Halloween may have come and gone, but Wigan Athletic’s form remains scary. After the Latics’ 3-1 away loss to fellow strugglers Wolverhampton Wanderers, the losing streak has stretched to eight Premier League games. With a potentially brutal Christmas period (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United), Wigan will certainly be hoping for early gifts against Blackburn Rovers and Sunderland this November.
Roberto Martinez’s men didn’t fail to perform against Wolves. As a matter of fact, they produced some gilt-edged opportunities. However, the inability to convert them was nothing short of embarrassing. Enter Mr. Hugo Rodallega. Continuously, and somewhat inexplicably, linked with a move to Arsenal, the Colombian fluffed two great chances. The first chance resulted in a rather languid strike straight at Wolves ‘keeper Wayne Hennessey. However, it was Rodallega’s second miss that had Wigan fans resembling The Scream. After perfecting ball control, Rodallega only had the goalkeeper to beat. Nevertheless, he also succeeded in beating the post. Quite rightly, Roberto Martinez was left to rue his side’s missed chances.
It is widely perceived, when a team is withering in the dark depths of the Premier League standings, fortune is not in favour. Having said that, it took Wolves little time to punish Rodallega’s inaccuracy. A combination of Hennessey’s big boot and Kevin Doyle’s dexterous wing-play concluded in an emphatic finish from Jamie O’Hara. Most certainly, a what-could-have-been story if only Rodallega had scored 30-40 seconds before Wigan conceded.
Credit must be given where credit is due. Wigan Athletic earned it, rallying after going a goal behind. Stephen Hunt illegally halted a buccaneering run from Emmerson Boyce, which, consequently, resulted in a penalty being awarded to the Latics. Nevertheless, Ben Watson wasn’t one to ease the Wigan fans’ blood pressure. It was rather more to relief than joy that the midfielder was able to dispatch an easy rebound after his initial poor penalty was saved. Half-time and the teams could not be separated.
By full-time, Wolves were the victors. Wigan produced as many chances as their relegation-battling counterparts, but too many efforts were spurned. David Edwards and Stephen Ward took the plaudits and, more importantly, gave Wolves an unassailable 3-1 lead. A fantastic win for Wolves and Mick McCarthy, especially after some recent public unrest.
Clearly, Wigan’s problems don’t all lie in attack. So far this season, the Latics’ defence has looked susceptible to any threat posed. Arguably, Wigan succumbed to three soft goals. Yet, without the brilliance of Ali Al-Habsi, Wolves may have scored more. Shockingly, it may have been a scoreline, which Wigan Warriors fans are more familiar with.
Unfortunately, another defeat comes with a question mark over Roberto Martinez’s head. The manager has shown loyalty to Wigan, but, obviously, there is no room for sentiment. A string of successive losses has left some Wigan fans joking about relegation already. Nervous laughter ensues.
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