Wigan went into this fixture without a home victory and West Ham on a fine run of form but it was the Latics who emerged triumphant. The home team controlled the game and should have won by more goals and it was only in the dying minutes that the Hammers scored a late consolation goal.
The game started with West Ham trying to unsettle Wigan with high balls to target man Andy Carroll, but it was home team who took an early lead on eight minutes with a magnificent strike by Ivan Ramis.
Ramis had turned down the chance to sign for the Hammers, so this top quality goal must have been especially galling for their fans.
The early goal gave Wigan a confidence boost and they proceeded to boss proceedings with a typically slick passing display. James McCarthy’s long-range effort tested Jussi Jääskeläinen and soon after Maynor Figueroa’s excellent diagonal pass set up Boyce who fed Maloney and the Scotsman’s strike was deflected wide. From the resulting corner Beausejour’s goal bound shot was headed away by Carroll.
West Ham did have a rare opportunity when Matt Jarvis’s curling cross evaded the Wigan defenders and Yossi Benayoun in the six yard box but Ali Al Habsi managed to make a last-ditch save.
Wigan were well on top, they were more comfortable on the ball and worked tenaciously to win the ball back when they did lose possession. The two Macs, McArthur and McCarthy and Shaun Maloney were back to their best. The returning Momo Diame, Kevin Nolan and Mark Noble were given no freedom in the midfield.
Arouna Kone was a constant threat to the Hammers back line and the often under rated Jean Beausejour had a part to play in both of Wigan’s goals. His well-directed corner on eight minutes found Ivan Ramis who produced a top quality finish. Then early in the second half after a poor clearance by Jääskeläinen, the Chilean midfielder found Franco Di Santo and then played in Shaun Maloney who fed James McArthur to fire in an unstoppable second goal from fifteen yards.
It was an impeccable team performance but my Man of the Match was Maynor Figueroa who hardly a foot wrong throughout. He won just about every challenge and played some great forward passes.
£35m on-loan striker Andy Carroll had a disappointing game but he did have a golden opportunity to pull a goal back mid way through the second half yet he failed to connect with George McCartney’s cross from only eight yards out.
Wigan’s controlled passing denied West Ham access to the ball and it was only from set pieces that the Hammer’s posed a threat.
West Ham had their best effort on target in the 92nd minute when James Tomkins effort was deflected onto the crossbar by Gary Caldwell and then in the 94th minute Tomkins headed a consolation goal from McCartney’s cross.
In his post match analysis Sam Allardyce accepted that his team were completely outplayed. Tactically Roberto Martinez had out-thought the West Ham manager and Wigan were by far the more cultured outfit. They had controlled the tempo of the game and their stylish football had prevailed over Big Sam’s long ball tactics.