Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Friday February 12 2010
Wigan Athletic will be seeing quite a lot of the DW Stadium in the next few weeks with 5 out of the next 7 Premier League games due to be played at home, usually a big advantage but there are fears that the state of the playing surface isn`t conducive to the style of football the Latics like to play.
In the past few home games the pitch appears to have been cutting up and becoming quite 'bobbly as matches have worn on, with Latics boss Roberto Martinez getting the players to play the passing game the state of the pitch has caused some problems.
Due to the bad winter and the undersoil heating being on almost constantly this will have softened the pitch up, once the players start to run around it quite easily cuts up and the surface becomes anything but true for getting the ball under control and playing passes.
In the last home game against Stoke City the Latics were quite dominant in the first half, controlling the game and knocking the ball around very well, but half way through the second half and the game started to change.
Due to the pitch starting to cut up the players needed a little longer to get the ball under control and the Stoke team, who play a more direct game were able to getting amongst the Latics that little bit more and put them under extra pressure and the end result saw Stoke have more possession in the final third of the game and grab an equaliser.
Speaking about the pitch afterwards both Latics player Paul Scharner and manager Roberto Martinez were critical of the state of the playing surface, Scharner said: 'The pitch was difficult to play, especially in the second half, it was hard to run with the ball to control it and keep possession"
Martinez said: "…to be honest the pitch didn't help us to get through that pressure."
Of course the Latics aren`t the only team to use the DW Stadium and with Wigan Warriors Rugby League season just started the pitch will see some extra wear and tear over the coming weeks giving further concern for the fluid football that the Latics like to play.
Home advantage is usually that but if the playing surface isn`t sorted quickly then it just might end up being home disadvantage.
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Date:Friday February 12 2010
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