Tag Archives: Wigan

Wigan Athletic 1 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur: Match Report

26 Sep

So, I have been slower than rocks, only just getting around to writing about this game two days after it happened. I don’t know why I’m bothering at this point, it’s more for me than it is for you quite frankly.

I didn’t go up to wigan, but did get to see the game live, which tells you how useful the internet can be, although various commitments did mean I couldn’t pay 100% attention, unfortunately.

I hate footballing clichés, one of the worst being ‘it’s a game of two halves’, frustratingly though, cliché or not, you can’t avoid the truth. The first half saw Spurs carrying on the form we saw in the Liverpool game. Utter nomination is an understatement and I watched on thinking about whether my suggestion of another 9-1 drubbing really was out of the question. The first goal, created by Adebayor and tucked away by van der Vaart was classic Spurs, with Adebayor doing the job we all wish our forwards could have done last year; the second a corner from Modrić and a flicked header from Bale was another goal we need to see more of. The first signs that it may not go all our way and that we might be in for a tougher time was a couple of unfortunate, but glaring misses. Adebayor should have converted his near post shot from a Kyle Walker cross, while some over-complication and lack of incisiveness in the Wigan box meant other openings were not capitalised upon. Going in at half time with a dominant 2-0 advantage meant the game was going to go one of two ways.

Wigan are a tough proposition at home and despite many pundits suggesting they may stuggle, I still see them as lower mid-table candidates rather than relegation battlers as long as they retain Martinez. They proved their bottle and quality at home coming out of the blocks as quickly as Spurs had at the start of the previous half. With 5 minutes of the second half played they had their reward. Assou-Ekotto, characteristically nonchalant, but uncharacteristically wayward passed the ball forward on the edge of the box and found only the boot of Ronnie Stam, the man brought on at the break for Wigan. The ball skewed up and from Ledley’s head found it’s way to Diame, who despite his lack of goals for Wigan expertly picked his way through the Spurs defence sheilding the ball before unleashing his shot through the gap he’d manufactured for himself. It was unfortunate that we didn’t manage to chalk up another clean sheet, with Brad in a spell of consistent good form, but these things will happen. I have to admit, I think Gomes might have reached that one, but Brad provides a level of assurance amongst the defence that Gomes has never achieved.

With the score at 2-1 it looked as though we could end up allowing the lead to slip entirely. Eventually The Wigan Right Back, Gouhouri fell into the same trap that caught out Martin Skrtel last week and managed to pick up 2 yellows and an early bath for his trouble. When Bale is in this kind of form, with his explosive and powerful runs, defenders without sufficient protection simply can’t live with him. The only downside is Bale does pick up injuries and the way he ends up on the floor, grimacing and thumping the pitch is becoming an all to familiar sight. If you’re hurt, fine, if not, please don’t make such a big deal about it.

In the end we held out, with Kaboul twice having opportunities from corners and hitting the crossbar with one of his thunderous free-kicks; 2-1 seems a fair result. In reality we have lessons to learn. Games are not won until the final whistle blows and whether that’s playing keep-ball against Liverpool or becoming complacent in games like this, we need to apply the killer instinct for 90 minutes, especially while the tanks are full at this stage of the season.

Spurs’ Player Ratings

Brad Friedel 7.5
Assured and although another keeper might have got down to save the Diame goal, you just know what you’re going to get with this fella between the sticks.

Kyle Walker 7.5
Marauding runs up the right-wing are becoming a trademark and very useful with Lennon out. When he took the ball past a man and played a fantastic cross for Adebayor’s chance, he really showed what he’s capable of going forward.

Ledley King 8
The term Rolls Royce is becoming ever more frequently bandied about to describe this man. He’s no Lamborghini, but he’s the footballing equivalent of the car you keep locked up until the weekend and then take outr for a drive. Perhaps the equivalent of an old roller, the epitome of style and comfort. Perhaps sometimes the reliability will let you down, but as long as it’s driving you won’t find any better.

Younès Kaboul 8
I’m still blown away by this guy’s progress. I can tell you now, with a completely clear conscience, I was one of those who never wanted him to leave, although he had much to learn he always had it in him to be a top defender. Thank god Harry brought him back, because he’s starting to show it now.

Benoît Assou-Ekotto 7
Cool as a cucumber.

Scott Parker 8.5
Just did everything that was asked of him with the minimum of fuss and maximum effort, I am still disappointed he never found his way to White Hart Lane sooner, hopefully one day he too will admit choosing the likes of Chelsea, Newcastle and West Ham over us in the past were mistakes.

Luka Modrić 8.5 (mom)
What can you say about this guy? He might not always have the most obvious influence, he doesn’t make the searing runds or have the locker full of tricks, but he is just one of those guys who makes stuff happen. I am so glad he’s still at the club and desperately hope we can do what is required to make him want to stay; whatever that may be, not only for him, but fo all of us, a club that Modrić 

Sandro 8
Played well and could really strike up a partnership with Scott Parker, opening up the possibility of a 4-2-3-1 formation, which worked so well for Man City against us.

Gareth Bale 8
His runs drew the fouls that took Wigan down to 10 men, this is the sort of form that makes him unplayable, more of this will maintain his threat and keep Spurs in the goals. My only criticism is he keeps shooting from the left. It worked for him against Inter Milan, but his shooting angle is often tighter and the cross would be more likely to yield a goal with unmarked runners making their way into the box.

Rafael van der Vaart 8
Picked up an injury, suggesting he may have rushed himself back, it typifies the guy’s heart and dedication though.

