Wigan gained their first home win of the 2012/13 season with a two one victory over West Ham although the score line didn’t do Wigan’s dominance justice and Aroune Kone in particular will be wondering how he didn’t depart the DW Stadium with a hat trick to his name.
Roberto Martinez kept faith with the team which lost at Swansea with the only change the inclusion of defender Ronnie Stam on the bench in place of the injured Myiachi.
Wigan started brightly with slick passing movements, with man of the match James McCarthy at the centre of most of the good play and Jean Beausejour looking dangerous down the left ably supported by Maynor Figueroa. Up front Kone and Di Santo continued to grow as a partnership with Shaun Maloney buzzing all over the pitch like an angry bee, giving the away side no chance to settle into their more direct ( but no less successful usually) style of football.
Wigan are noted for an expansive passing game with which they hope to achieve the goals need to win games but the first goal unusually emerged from a set piece when following good work down the left from Beausejour, Wigan were awarded a corner , the Chilean crossed to the edge of the area from where Ramis fired a beautifully timed shot past the static West Ham defence to give Wigan the lead. This was only the big Spaniard’s second goal for Wigan, both against West Ham, the club that so nearly signed him in the summer transfer window.
In previous games this season Wigan have eased up after taking the lead and have been very quickly pegged back but in this case the lead seemed to spur the team on as they poured forwards in search of a second goal. Maloney and McCarthy both went close and Kone should have done better when beating the offside trap.
For West Ham, Carroll cut an often isolated figure up front on his own as the two Mc’s, Arthur and Carthy closed down Noble , Nolan and Wigan old boy “Momo” Diame. West Ham’s best chances fell to Carroll and Nolan but neither cause much anxiety to either the Wigan team or fans.
The only concern for the home team and fans as Mr Moss blew the half time whistle was whether the failure to convert the almost total first half dominance into more than one goal would come back to haunt the side in the second half.
They needn’t have worried for within two minutes Wigan had doubled their lead, when a poor clearance found Maloney whose incisive pass found McArthur on the edge of the area and his bobbled shot found its way though the mass of bodies into the goal and silence the large travelling away support.
The home side’s dominance continued with McCarthy breaking through the midfield at will looking to create chances for the front three with Kone especially the beneficiary although all too often the mercurial Ivorian seemed the take the wrong option, most notably when one on one with the keeper he shot weakly at the keeper.
West Ham had introduced Maiga, Cole and O’Brien at various points in the second half but Wigan looked comfortable until an injury to Di Santo resulted in a change of personnel and tactics with Watson coming on to replace him and the team reverting to a 3-5-2. This more defensive formation allowed West Ham more space to attack and Figueroa did well to head a goalbound shot onto the bar and away for a corner. West Ham secured a consolation goal their efforts didn’t deserve in time added on when Tomkins headed the ball into the net despite a despairing lunge from Caldwell.
The full time whistle brought to an end an excellent performance for Roberto’s team which secured a valuable three points in the perennial battle against relegation
Team Line up and Player Ratings
Al Habsi….7, a comfortable afternoon.
Ramis….8 , looked comfortable at the back and an excellent goal
Caldwell….7 , a steady captain’s performance
Figueroa….8 , defended superbly and attacked with purpose.
Boyce….6 , gave his all but faded in the second half.
Beausejour….6.5, an excellent first half but drifted out of the game later in the second half.
McArthur….7, defended well.
McCarthy….9, showed the class that we all know he has. Man of the Match.
Maloney….8, never stopped probing.
Kone….6.5, should have scored at least 3
Di Santo….7 , worked hard for the team
Watson…6, did what was asked of him
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