Wigan produced one of their worst home performances of the season to leave them still without a home win since August against the team with the worst away record in the Premier League this season, before today that is.
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez opted to spring a surprise with his team line up, recalling Conor Sammon from the reserves, relegating Moses to the bench and starting with an unfamiliar 5-3-2 line up.
Wigan started the brighter with Beausejour again looking a good buy, firing over a couple of good crosses that went begging for a striker to finish them off,Swansea having time to make their clearances.
Swansea have a reputation for their passing game, similar to Wigans’ but sharper and much, much quicker and so it proved again today with the diminutive Britton controlling midfield and Dyer and Sinclair dominating the wings which forced Wigan onto the back foot for most of the first half. Unsurprisingly then most of the chances fell to the away side with the best early on beign created by man of the match Sigurdsson who put Dyer through . Thankfully Dyer chose to shoot when Graham was better placed and the shot was well saved by Al Habsi’s legs.
Swansea continued to press and former Wigan loanee, Sinclair thought he had scored after McCarthy lost the ball through a casual pass which was intercepted by Britton who fed Sinclair. Sinclair’s shot beat Al Habsi but McCarthy redeemed himself by clearing of the line.
Wigan were poor in the first half, out- numbered in midfield, all too often they resorted into long aimless balls up field thereby belying the passing football ethos and Sammon and Di Santo were reduced to chasing scraps. Chances for the home side were few and far between but Di Santo should have done better when he missed a Beausejour cross right in front of the goal and Boyce had a powerful header blocked by the keeper.
Wigan conceded , not for the first time this season right on the stroke of half time when they allowed Sigurdsson too much space on the left and he curled a wonderful shot past Al Habsi into the far corner, sparking a loud chorus of boos from an increasingly frustrated home crowd.
Martinez opted to attempt to re-dress the imbalanced look of the side at half time recalling two of his three benched key players into the fray with Diame and Moses replacing the ineffective Sammon and McArthur. Immediately Wiganlooked a better side and within the first five minutes with Alcaraz and Di Santo having goal bound shots saved following good work by Moses.
The momentum tapered off quickly however and with Wigan’s centre midfield continuing to under perform,Swansea gained momentum and when Dyer was upended by Moses, Sigurdsson fired the free kick into the top corner leaving Al Habsi motionless.
Wigan showed little sign of responding until a high tackle by Dyer resulted in a straight red card which seemed harsh as there was no apparent malice in the tackle. Wigan then dominated the next thirty five minutes but with the exception of the introduction of Rodallega ten minutes after the crowd started chanting his name, there was little to cheer about as despite almost total possession Wigan created very few real chances and were forced to long range shots thereby increasing the dissatisfaction amongst the home fans.
By contrast,Swansea seemed to comfortably be able to soak up the Wigan pressure and enabling their two thousand or so travelling fans to taunt their former manager with chants of “your getting sacked in the morning”.
Full time brought another chorus of boos from the minority of home fans who were still there at the final whistle and the passionless, clueless, leaderless and rudderless performance leaves Wigan staring into the football abyss that is the Championship/
Line up and ratings
Al Habsi…..6, MOM by default
Boyce……..5, given a torrid time by Sinclair
Alcaraz…….5, not his best day
Figueroa……5, looked tired
Beasusejour .5.5 faded badly
McArthur….5 lost out in the midfield battle
Di Santo…..5 tried
Diame…….5.5 worked hard
Moses…….5 a good ten mins and then faded
Rodallega…5.5 gave a spark that was sadly lacking
Martinez…3 got it badly wrong with line up , tactics and looks like he is taking us down
Photograph courtesy of Bernard Platt/Wigan Athletic FC.
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