Francs a lot: When it’s (not) your day…

Franco Di Santo warmup

"I think Di Santo should buy a lottery ticket tonight" -- Neil Warnock

Having had a rare chance to review Saturday’s game on that idiot box thing Peter Kay calls television, there are a few things I must mention in addition to that afternoon’s post. Taking into account both my own blatant bias and the BBC’s need to produce ‘entertaining’ television (impartiality, who needs it?), we ought to meet somewhere in the middle and produce a completely false impression of events this weekend. That’s blogs/the mainstream media for you, but I’d best cut the carp and get on with things or I might be accused of Daily Mail-esque hackery.

It was one of those games from which Wigan could easily have come away with no points – the contests you deserve to win on balance, but don’t due to lack of a finishing touch. Queens Park Rangers –and their fans for that matter– gave an extremely good account of themselves and were unlucky not to have scored. But for half an inch and the odd deflection going their way, the visitors might have had something more to cheer about. Of course, they were guilty of wayward shooting in those last ten minutes, but two solid saves from Al Habsi during that period preserved Wigan’s clean sheet wonderfully. What Match of the Day failed to show was an incident that could so easily have led to a penalty for the visitors, but the Omani just managed to palm the ball out for a corner before felling the advancing attacker.

Referee ‘Not Jamie’ Oliver wasn’t all that eager to produce cards in what wasn’t really a dirty contest, but did book both Latics central defenders before the game was over. Nothing much new there, you might think, and you’d be right. If we continue in this vein, I foresee some possible defensive problems further down the line, so it may be wise for Martinez to bring in a defender before the transfer window closes on Wednesday night. Indeed, he has alluded to this more than once over the weekend, but is understandably keeping schtum on exactly who Latics are chasing. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time we had a player stolen from right under our nose at the last minute.

Neil Warnock suggested Franco Di Santo “buy a lottery ticket” after his two deflected goals cost QPR some useful, maybe even vital away points. The ex-Blackburn man was certainly beaming after doubling his goal tally in England – prior to the game, his record stood at two goals in 58 games, and one of those was a consolation tap-in when the game was already over as a contest. When it’s your day, you really have to make the most of it, and I really think he could have had a hat-trick if Martinez didn’t bring him off soon after his second. What price on that, eh?

Though Di Santo has undoubtedly improved in Wigan’s last seven Premier League matches, it remains to be seen how he will fare against tougher opposition. Saturday, however, was his greatest day in English football by a long way, and it’s just a pity there are two weeks until Wigan’s next game and by that time he’ll probably be back to his old struggling self. On the plus side, it is a great chance for Victor Moses, James McCarthy and the hobbling army to regain some fitness in preparation for what will surely be one of Wigan’s toughest games of the season. After the international week, the real test begins – Man City, Crystal Palace and Everton away in the space of seven days. It’ll be almost four weeks until we see Latics at the DW again (notwithstanding fixture changes and the Carling Cup, of course).

Arsene Wenger

Arsene reads from an invisible hymn sheet, but for how much longer?

In all, it hasn’t been a very good weekend for the Premier League’s London clubs. Chelsea defeated Norwich 3-1, but Tottenham and Arsenal conceded thirteen between them, all to Manchester sides. Latics fans may feel particularly sorry for Arsenal, who went down 8-2 at Old Trafford, because we know exactly how it feels to lose by even worse a margin. Though MOTD2 absolutely revelled in the goalfest, I can tell you it wasn’t that interesting – who wants to see teams getting battered by such margins? Surely that’s a horrible thing for the Premier League?

Speaking of MOTD2, Roberto had a fun time antagonising Hansen and Dixon as he joined the guys for a jolly chat in the BBC studio. This should be on iPlayer at some point in case you missed it – but it wasn’t all that revealing, really. Might as well have broken out the tea and biscuits. Sounds like a good idea, actually… See you later in the week for thoughts on the no doubt highly exciting transfer deadline day.

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