Wigan slumped to their seventh consecutive Premier League defeat as Fulham undeservedly snatched the points on Saturday. The home team dominated possession throughout and created numerous chances against a Fulham team who had previously not won away on their travels this season.
Wigan started in positive fashion with David Jones going close twice before Ben Watson drew an excellent fingertip save from Mark Schwarzer. Soon after Gary Caldwell had a free header from a corner and Victor Moses deflected shot was luckily saved by Schwarzer’s foot.
It was looking as if it was only a matter of time before we scored. However, against the run of play it was Fulham who broke the deadlock. Bobby Zamora chased a long ball out of defence and crossed for Clint Dempsey to score despite Al-Habsi getting a hand to the ball. The team in blue went into the half-time break wondering how they were behind.
The second half started in similar fashion with the Latics almost permanently camped in the Fulham half. Victor Moses hit the angle of post and crossbar and Maynor Figueroa the post with Schwarzer well beaten on both occasions. In between these attempts Zamora had produced a minor respite for the Cottagers when his shot clipped the top of the crossbar.
Martinez made a couple of tactical changes by withdrawing Boyce and Crusat and introducing Stam and Di Santo. Wigan’s territorial dominance continued but the final killer pass and finish was not forthcoming. In the dying minutes, as we pressed for an equaliser, Dembele broke through the defence unchallenged before placing his shot past Al-Habsi to complete the scoring.
The statistics show that the result was a travesty of justice, Wigan had dominated the game with 19 shots against Fulham’s 6. Possession was 62/38 in Wigan’s favour.
Roberto Martinez was understandably incredulous in the post-match interviews. How had Wigan contrived to lose despite such domination? Martin Jol conceded that Wigan had at least deserved to get an equaliser. But also made it clear that taking your chances is so critical at this level.
In looking at the two sides, it is evident that Fulham have several players who will regularly score goals in the Premier League, Bobby Zamora, Andy Johnson and Clint Dempsey. Whereas Wigan are still struggling to find a regular goalscorer. This season we have only scored six goals with Di Santo grabbing three, Diame two and Watson one, with both Rodallega and Moses yet to score.
In the last two games in particular we have created numerous chances but unless we have the forwards who can finish, we will continue to struggle. It is now becoming critical that we find a player who can finish off the numerous chances that we are creating.
Following the defeat the keyboard warriors were out in force on Saturday night – full of vitriol and looking for a scapegoat. Roberto Martinez is their main target, a man who is demonized for not doing as they say, a manager who is apparently ruining their Saturday afternoons.
Yet these people have little understanding of professional football, the tactics, the finances and the responsibilities involved.
It is important that these keyboard warriors should not be given any credence, their attempts to drive Martinez out of the club should be treated with disdain.
Roberto Martinez will be hurting after this result. There is no doubt that he has the best interests of the club at heart and he will do everything in his power to turn around our current form.
We have gone through similar bad spells in the past and there is no reason why we can’t get through this current period and kick-start our season.
Next up are Wolves, another team struggling for points, something has got to give, let’s hope it’s a win for Wigan and a turning point in our season.