Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Thursday December 22 2011
This weeks 12th Man page in the Wigan Evening Post has two contributions from Vital Latics members:
Latics very own Santa delivered an early Christmas present on Saturday when Franco Di Santo, aided by his two little helpers, Hugo Rodallega and Jordi Gomez, combined to give the Latics a point against highflying Chelsea. Franco made a sublime pass to Hugo and, after Petr Cech had failed to hold the Colombians toe poke, Jordi Gomez smashed home to send the DW Stadium delirious, it was the least that the Latics deserved from a highly entertaining game of football.
The turnaround that Roberto Martinez has instilled in this team, that at the start of last month looked dead and buried, is nothing short of unbelievable, from a side low on confidence, short on endeavour, little idea, no spark and seemingly going nowhere apart from down, the whole club is buzzing once again.
Still in the bottom three but most definitely finishing the year off on a high, the result against Chelsea was no fluke, fluent football and hard graft, complimented by some standout performances, notably Gary Caldwell, Momo Diame, Jordi Gomez and an absolute show stealer from James McCarthy had the fans in raptures, more of this kind of display and the Latics will be climbing the table quicker than Santa goes up the chimney.
Liverpool are in town today (Wednesday) and hopefully a pre-Christmas cracker will be served up, another performance similar to the Chelsea one is required and this is the key to survival, consistency, if we can build on what has been produced in the past few games, both in terms of performance and results then the immediate future is indeed bright.
A trip to Old Trafford on Boxing Day will see out the Christmas fixtures, earlier this season Martinez said 'this is the year we beat Manchester United', at the time I thought it was just bullish talk, now I'd say we have a chance to compete at least, and in the season of pantomime, who knows what will happen in Fergies Theatre of Dreams, maybe, just maybe we can pull off a surprise. Well that's my Christmas wish, please Santa.
Comeback Kids Are At It Again
Another game, another time when we find ourselves behind, and another time when we come back to pick up a point. This time it`s just the one point, but it`s against a top team in a game where competing and avoiding a mauling would have been enough for most fans. We`ve now secured more points than any other team from losing positions. This is not the work of a team destined for relegation, despite our current position in the table. Don`t worry about the table, it means nothing till next May, and by then we will be nowhere near the bottom. We`ve improved to the point where we managed to secure a point against Chelsea and be almost disappointed it`s only one. Yes, we`ve played Chelsea, had the better of the game and because of other results picked up a point on all the teams around us. Who wouldn`t have taken that if offered it, and you can`t be disappointed with that as an outcome.
We`ve now played 2 games in the dreaded December fixture list, picked up 4 points already and still have 3 games to go. One could easily get carried away, but in the middle of this mini revival was a genuine mauling by Arsenal, and that should be used as a reminder that Banana skins are never far away, especially if we`re not up to par. Every game in this league is a test, and the next game is one of the tougher ones, pass this with points though and even the sceptical can start to have hope that we can do it again.
The formation clearly seems to be working well, the team are really delivering, but for me the best thing that`s happening is the regular coming back from a goal behind. We`ve gone from a team that crumbles, to a team that never knows when they are beaten. What other teams spring to mind when you`re asked to name sides that never know when they are beaten, I bet you`re naming top sides. If we can keep this up it will be a Merry Christmas and a happy new year.
Latics and Proud
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Date:Thursday December 22 2011
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