Another season, another last day survival for Wigan Athletic. Tipped by many to go down every year since being in the Premiership Wigan Athletic continue to defy their critics (although making hard work of it). Now entering their 7th Season in the Premiership Wigan started the summer with rumours of young Spanish Manager Roberto Martinez being linked with the then vacant managers job at Aston Villa. Thankfully Roberto Martinez turned down the opportunity to sign for Villa and stayed at Wigan.
However, will this decision seem the right one 10 matches into the season?
Having taken Chelsea to the wire their first season in the Premiership Wigan have struggled to come out of the traps quickly in recent seasons. Wigans only opening day win came at Villa Park in 2009/2010 with a 2-0 win over Aston Villa. Having lost 4-1 against Premiership new boys Blackpool on the opening day of the season last year the pressure will be on for Wigan to make a good start.
With Wigan playing the 3 teams to be promoted Wigan can see themselves either on top of the Premiership or languishingly embarrassingly at the bottom of the Premier League with the pressure back on Roberto Martinez. Not only would 9 points see Wigan Athletic gain valuably points on their rivals, it would see Wigan having gained almost 25% of their points goal for the season after 3 games!.
Where has it gone wrong in recent years?
1. Back to Back Wins – Under Roberto Martinez Wigan Athletic have only achieved back to back wins once in 76 league games. The first back to back wins coming on the last game of the 2010/2011 season.
2. Lack of goals – The £6million spent on Mauro Boselli looks to have been a waste as he heads off on loan having failed to net in 8 appearances. Wigan did manage the most direct free kicks with 5 with the help Charles NZogbia. Season to season Wigan have struggled Wigans highest number of goals in a single Premiership season came from Hugo Rodellega and Charles N’Zogbia with 10.
3. Reliance on Charles N’Zogbia – A controversial point to make, however stats suggest that Charles N’Zogbia has been tackled 9.84 times per 90 minutes, more times than any other Premiership Player and with Roberto Martinez tactic of paying left footed players on the right Wigan lack crosses into the box, while N’Zogbia performed more dribbles than anybody in the Premier Leauge. Although Charles N’Zogbia did net 5 times in his last 7 games for Wigan.
With the imminent sale of Charles N’Zogbia Wigan will be under pressure to replace N’Zogbia and make a quick start to the season. Although with Wigan getting their first back to back wins and improved on the previous seasons tally of 38, ending the season on 42 points Wigan will have something to build on.
With a crucial first 10 matches for Wigan this could be the the beginning of a turning point or a unfortunate painful march to an early manager change.