Writer: Niall Owens
Date:Sunday April 29 2012
The Latics produced a breathtaking performance on Saturday afternoon, to move three points clear of the drop zone.
Four first half goals were enough to see off the inform Geordies who were simply outplayed and outclassed, on what was by far the best display of the season from Roberto Martinez. Many will consider this perhaps the greatest performance in the club`s Premier League history.
Martinez made one change from the side that fell short at Craven Cottage last weekend and brought back Shaun Maloney instead of Jordi Gomez.
Within fifteen minutes the Latics were ahead, a fantastic cross from Emerson Boyce was met by reported want away man Victor Moses, who from a standing start beat Mike Williamson.
Two minutes later the lead was doubled, PFA Team of the Year member Fabricio Coloccini had a afternoon to forget, as he made a hash of clearing Jean Beausejeour`s cross and Moses coolly dispatched emphatically.
The visitors were not given a moment`s peace as the Latics continued to press with the midfield duo of James McCarthy and James McArthur winning the midfield battle against the highly rated Cheick Tiote and Yohan Cabeye.
The third goal came as result of the some wonderful precise and clever movement and play involving McCarthy, Beausejour, Maloney and Franco Di Santo. Who played a delightful angled first time ball into the Scottish international, Maloney who finished off from an acute angle past Tim Krul.
The former Chelsea man Di Santo got himself on the scoresheet with a contender for goal of the season. He battled in the heart of the midfield to win the ball and took his time to delightfully chip the despairing Krul to cap off a simply wonderful first half, which will live long in the memory.
The second half was about ensuring that the Latics preserved their lead as goal difference could well prove to be a crucial factor in the next couple of weeks. Di Santo and Maynor Figueroa linked up well and nearly made it five, and some smart stops from Krul ensured that the score was kept down.
The much talked about Newcastle frontline finally sparked into action in the second half but were unable to find that killer touch. Papiss Cisse striking the woodwork twice and Ali Al Habsi denied him when he was through on goal.
Hatem Ben Afra was a threat in the second half but ultimately was left frustrated as he went close on a couple of occasions but was kept quiet for the majority of the afternoon.
Substitute Conor Sammon was unlucky not to get amongst the goals as he raced through on goal in the final stages, but was denied by Collocini`s last ditch challenge.
Speaking after the game Martinez expressed his delight: "We played really well, and today we had that belief, that arrogance in the last third and the finishing was outstanding.
"This month has been the biggest month, the biggest football statement by our football club in our history, playing against Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle, this is for everyone to be pleased with the performances we have put in."
The Spaniard will do everything in these final weeks to ensure that all of their hard work doesn`t go to waste and is prepared for the last push: "There is huge work still to be done our aim is to stay in the league, the reality is that we haven`t got enough points, we have two more big games, two cup finals to come, but today is a day to enjoy the result and then get ready for Blackburn next week."
In what was a delightful display, by far the best of the season at the DW, which is just reward for the long suffering fans who have stuck with their team through thick and thin, including a run of 8 straight defeats. At times they were unplayable and on their day as proven of the last few weeks they can beat anyone in the league.
Martinez will be delighted with the way his side have responded to last week`s set back and firmly have their destiny in their own hands.
They will be keen to build on the feel good factor following this result, which now sees them move to 37 points and will act as a real catalyst heading into the Blackburn game and then finishing at home to Wolves on the final day of the season.
To read more from Niall visit his blog: laticsinanutshell.blogspot.co.uk
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Date:Sunday April 29 2012
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