In his time as England manager, Sven-Göran Eriksson often spoke of how players such as Wayne Rooney and David Beckham, whilst not constituting a team by themselves, could visibly lift the whole squad with a performance or single moment of brilliance which boosts confidence tenfold. Latics, so often touted a confidence team, clearly missed such a character this afternoon, and I probably don’t need to spell out who that person might well have been.
Though morale was relatively high off the back of a good point against title-chasing Arsenal, Wigan once again reverted to type characterised by a lack of potency, cutting edge and collective football nous. It wasn’t quite as bad as Blackpool and Chelsea, but was a performance devoid of ideas and any sort of willingness to penetrate the Newcastle penalty area.
In truth, this rather frustrating day out at the DW can’t wholly be attributed to the absence of talismanic wingman Charles N’Zogbia. Tom Cleverley and Hugo Rodallega remain men who, on their day, can turn a game in Latics favour in a moment, but neither managed to do so this afternoon. Clev struggled to reproduce the form he’s shown in the past couple of weeks, managing only one shot all game (Latics’ best and only real challenging strike) whilst Rodders was, well, a bit pants to be honest.
The game could have lasted 180 minutes and we still wouldn’t have scored, even with Martinez’s constant changing of formation. In the end, it was a case of pumping the ball into a packed penalty area in the vein hope the ball would somehow find its way into the Newcastle goal. Of course, with players more accustomed to passing the ball around than scoring goals, this was a concept somewhat foreign to the current Latics line-up and pretty much always doomed to failure. All credit to Martinez for switching things around to try new things, but there simply wasn’t the firepower in the final third.Newcastle, Premier League, Report