A fantastic team performance led by man of the match Ivan Ramis allowed Wigan to climb out of the bottom three and send their noisy and very wet travelling support home happy.
Roberto Martinez opted to make three changes from the defeat at Everton on Boxing day, welcoming Ivan Ramis back into the back three with James McArthur and Ronnie Stam dropping to the bench with Franco DiSanto returning to the starting line up.
Wigan started the game with more verve and pace than in recent weeks, against a Villa side who had conceeded twelve goals in their last two games with Beausejour and Maloney linking well within the first two minutes and for the third game on the trot Wigan were denied a penalty for a blatant handball, referee Kevin Friend sparking incredulous laughter from DiSanto when indicating the ball hit an out stretched arm.
Villa’s respite was short lived however when from the Beausejour’s corner, Ramis strode into the area unmarked and his header beat Guzan and Wigan were ahead.
The next twenty minutes was almost total dominance from Wigan as quick , slick passing saw them give Villa the run around with McCarthy and Villa old boy Maloney particulary dominant. The only concern for the rain soaked away following was that this posession didnt result in a second goal especially when yet another penalty claim, this for a “Russian leg sweep”, on Maloney by Ireland went unpunished.
Latics couldn’t keep up this pace forever and this proved the case, with Villa gradually coming back into the game with Stephen Ireland constantly probing the Wigan defence for a sign of weakness but Wigan’s defence superbly marshalled by captain Caldwell stood firm, denying dangerman Bentieke any clear cut chances.
Wigan were almost made to pay for easing off when a powerful shot from Holman hit the cross bar bouncing away to safety much to the relief of the Wigan team but after that the away side managed to comfortably hold out until half time.
Wigan started the second half much the same was as the first, with Boyce and Maloney linking well and it was the former who created and finished the second goal when he broke down the right, played a lovely one two with Kone which wrong footed the home defence and the Wigan wing back kept his cool to shoot past Guzan to double the Wigan lead and send the travelling fans wild with delight.
Within five minutes it was three nil when Kone who had toiled all afternoon without any joy up until that point, ran onto a lovely though ball from industrious Di Santo and using his muscular strength to hold off the Villa defence, he then with a sublime piece of skill placed the ball into the far corner away from the dispairing dive of Guzan.
It was very much game over by then with the large home support completely silenced by the Wigan display and whilst the home side never stopped trying, Ramis, Caldwell and Figueora coped comfortably with everything the home side threw at them and indeed Kone and McManaman could have increased the lead further.
The full time whistle brought to an end an extremely satisfying performance with Wigan moving above their opponents in the relegation battle.
Team and Player Ratings.
Al Habsi….6, didn’thave much to do but his kicking was woeful
Ramis…..9, Man of the Match, a totally commited performance and fine goal.
Caldwell…..8, led by example
Figueroa…..8, defended superbly
Boyce…….8, superb at wing back
Beausejour……7, best game for a while.
McCarthy…….8.5, gets better with every game
Jones……7.5, worked hard
Maloney…..8, linked up well with midfield and the attack.
Kone……7.5, took his goal well.
DiSanto……7.5, worked hard
McArthur …..7 (for Jones ) defended well.
Gomez……7 (for Beausejour ) some nice touches
McManaman ….N/A (for Kone)
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