Wigan are in desperate need of a change in results, after another game went by without picking up points when for the most part they can only have themselves to blame. Wigan were once again the creators of their own downfall against a QPR side that will be very grateful for the three goals and three points in a contest that was made too far easy for the home side by costly early mistakes from Wigan’s lack of concentration and sloppy play.
In the first ten minutes Wigan started the brightest with two glorious chances that fell to Steve Gohouri and Hugo Rodallaga inside the box but neither of them could find a solid connection to finish off the positive play. Gohouri could be excused slightly, as he probably found himself with a nose bleed being in the opposition’s box, but Rodallega can have no excuses, as a striker, for not connecting with a deadly, low cross into the box from Victor Moses.
If Wigan could have made either of these chances count then I believe they would have gained in confidence and out played QPR, who to me, are generally a poorer side. That said however it just shows that if we cannot beat sides of lesser quality, then where does that leave us? We potentially have a stronger squad and are capable of producing attractive football but this means nothing if we shoot ourselves in the foot each week by giving away soft goals.
It’s a catch 22 as our patient build up passing style often gets us into more trouble than it’s worth. The more time we spend passing from full back to full back via Gary Caldwell on the edge of our box, the more likely we are to give the opposition opportunities through misplaced passes and mistakes.
On numerous occasions in the first half the Wigan fans found themselves groaning with frustration as poor distribution led to a lack of positive penetration and we constantly gifted QPR with possession. As a result we gave away another stupid handball inside the box, this time the culprit was James McCarthy. Ali Al Habsi guessed the right way from the resulting penalty but could not stretch far enough, to his frustration, to keep out a neat finish from Helguson.
Wigan’s lack of confidence then proceeded to make things worse, as DJ Campbell went on a direct run towards goal, three Wigan players hovered around him but backed off enough to allow Campbell to gather pace until Gohouri decided that any defensive training he has ever received should be thrown out of the window and instead swung out a leg straight into Campbell’s midriff. The free kick that followed was truly unstoppable from Buzsaky, but from Wigan’s point of view this was the second time they had handed QPR the opportunity to score on a plate.
A dismal first half for The Latics, in a game that was vital in their race for survival meant that there had to be change.
The Wigan fans talking at half time knew what needed to be done, but had little hope that Martinez would do what so many have been crying out for in times of frustration and desperation… but he succumbed and released his secret weapon, only suitable, it seems, for games when we are at least two goals behind. The 4-4-2!
This change in formation also came with a change in attitude and personnel as Sammon came on to give us twice the firepower up front.
Rodallega also made a change of his own, his “football boots”. In the first half he wore bright hi-viz yellow boots and decided that a blue and pink pair would give him more fortune in the second half. Whether there was a superstitious or performance enhancing motive behind the swap, who knows, but it certainly paid off as Rodellaga unleashed a superbly struck free kick of similar quality to that of Buzsaky’s in the first half. It was game on and Wigan’s confidence appeared to be back as they were starting to get a hold on the game and found more success in the final third.
One thing that never seems to change though is referees. They are forever making poor decisions on key events in games and another example was when Gary Caldwell out muscled his opponent to win a header inside his own box and probably because the player fell to the ground, the referee Jonathan Moss made the wrong call and pointed to the penalty spot. Wigan’s hopes of getting something from the game were kept alive after Al Habsi managed get his own back on Helsguson and blocked the spot kick.
At this point you would have expected Wigan to push on for the point but the likelihood of them getting anything was made near impossible when Tommy Smith was not closed down and cannoned a long distance shot right into the top corner of the Wigan goal. That sealed the game. You can’t do much about great finishes from the opposition, but when you already have a mountain to climb after such a poor first half performance you have to wonder how we can go on playing with a 4-5-1 formation that is not producing wins.
Many Wigan fans think the main change should be the manager, but I think he just needs to use the 4-4-2 back up plan more often now until the end of the season as he recognized himself after the game, that we need to do more than just try to play good football, we need to scrap for the points. The players are just as much to blame for the stupid mistakes they have made over the season so far and they are the ones that have ultimately played us into the position we are in.
A change of luck would be welcomed but more importantly a change in approach, attitude and fight is what can get us out of this sticky situation.