a boost to a side that allowed 73 goals last season.
I wrote this for the awesome 7500 to Holte blog and am reproducing here, because … I can.
Location: Wigan (Greater Manchester)
Stadium: DW Stadium (25,138), which they share with rugby team Wigan Warriors
Last Year’s Record: 9-9-20 (16th place)
League Cup: Second round (lost to Blackpool)
FA Cup: Fourth round (lost to Notts County)
The Latics rolled out some new faces for their first match since the Chelsea thrashing, and earned a 1-1 tie with Oldham.
Among the debuts were keeper Ali Al Habsi and striker Mauro Boselli.
Habsi had a rough start, mishandling a ball on the wet surface early, but stabilized after that.
Boselli had a couple quality chances, but was dispossessed after breaking free on one and having a late volley blocked.
Oldham took the lead at 15′ on a volley from Dale Stephens. Wigan equalized at 47′ after Jordi Gomez was dragged down and then hit the ensuing penalty.