Emmanuel Adebayor 8.5
He set up the first goal, but missed his own chance. He also played on with an eye injury, helping to dispel fears that he is something of a mercinary or may wish only to play when it suits him to do so (i.e. not playing on when injured risking further problems). What I am trying to say is, well done for the bloke for sticking with it, with no alternatives available.

Sub ’78: Giovani Dos Santos 6.5
Replaced van der Vaart, Gio deserves to have a couple of chances, especially if he’s knuckling down, he didn’t have long to make an impact, but he ‘ran about a bit’, which will always please Harry.

Sub ’90: Jake Livermore 6
Replaced King, unfortunate for him that the purchase of Scott Parker has curtailed his run in the first 11. He didn’t have time to make an impact, but he will get chances to shine this season.

Referee

Jon Moss is not a referee I am familiar with, however, he didn’t flash too many yellows and still made the big sending off decision and got it right. 8

1,360

Wigan Athletic vs Tottenham Hotspur: Preview

23 Sep

Barclays Premier League
Date: 24 September 2011 Kick-off: 15:00
Venue: DW Stadium (Wigan)

It’s nice to have another Saturday 3 o-clock kick off, although it is away again.

I’m having trouble getting genuinely excited about this game, Wigan are just one of those teams I think maybe even their own fans aren’t particularly excited about.

9-1 again? Not on last season’s evidence

Obviously a couple of years ago we achieved one of our most famous results in recent history against Wigan, indeed it has also gone down in history as the second highest Premier League scoreline ever. The game was incredible, in that at half time, we were just 1-0 up, a pretty typical scoreline for any match. We went on to score 8 in the second half, Jermain Defoe took his tally for the game to 5, equalling the Premier League’s record and Wigan were smashed, earning their consolation goal from a blatant Scharner hand ball.

We shouldn’t expect the same again. Last season, seeking vengeance, they beat us 1-0 at home and held us to a 0 – 0 draw at the DW. We are away again, but Wigan, without such fire in their bellies will hopefully be an easier proposition. I’d be happy with any scoreline which involves Spurs scoring more goals than them, whether that’s 9-1 or 1-0.

Which team will turn up this weekend?

Having started so poorly, perhaps we will finally become a side of consistency. To be brutally honest, if we lose against Manchester City, United and Chelsea and win every other game this season I would be more than happy, and that, to me would be consistent for a side aiming to finish behind those clubs. Obviously life doesn’t work that way, but as long as we are only really losing to the teams we expect to finish above us, we’ll get that 4th spot. The question is, were the hammerings against United and City more about them, or us? Our heads dropped and we’ve still not won a game in this (admittedly young) season in which we have gone behind. Last season that was our strength, goals against serving to fire us into action. whilst I hope we don’t need that type of catalyst this season, we need to respond the right way when we do concede.

This game is the most important of the season… so far

All in all then, we just need to prove we are the team we think we are and get a decent result against Wigan. Against Wigan in the 9-1 game just about every attack seemed to end with a goal, we were rampant. We could have done something similar to Liverpool last week who were abject even with 11 men. Once they were down to 9, a cricket score looked possible. In fact, as harsh as it is, what better way to stick the boot in to the body and soul of one of our big rivals for Champions League qualification this season? Liverpool are not a club who lose big and we have been on the end of some tonkings against ruthless sides in the past, it’s early in the season, I genuinely don’t understand why the players decided to switch off for 20 minutes instead of going for the throat, with a 3 million unbroken pass sequence at one stage typifying our attitude.

The good news is Ledley King is available for his 3rd League game in a row this season. His return coming at the same time as Dawson’s injury is either a spooky co-incidence or indication Harry will only use him when he has to; either way, we’ve not conceded with Ledley on the field yet this season. However, in his presser today Harry has suggested that Pav is ‘playing up’ (not in so many words) and has reported in with a hamstring injury. Harry has reportedly said ‘Pav’s not in the team because the other 2 are doing better. He’s come in today and he’s got a hamstring injury.’ Obviously he’s not been in great form so far this season, but it’s not the kind of attitude or behaviour we need and not the kind of thing Harry loves. I don’t like the way Harry seems to assume every injury is a player being soft and sometimes seemingly forcing them to play through it, potentially making the situation worse, but if Pav’s being difficult, he’s better off out of the club than in, even if it leaves us light up front.

Stuff I think about Wigan

There is very little to say about the midlands club. They have started the season very well, but there is no doubt in the minds of most football followers that they will be one of the teams battling relegation come May next year.

My general views…

  • They are quite possibly the dullest team ever to grace the Premier League! I don’t mean their football, Roberto Martinez seems to be a stand up fellow who plays the game the right way, but I can think of absolutely nothing about this team to stir any kind of reaction from me. If you attached me to a heart rate monitor and put a Wigan game on in front of me I’d be flatlining by the end of it.

Spurs’ Team News

There are a few new injuries and illnesses, with a couple of players having already come back with Rafa playing the second half against Liverpool and Sandro 71 minutes at Stoke. The details of those unavailable are as follows: –

Injuries: William Gallas, Steven Pienaar, Danny Rose, Niko Kranjčar, Roman Pavlyuchenko.

Doubtful: Benoît Assou-Ekotto, Aaron Lennon.

Wigans Team News

Injuries: Hugo Rodallega, Steven Gohouri, Antolin Alcaraz.

Doubtful: Emmerson Boyce.

Prediction

So following some over-optimism at the start of the season and pessimism in the following two games, I think I have reached the middle ground of realism. I hope so, because otherwise I’ll be lost in the abstract world of impressionism, which is no use to anyone. So, I am going to go for a 3-1 Spurs victory. We are away, so perhaps I should say 1-3 for accuracy, but I’ll stick with listing the Spurs half of the score first for consistency.

1,043

%d bloggers like this: