Date:Tuesday March 30 2010
So, we've got few games left now and it is going to be a particularly uphill struggle to survive in this league, but we do have some fairly decent fixtures left which we could take something from, no disrespect intended to those teams, of course.
Wigan started the season promisingly with a 2-0 win over Aston Villa and signalled what could be an interesting season for Wigan - however, it was a cruel statement of things to come after. Wigan lost successive games but bounced back with their good 1-0 victory over West Ham United.
Following on from that victory, another poor result followed, but then something happened which even the most die-hard Wigan fan didn't expect. We defeated a top four side for the first time in our history and it sent massive shocks through the footballing community. About time, too.
Man City then came to the DW Stadium some time later and we managed a 1-1 draw with them. It was a good, all round performance which promised much. Unfortunately, the same thing could not be said about the reverse fixture, which I will discuss in more detail later in the article.
Wigan managed what nobody else so far had done - break down the fortress that was Turf Moor and leave with a valuable 3-1 victory. Unfortunately, after this victory, the tide turned for Burnley and they've been suffering ever since the loss of Owen Coyle to Bolton Wanderers. It was a cruel blow for the Clarets and one which may yet cost them their Premier League status.
As per usual, defeated succeeded victory but we followed this up with a reasonable draw with Fulham, who prove to become a tough opponent under Roy Hodgson and who has done a creditable job with them.
What happened next sent the team and everyone associated with it to an all time low. Our infamous result at White Hart Lane. At half time, we were in a respectable position, but as Harry Redknapp said, it was just one of those days where luck wasn't on the away side, but to concede the amount of goals we did was hard to take.
However, following on from that, the team were determined to put that day behind them and beat Steve Bruce's Sunderland outfit. Bruce left Wigan under a cloud last season but came back to an unfortunate defeat for his side. Despite victory, the previous week still left a bitter taste in the mouth.
Birmingham served up an away win at our ground and we just couldn't put back-to-back wins together. It is a very odd trend but it is something that the fans have unfortunately come to accept, but that trend will end sometime. It has to.
The Britannia proved the next obstacle to overcome and the team came away from the stadium with a very creditable draw. Its not an easy stadium to go to as many teams have learned to their cost.
Wigan then put in a respectable performance at Anfield but left with nothing but a solitary effort from Charles N'Zogbia.
However, the following week they managed a lacklustre 1-1 draw with Blackburn. Having twice turned them over in the previous two seasons in a convincing fashion, there was nothing convincing about this game but the team managed a point out of this game.
Wigan travelled to their bogey team Manchester United and the result was all too predictable.
However, Wigan bounced back with a good, comprehensive victory over Hull City. Hull opened the scoring but Charles N'Zogbia almost single-handedly terrorised the Hull team and earned a valuable victory in their cup run.
At this point, Wigan begun to become a team that were in a spot of relegation trouble. Their next game was crucial against Wolverhampton and they walked away from that game convincing winners. Again, winger Charles N'Zogbia providing the architecture for a good away win.
Wigan almost received a shock defeat at Meadow Lane but thankfully, the score finished 2-2 to keep their cup dream moving along nicely.
Next up, Wigan went to Ewood Park where they were on the end of a 2-1 defeat. Morten Gamst Pedersen and Niko Kalinic providing the damage. Gary Caldwell was showing promise, however, plus he notched a good goal for the away side. It was the all too familiar tale of taking positives from a game yet leaving the wigan faithful with a bitter taste in their mouths after months of difficult transition under Roberto Martinez.
Everton visited the DW in which they left 1-0 winners though it was fairly harsh on the home side. Had the home side shown more composure, Everton would've been on the end of a possibly heavy defeat but as it was, it was just one of those days. Taking the positives yet getting nothing for it.
What happened next was even more embarrassing than the poor result at White Hart Lane. Notts County put us out of the cup in dramatic style to pick up a deserved 2-0 away win. It was a very poor night for all concerned.
However, the team did restore some pride with a creditable 1-1 draw with Sunderland. Mohamed Diame scored a beautiful goal which was cancelled out by a trademark Kenwynne Jones equalising header.
Wigan had two home games that followed. Wigan picked up a decent home point against Stoke City in a game which some might argue, were somewhat lucky to get a point from as in the end, Stoke piled on the pressure. The Bolton game was drawn as well, but at 0-0. The game was by and large a dour encounter yet if luck had been that little bit kinder to the home side, Bolton would've been on the end of a narrow home defeat. Again, Charles N' Zogbia was the architect of a near-win for the home side.
The next two games were forgettable as Tottenham came to the DW Stadium to try and keep the race for fourth well and truly alive and they did that with a 3-0 away win. However, the game was shrouded in controversial circumstances. If such circumstances never occurred, it might have been such a different result. Jermain Defoe was the architect of chaos and rubbed salt into already raw wounds, especially since it was he who scored an extremely controversial goal. Once more, it proved luck was not with Wigan and the fans were becoming increasingly frustrated.
Wigan wanted to put right their defeat at home by Birmingham by defeating them at home - unfortunately, this was not the case as yet again, the away side were controversially beaten by a very poor penalty decision awarded against Mario Melchiot.
However, the misery was not set to go on for much longer as Liverpool came to the DW Stadium to try and get back on course for fourth spot. Unfortunately, they were a pale shadow of what they really are and when Dirk Kuyt made a horrible mistake, Emmerson Boyce took advantage and crossed a ball for Hugo Rodallega to stick into the back of the net.
The next game at the Reebok was a very much forgettable affair as we suffered a 4-0 defeat by a Bolton side who found goals difficult to come by and who were now managed by ex-clarets boss, Owen Coyle. Had it not been for his appointment, the future might have looked bleak for Bolton but their gain could well yet turn out to be a hammer blow for Burnley, who appointed Brian Laws in the hope of keeping them in the league - so far, it hasn't been an inspirational choice, which is a shame, since Burnley made such a promising start to the season. Yet, the season is not over and there are twists and turns to come yet.
Wigan suffered a narrow 1-2 home defeat to Aston Villa. Gary Caldwell had hit the headlines before the game and he duly answered his critics by heading home a brilliant goal to equalise but unfortunately, that man James Milner added the winner in the second half to seal Aston Villa's victory.
Now it was make or break for Wigan who had Burnley at home and as the clock reached its final few moments, Victor Moses crossed for Hugo Rodallega to head the ball past Jensen to get a priceless win, despite the result being harsh on a bright Burnley team.
Wigan went to Man City next whom they have a proud record against but in the end, Gary Caldwell was harshly sent off and that inspired the home side to win by three goals - it shows how far City have come in recent years. However, the reaction of some to the events of the game, it has to be said, was absolutely diabolical. Also, controversial referee Stuart Attwell had a really poor game and those decisions which he had against the Wigan team could prove very costly.
Much has been made of the season that Wigan have had and in fairness, it hasn't been so bad. It could have been so much worse and there have been more lows than highs but we are in a critical stage and if Martinez can get it right, we could be a very interesting team to watch next season, not that we aren't always, of course.
Nevertheless, there has been a lot of criticism put to the team yet everyone associated with Wigan continues to hold their heads up high and in the end, it is only they who show themselves up.
Our next games may define our season and I've decided on how I think our season could turn out. I think we'll stay up, but it'll be a very tough ask. Everyone more or less has Portsmouth and Hull as the games we need to win but those will be very tough indeed and Portsmouth have nothing to lose and will be dangerous. Hull have everything to lose and will provide stern opponents. I think we could get something from the other games, but we'd need to be at our very best.
Fulham 1 Wigan 0
Wigan 1 Portsmouth 1
Wigan 0 Arsenal 2
West Ham 1 Wigan 0
Wigan 1 Hull 0
Chelsea 2 Wigan 1
I see us getting 4 points out of the last three games. I do believe we'll do just enough to stay in the league and if we do, hopefully we can move forward and build for next season.
UP THE LATICS!!!!
Date:Tuesday March 30 2010
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