Wigan Athletic served up what was arguably their most complete forty five minutes in the first half yesterday with a dominant performance which destroyed their opponents Birmingham City.
Wigan manager Uwe Rosler opted to retain the same starting line up which ground out a nervous victory against Blackpool last weekend but there was not of the uncertainty of last week’s performance as Wigan superbly led by transfer target James McArthur tore into Birmingham from the off.
Wigan’s first real chance came within the first minute when a cheeky back flip from Cowie following good work from Taylor fizzed narrowly wide of the post.
Not for the first time this season Wigan’s key attacking asset was Callum McManaman whose willingness to switch flanks and attack the Birmingham defence was evident all afternoon. This attacking prowess bore fruit within the first ten minutes when McManaman received the ball on the edge of the penalty area. He twisted and turned beating two defenders all ends up before firing the ball into the far corner of Randolph’s goal.
Birmingham had no answer to the skill of McManaman nor the creativity and industry of the Wigan midfield with McArthur showing no ill effects of the aborted transfer move to Leicester.
WIgan continued to dominate possession and drove forwards in search of a second goal and Birmingham almost gifted this to Wigan when a short back pass from Randolph’s defence fell to Riera but the Birmingham keeper just managed to keep the ball out.
Wigan soon made it two when left wing back Andrew Taylor who is improving with every game latched onto a pass from McArthur and fired an unstoppable shot from the left hand side of the area, the ball hitting the far post and ricocheting into the back of the net. Wigan continued to probe with Emrys Huws constantly probing to seek weaknesses int he away sides defence and with one such feint he found McManaman on again on the left hand side of the box and the young striker curled the ball past Randolph to give Wigan an unassailable lead.
Wigan made a half time substitution, replacing the imperious Ramis with Barnett and for the first fifteen minutes Wigan seemed content to sit back and defend their led, allowing their limited opposition to try and get back into the game. Their best chance fell to Rosler’s former charge Clayton Donaldson but the forward could only direct his header into the welcome arms of Carson in the Wigan goal. Wigan’s tactic of defending deep seemed to be to the chagrin of Wigan manager Rosler who was almost apoplectic in encouraging his team forwards. Wigan responded to Rosler’s exhortations and upped the tempo, forcing Birmingham onto the back foot as they looked to increase their lead. The fourth goal eventually came when Waghorn who had replaced the ever willing Riera showed great anticipation and fired home an exquisite cross from Maloney. Another half chance fell to Waghorn who was denied in a goalmouth scramble and when Birmingham did create a clear cut chance they were denied by a superb point blank double save from Scott Carson. The final whistle brought to an end a superb team performance based on pace industry and total commitment and with the parading of prospective new signing Andy Delort prior to the game the future for WAFC suddenly looked a lot brighter.
WAFC Line up and ratings
Carson……7, dealt with everything thrown at him which wasn’t much.
Perch……….7.5, Caused problems marauding down the right flank.
Boyce……..7, Solid and reliable
Ramis……..7, cool and confident, withdrawn
Kiernan……7, growing in stature with every game.
Taylor…….7.5, his best game in a Wigan shirt capped with a fine goal.
Huws……..7, a fine attacking performance.
McArthur….9, MOM , a superb all round performance.
McManaman….8.5, a threat all afternoon capped by two wonderful goals, withdrawn.
Riera…….7,a tireless worker, withdrawn.
Barnett ( Ramis)……..7, slotted in with ease.
Waghorn (Riera)……….7, showed great anticipation for his goal.
Maloney(McManaman),…7, showed some fantastic skill.
Match Rating…..8/10 An excellent performance.
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