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Scouting Report: Wigan | Stats & In Depth Tactical Analysis

This week Martin Lewis has a scouting report on Wigan Athletic. This will not only be interesting for Wigan supporters but also Manchester City supporters before the FA Cup Final on Saturday 11th May. In fact supporters of any club that are yet to play Wigan this season will find this in-depth tactical and statistical analysis a welcome read.

You can find Martin Lewis’ tactical report on Manchester City here: Manchester City Scouting Report – written in March 2013.

[box_light]N.B. Please note that this is not an article – the purpose of this report is just that for it to seem like a Scouting Report please take it in such a way.[/box_light]

Initial information:Screen shot 2013-05-09 at 15.32.27

  • Wigan are currently on a poor run of results, but performances are improving and are looking to regain the sensational end of season from achieved in previous season.
  • They look to play with the initiative and control the game offensively with ball possession.
  • Very good team dynamics and use fullbacks to run into the depth  behind the oppositions centre backs when Kone comes deep for the ball.

Screen shot 2013-05-09 at 00.01.23

Injury news:

Screen shot 2013-05-08 at 13.14.24

Offensive Organisation:Screen shot 2013-05-09 at 00.02.52

  • Team set up in a 3x4x3 offensively with initiate on the ball.
  • 1st and 2nd phase [short build up from the goalkeeper]: goalkeeper good with feet, centre backs split wide, Watson drops in-between them,  fullbacks high & wide to create big and open field and the central midfielders are narrow.
  • Boyce always high early in 1st phase short build up, Espinoza can drop deep if they need a spare man to have the initiative & either progress with the ball or look for vertical balls up the channel.
  • McManaman always high + wide on the fullback, stretching defence & ready to run into depth.
  • Maloney comes deep and inside movement in between lines in 2-3 phase. Inside combinations from Espinoza.
  • Show two behaviours when looking to find penetration in 1-3 phase short build ups. Either they look for progression or vertically from Espinoza (often spare man) then positional combinations up the left hand side (good left side dynamics).
  • Their second behaviour is direct and long passes from the centre backs or Watson to Kone coming deep (in between lines) to receive then play short lay off combinations to the players breaking lines.
  • Allow inside progression with the ball from Boyce in 3rd phase as he will often run out of options and ideas – losing possession of the ball & allowing quick transitions down their right hand side.
  • McArthur breaks lines from deep – inside progression from Maloney upon overlap – with McManaman on the ball Boyce will underlap. Kone coming deep triggers midfielders/fullbacks to break lines onto depth.
  • Good box entry in 4th phase, with McArthur attacking one of the post areas & McCarthy entering the edge of the box late (will attack penalty spot).
  • Quality long shots from Kone.
Allowing inside progression on the ball from Boyce, then quick transitions down the right:
2013-05-09 23.33.13

Team Dynamics:

2013-05-10 00.18.14

Defensive Organisation:Screen shot 2013-05-09 at 00.02.43

  • Team defend in a 4x3x3 with opposition in 1st phase short build up – high block- with initiate to press from the front.
  • When pressing the opposition in 1st phase [4x3x3] one winger will come inside to press the spare centre back. The nearest central midfielder will then move outside to cover the fullback that is then left as the spare man.
  • With progression from the opposition (2nd phase) they will drop to a 4x1x4x1 medium block, with initiate to press from midfield, especially central midfielders (aggressive 1v1 – fouls!).
  • With the opposition in 3rd phase they find problems with their midfield triangle and defending their left hand side, with Maloney poor in his tracking of his man.
  • This results in a McArthur having to shuffle out to cover him & Watson moving up, leaving big spaces between the midfield and defensive line – easy to exploit in front of centre backs (lack mobility to be aggressive and cover space in front of them) with inside horizontal passes from wide areas.
  • There is space behind centre backs to exploit (slow turning speed), especially with long passes in 1st phase from centre backs. Also space for pullback at byline.
  • Espinoza can be drawn high & between lines and possibility to play diagonals in 3rd and 4th phase behind him.
  • Kone and Maloney will also press back passes to the goalkeeper.


Exploiting the centre backs slow turning speed:

2013-05-09 23.41.05

Offensive Transitions:Screen shot 2013-05-09 at 00.02.55

  • Quick and direct transitions into depth for Kone dangerous, usually poor when delayed as there is poor density in their support.
  • Overbalanced defensively in counter attacks, but when they do look to produce good support in counters they often overbalance offensively, leaving them numerically unbalanced at the back.
  • Match McCarthy and McArthur if breaking lines in transition.
  • Slow transitions from the goalkeeper.

Screen shot 2013-05-09 at 00.01.33


Defensive Transitions:Screen shot 2013-05-09 at 00.03.09

  • Poor defensive transitions from Maloney, leaving the possibility to overload and exploit them on this side.
  • This often causes organisation problems in the midfield triangle as it becomes broken with the covering mechanisms used to try and balance the left hand side numerically.
  • Struggle to deal with quick transitions down the middle, as their fullbacks are often too high to get back in order to cover the centre backs. As there is no cover, the centre backs have to try and delay the counters by dropping [1v1 capacity], preventing them putting pressure on the ball till it’s too late.

Poor defensive transitions from Maloney causing their midfield triangle to break: 2013-05-09 23.35.51

After drawing McArthur out, there is space in between the lines to expose with a quick horizontal pass:

2013-05-09 23.37.35

Set Plays



2013-05-10 00.07.29


2013-05-09 23.54.24

Pattern and combination play

1st & 2nd phase patterns [1]:

2013-05-09 23.18.44

1st & 2nd phase patterns [2]:

2013-05-09 23.19.50

3rd phase patterns [1]:

2013-05-09 23.21.23

3rd phase patterns [2]:

2013-05-09 23.23.34

Long build up in 1st phase:

2013-05-09 23.24.44

Playing long diagonals or vertical passes if opposition press high on goal kicks:

2013-05-09 23.27.26

Movements in the box & box entry in 4th phase [1]:

2013-05-10 00.19.29

Movements in the box & box entry in 4th phase [2]:

2013-05-10 00.20.18


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