A disappointed, but not disheartened Swansea City made the journey back across the border last night having been dumped out of the cup by none other than the King of Traitors himself, one Roberto ‘Iscariot’ Martinez.
Now, as an outsider, I can’t claim to know the circumstances in which Bob departed 18 months ago, but one thing’s for sure: you must be joking if you think they’ve forgotten about it in certain quarters of Glamorgan. When the Swans drew Wigan away in the Fourth Round of the Carling, there was always going to be a big following from South Wales, if only just to give their ex-boss a right earful.
And that’s precisely what Martinez received. Not that he even so much as flinched at the barrage of abuse flying his way for the duration of the match (well, most of it anyway). Instead, he concentrated on maintaining his stony face and variety of gesticulations which no doubt make sense to some people. At least, the Wigan players understood to an extent because they seemed to reap some reward. Or perhaps not, and Antolin Alcaraz and Mo Diame decided to make up their own strategies off the hoof?
I doubt it though, because even though the Latics management team made copious amounts of changes for this midweek cup tie, they set out to stick loosely to the 4-5-1 that could so easily have beaten Bolton at the weekend. Some might even venture so far as to say it worked, but for the odd hiccup, which is perhaps to be expected from a back four that haven’t played together competitively for a while. It isn’t as if Latics’ defence is the strongest in the Prem at the best of times anyway, but I think we shall move swiftly on from that point.
The night also saw a steady return to action for club captain Gary Caldwell. He did make an appearance for Scotland a few weeks ago, but according to Roberto, he ‘wasn’t ready for club action’ at that point. Whether you agree with that statement or not, the fact remains this was his first club start since the construction of Hadrian’s Wall. It feels that long, anyway.
What of Jordi Gomez, the man who scored 14 times in 44 appearances for City? He got a good rollicking too, every time he got the ball. Yep, and not just from the away stand, too. Those bloomin’ eejits, the ones who call for Martinez to remove his fellow countryman from the field of play every time he so much as hesitates or threatens to pass the ball backwards, were out in force as usual to continue their personal vendetta against the man.
Of course, Gomez isn’t exactly Fernando Torres, but you can’t deny he’s improved considerably in the first part of the season, to the point my eternal annoyance with him is neutralising. In fact, he did alright last night, and has put in some good performances when it’s mattered this campaign. So shut yer trap and moan about Alcaraz falling over or something, at least it’d be slightly more amusing.
Once again, though, Mo Diame was the stand out man, especially in the first half. Victor Moses deserves equal credit for his efforts, so I’m awarding joint JWAW Man of the Match chequebook and pens to each. Or at least I would if I had such things, and that’s assuming they’d accept presents from a random bloke on the street.
We’re 600 words into this article I and still haven’t mentioned Mauro Boselli, which is somewhat strange considering he grabbed his first competitive goal for the club on 51 minutes. What a pleasant goal it was too, Ben Watson (at least I think it was him, still haven’t seen highlights so forgive me if I’m wrong) playing the ball nicely to Mauro’s feet for him to slot it past the giant Congolese international Yves Ma-Kalambay, sending the north corner of the East Stand mad.
The truth of the matter is that the Ten Million Dollar Man didn’t quite live up to his name in the first half, and continued to do so up until his strike. Only then did his confidence seem to increase, and he started to string a few nice passes together where before he would simply lose the ball and end up fouling one or more of the opposition. Will he carry this through to his league appearances? We can only hope.
N’Zogbia and Di Santo made brief appearances towards the back end of the second half and helped Latics through a tense period which saw the visitors come back strongly but ultimately with little success. Their best chance of the game came some 70-odd minutes earlier as, following a wonderful piercing through ball, they found themselves outnumbering Al-Habsi in the Wigan penalty area. However, Craig Beattie somehow managed to wander offside and blow a wonderful opportunity to seize the initiative for Swansea early on.
BBC Sport describes Latics’ victory as ‘comfortable’, but I question whether the reporter even saw the same game, because no Wigan victory could ever be described as such. I was even hesitant to use the word in the aftermath of our 2-0 victory over Wolves a couple of weeks back, because I don’t think we’ve had a comfortable win since… ever. Besides, it’s not as if Swansea didn’t put up a great fight, and were it not for Beattie’s slight miscalculation, circumstances could have been quite different. Again, it doesn’t bear thinking about, but even though Wigan just about deserved their win, 1-0 would probably have been a more accurate reflection of the game as a whole.
Oh, and the Guardian need to hire a more original writer. I’ll leave you with that piece of muppetry for the time being with the promise of more spleen-venting this time on Saturday or whenever I get the chance to sit and project my thoughts to hypertext.