Wigan. Oh dear, what an escape. 19th on the last day of the season, a narrow win at Stoke, along with other results going their way, ensured them EPL football for yet another season in 16th place . To go along with their squeaky bums, Wigan also held the honour for biggest home defeat – 6-0 to Chelsea in the middle of August, and lowest attendance of the season, with only 14,000 showing up to their home game against Wolves. Only Birmingham scored less than Wigan’s 40 this season, and only 4 teams conceded more than their 61, but with 7 clean sheets from newly signed keeper Ali Al-Habsi. With a win percentage of only 23.68% (9 wins), only Birmingham and West Ham won less. Some more bad news – Wigan came 16th in the disciplinary table as well, with 68 yellows and 4 reds – only Bolton, Arsenal and Manchester City acquiring more points.
Top scorers for the season were N’Zogbia and Rodallega, both with 9, while Watson, McCarthy and Cleverley all chipped in with 3. Assist wise, N’Zogbia also led the way, with 8 assists, and Di Santo and Diame trailing behind on 3 apiece. Truly then, Wigan were a one man team last season. A pass completion rate of 73% puts them in the average category, and as is the usual for bottom 10 team, they won just under half of their possession duels – 2189 to 2243. The same stats come out of the aerial duels, where they lost 514 out of 980. Positively though, they won more than half of their attempted tackles, winning 665 out of 914 (72.76%).
N’Zogbia managed 53 shots all season from 34 total appearances, making a goal every 5.8 shots. This was better than Kenwyne Jones of Stoke, who also managed 9 goals, but from every 8.6 shots he took. Also, compared to Berbatov at 3.95 shots per goal, it doesn’t stack up to badly for a midfielder. Rodallega on the other hand, only managed a goal every 11.2 shots, which shows while he is willing, he might have been playing with a floater. Al-Habsi conceded 49 goals in 34 games – 1.4 goals per game, compared to Kirkland’s figures of 12 conceded from 4 – 3 per game. Considering Al-Habsi kept all 7 clean sheets, no wonder Martinez thought £4million was a reasonable figure to replace Kirkland.
So if N’Zogbia leaves as is presumed, what does that leave Wigan with? A good, if young midfield, an over enthusiastic striker, a very good keeper and a decidedly average backline, as far as I can see. With no other signings so far, this could be a very lean season for the Lactics.