It wasn’t a very eventful Premier League Boxing Day in terms of goals and spectacular wins and all that, a point mirrored in the Wigan-Blackburn game yesterday. Well yes, there were two goals, but it wasn’t exactly one for the purists.
I will concede that, at times, the match alluded to end-to-end action, especially in the second half when Wigan started to appear at the match. If I’m honest, the first 45 minutes lacked that spark which only reared its head after the second goal, Wigan’s first.
For this reason, I shall largely gloss over the first half, which saw Blackburn take the lead through Benni McCarthy, a few shots blazed over the crossbar and some bloke in a chicken suit.
Well, what did you expect? It was Boxing Day, and of course the silly suits were out in force for Latics’ annual festive fancy dress competition. King Henry VIII won out, with Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men getting a runners-up spot and a place in the programme for the Aston Villa game on 9th January.
Enough jollities, though, because with a whole half of football left to play, there was still a match to be won and lost. Latics emerged from the mid-session interval (to use a snooker term) with a slightly more positive outlook, and seemed to find their feet fairly quickly. This led to a Hugo Rodallega header finding the net on 53, and a renewed vigour about Wigan’s movement.
Chances followed at either end, with golden opportunities falling first for Jason Scotland (will he ever score?) in a one-on-one showdown with Paul Robinson, then Benni McCarthy, whose acrobatic attempt was repelled by a decent reaction save from Chris Kirkland. The latter came with but minutes to go, and would have all but sealed the three points for Blackburn, so I suppose Wigan could count their blessings they didn’t come away with nothing.
There is a distinct pattern appearing in Wigan’s season, characterised by the inability to edge those games that could go either way. On only a handful of occasions — Sunderland and West Ham spring to mind — have they managed to capitalise on chances to snatch the points, which as we all know will be oh-so-crucial come May.
I would have said 20 points at New Year gives us a solid base to build on, and with the transfer window around the corner things could well pick up in the New Year as Wigan settle down to some sort of consistency. The Bolton postponement and yesterday’s draw put paid to that, but here’s hoping the Trotters game will be played when Jackson Martinez is putting them away for fun in February.
This is, of course, assuming that we don’t get a shock point against Manchester United. Well, you never know, eh?