Gary Caldwell’s young team gave Scunthorpe United a lesson in pass and move on Wednesday night at the DW Stadium. The Iron had no answer to Wigan’s style of play, which was reminiscent of the dominant performances produced in the Roberto Martinez days.
The opposition may not have been top drawer but Latics demonstrated how to outplay their opponents with some top quality football. The 3-0 scoreline did not flatter Latics who could have won by considerably more on the night.
Latics are still a work in progress but they produced the kind of football that had the fans purring. It has been evident in the opening games what they have been trying to achieve, but this was the first time that the team had fully clicked together.
Latics newly assembled team were nearly always quicker to the ball and slicker in their passing than their lacklustre opponents.
It was a great team performance but there were also some outstanding individual performances from the diminutive duo David Perkins and Francisco Junior. Comparisons to Barcelona’s Xavi and Iniesta may be stretching a point, but the duo displayed the type of interplay characterized by the famous Spanish duo.
Captain Craig Morgan marshaled the Latics defence superbly, while Will Grigg and Craig Davies provided the cutting edge that had previously been missing. The team’s unity was evident throughout as the players linked up well and won their individual battles all over the pitch.
Caldwell identified that Wigan’s game plan is now coming to fruition. He said,
“We’ve spoken a lot about playing from the back with Richard O’Donnell and how we have to impose our style on other teams, and right away we did that tonight.”
“There was composure, intensity and authority that showed we were in control tonight. It was important that the level continued throughout the game, and the players certainly delivered.”
Caldwell has been working to establish a new style of play and it is now starting to pay dividends. However it is still very early in the season and the Latics manager, players and fans should not get carried away just yet.
There is still a lot of work to do and the next fixture is a difficult away game at second place Gillingham, but if they can recreate this type of performance they will soon be challenging at the top of League One.
This article was first published in the 12th Man column for the Wigan Evening Post on 21 August 2015.