Wigan off the deck, beat Spurs 1-0
Just as my faith is wavering, Wigan pulls me back in. A 10-0 collective thrashing in the first two EPL matches — both at home — had left little reason for hope regarding Wigan’s chances at Champion’s League-participant Tottenham’s White Hart Lane.
I had so little hope that I actually forgot to set my alarm this morning. Maybe that was a good thing.
When I finally awoke around 8:30 a.m. PST, the game was in its final 10 minutes and Wigan was clinging to a 1-0 advantage. Watching the final 10-plus minutes was about all my heart could handle.
Wigan surrendered numerous chances, at least one of which felt like it was a sure-fire goal, but held strong to claim their first points of the season.
Ali Al Habsi got the start in goal, his first of the season, and looked to be a massive improvement over Chris Kirkland. Al Habsi had some shaky moments, but Wigan was content to play nine men in the box for much of the match and provided him relief whenever it was needed.
Roberto Martinez’s strategy finally paid off when Hugo Rodallega found an opening on the right wing and fired a low shot past the Spurs keeper.
Al Habsi was one of four changes from previous contests as Ronnie Stam, Steve Gohouri and James McCarthy all got their first starts of the season.
It’s been quite a week for the Latics. It started out with a Carling Cup second-round victory over Hartlepool. On Thursday it was announced that Wigan agreed upon a transfer fee that would send Charles N’Zogbia to Birmingham City. Then news broke that the deal had fallen apart as N’Zogbia failed to come to personal terms on a contract. His situation remains unclear.
This week has been an insane roller-coaster. It had started out with me questioning whether I could really follow a team that was as bad as Wigan when I had no historic personal investment in them. The prospect of losing our best player hardly made that any easier. Whether or not N’Zogbia returns to the fold, though, this win served as a great reminder of why I wanted to start watching EPL, and Wigan in particular.
The Latics may not be a great team (I’ve come to terms with the fight for relegation), but Martinez has an amazing ability to pull wins out of thin air. In a way, it’s even more exciting this way.