Wigan played out a goalless draw against Aston Villa at the DW Stadium on Saturday and despite controlling long periods of the game they lacked the killer touch to overcome a Villa team that appeared lacking in confidence.
Roberto Martinez retained the same starting line up from the victory at Bolton, while Alex McLeish’s team were missing the injured captain Richard Dunne and striker Robbie Keane was playing his final game before returning to his host club Los Angeles Galaxy.
Latics dominated the early proceedings with former Birmingham winger Jean Beausejour instrumental in their best attacks. On several occasions he put the ball into dangerous areas but no Wigan player could convert the crosses.
James McCarthy did have a good opportunity from a Victor Moses cross but as he was about to shoot Emmerson Boyce unfortunately got in his way and the ball was cleared away to safety.
Beausejour’s corners were also causing problems for the Villa defence, and from one such corner Gary Caldwell acrobatically volleyed over when he looked odds on to hit the target.
Wigan were not completely having it their own way however, the lively Robbie Keane had a shot tipped around the post by Ali Al Habsi and then Keane played in Darren Bent for a one-on-one with Al Habsi, but fortunately for Wigan Bent played the ball against the keeper’s legs and the opportunity was spurned.
Despite all of Wigan’s possession and creativity in the first half they never really posed a serious threat to the Villa goal.
The second half continued with Wigan having the territorial advantage and Villa looking like a side content with a point. As the game progressed Villa’s three thousand followers seemed increasingly frustrated that they were being outplayed by the Premier League’s bottom side. Chants of ‘McLeish Out’ emanated from the Villa fans as Wigan pushed hard for the winner. Villa’s distress got worse in the 78th minute when Darren Bent went down injured after an innocuous challenge by Alcaraz and was carried off on a stretcher.
Wigan had three good chances to win it before the end. Substitute Hugo Rodallega shot straight at Given from a good position and then fired just over from outside the penalty box before Franco Di Santo had his low drive expertly tipped around the post by Given.
Wigan had been the better side for long periods, dominating possession 60/40 and producing 18 shots to Villa’s 10. But once again their lack of a cutting edge meant they were unable to breach the Villa rearguard. If only Wigan had a proven goal scorer in their ranks, a player who could finish the chances they are creating, they would now be sitting comfortably in a mid-table position.
Last season Hugo Rodallega and Charles N’Zogbia both scored nine league goals but currently Wigan’s leading scorer is Franco Di Santo with a paltry four. Unfortunately as we were unable to sign a striker in the January transfer window, we must now find a goalscorer from within the current squad. We desperately need Rodallega to recapture his goalscoring form and the other forwards, Di Santo, Moses and Sammon to start hitting the back of the net on a regular basis if we are to survive.