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Wigan Athletic 1 - Aston Villa 2

JJB Stadium

29/12/2007

Attendance: 18,806

Latics blown away by Villa

On a day of torrential rain and gale force winds the game was never going to be about clever football but about who could adapt the best.

In the end this was our visitors who in totally dominating the second half exposed our chronic lack of depth within the squad and sent us back into the bottom three of the premier league.

Wigan named an unchanged side the only difference on the bench where Granqvist replaced Boyce.

There was still no sign of the injured Heskey nor the absent Koumas who it is rumoured on the terraces is to be moved on in the transfer window

The Latics started brightly with all the play coming down the right where the partnership between Melchiot and Valencia was causing problems for the Villa defence.

Within the first 15 minutes Valencia had fired the ball across the slippery surface into the penalty area where Bent and Sibs both contrived to miss hit the ball when unchallenged .

When the goal came it was as a result of a corner from the man of the moment Taylor.

The corner was met with a bullet header from Bramble giving Carson no chance in the Villa goal.

Indeed the header was so beautifully headed into the net that the announcer gave it to Bent no doubt assuming the goal had been scored by a striker not a defender.

Villa had very few chances in the first half to trouble Kirkland and when they did break they found the Wigan centre halves in imperious form.

One tackle from Scharner on Carew ending the strikers contribution for the afternoon. Carew appealed for a free kick but the referee Howard Webb who is by far the best referee in the premiership waved play on.

Latics were driving the ball forward throughout the first half with Brown and Landzaat out muscling Reo Coker and his teammates.

The second half saw a marked change in fortunes. Although Latics had a half chance in the 46th minutes they were on the back foot for most of the 2nd half as Villa passed Wigan off the park.

The equaliser when it came was very similar to the Wigan goal , Sibs had conceded a corner when tackling a villa player on the edge of the area the ball squirting off the pitch.

Davies rose to head the resultant corner past the stationary Kirkland.

The game carried on in the same vein and Latics previous outlet of driving down the right wing withered as the half went on.

Latics replaced the rapidly tiring Sibs with Agahowa and then replaced the industrious Landzaat with the ineffective Olembe.

Neither provided any worthwhile contribution which only served to expose the lack of depth in the squad.

The fatalistic Latics fans expected the winning Villa goal but when it came it had a degree of controversy about it.

A cross from Young which appeared to have gone out for a dead ball fell to Agbonlahor who headed into an empty net Kirkland having been left exposed once again.

All the players looked to the assistant referee but the flag stayed down and the goal stood

Latics tried to push forward in search of an equaliser but created very little other than a few set pieces which were comfortably dealt with by the Villa defence which had been pulled apart by Latics in the first half.

The final whistle was accompanied by the news that Latics had dropped into the bottom three and will have left Steve Bruce under no illusion of the task ahead of him if Wigan are to beat the drop.

Conclusion.

Looking at the squad we have only Koumas , Pollitt, Boyce and Heskey would be considered as challengers for a first team spot. 15 players isn`t enough to stay in this division

Star Player

Michael Brown

Player Ratings


Kirkland…5

Poor command of his area left him exposed for both goals. Flapped at several set pieces.

Melchiot..6

Worked hard against the effervescent Young

Kilbane…5.5

Was caught for pace time and again in the second half.

Bramble….6

Imperious in defence and scored a great goal

Scharner…5.5

Caught day dreaming several times but also pulled off several good tackles

Valencia…6.5

Sublime first half, poor second half

Landzaat….6

Worked hard and I was surprised when he was substituted as he was the main creator..

Michael Brown 8

Produced a committed performance both in defence and attack.

Taylor 7

Another good display from the young defender come midfielder, perfect delivery for Brambles goal

Bent…6

Ran himself ragged but without much quality ball. Missed a couple of half chances which cost us dear.

Sibierski …5.5

Didn`t look like adding to his three goals tally. Still doesn`t look fit

Aghahowa…4

Not good enough for this league. Offers nothing to the team

Olembe…4

Some of his passing was appalling and didn`t make one tackle in the time he was on the pitch .

Manager Rating

Steve Bruce…6/10

Motivated the team well before the start but his substitution of Olembe for Landzaat and the subsequent re-organisaiton of the midfield with Valencia moving inside and Taylor switching to the right wing is puzzling when Skoko was on the bench and would have been a straight swap for Landzaat.

The transfer window will be crucial for Bruce and Latics` future

Referee Watch

Howard Webb….9 /10

The best referee in the Premier League by miles. Lets the game flow and only books players when absolutely necessary. What is depressing is that when you compare him to the others they are exposed for being poor




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The Journalist

Writer: baskerville Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday December 29 2007

Time: 6:42PM

Your Comments

I thought we deserved at least a point
worbo
Then you'd be wrong ;-). You're spot on about the ref he did have a good game apart from the tackle on the big man. Hardly an early or even on time challenge and one that put a big big bloke on the floor who failed to get up. To be fair it almost worked, you almost cut out our only outlet. It's just a shame we put Moore on.
murph
Oh, and are you sure there's a pier in Wigan? If so...is it that area onthe way to the ground from NWestern station? Didn't see any pier!
murph
Great match report, and your right about Webb, top stuff!
VillaCrazy
Very Honest match report! Thought Villa shaded it overall as we did at least try and keep it on the floor! Wigan caused us problems mainly from corners and set pieces as yet again Carson never came for one! Come back Davis James all is forgiven! Overall a Good day out and 3 well earned points!
Villan57
Worbo please feel welcome to visit Vital Idiots any time. Its so sweet when people are man enough to come back and state they were talking complete ******...
col8
Honest match report. You need Heskey back asap. You have some good players but Valencia is a cunext tuesday. his punch on freddie was the pitts. If a villa player did that I for one would not be impressed. Anyway good luck for the rest of the season.
morky13villa
It's no disgrace to lose to Villa, they mullered us 4-4 and should be higher up the table!
merlin
 

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