Date: 4th March 2009 at 11:14pm
Written by: Baskerville

Wigan welcomed back Valencia and Mido as they looked to end a run of seven games without a win. Both went straight into the starting line up as Bruce searched for the goals that have deserted the team since the departure of Heskey and Palacios in the transfer window.Scharner and Kapo were relegated to the bench.

WIgan started brightly with most of their creative play coming from their record buy N’Zogbia who gave Neill a torrid time. For all Latics’ early effort Robert Green was only troubled twice both from set pieces, one each from Mido and N’Zogbia.West Hma were lethargic in the first twenty minutes but as the half wore on they came more into the game, which was bad tempered and with Mr Attwell the referee giving an ineffectual performance, it was never going to be for the faint hearted.

The only real quality in the match unfortunately came from the visitors, a sweeping move left the Wigan back four chasing shadows and a clean finish from Cole gave the Hammers the lead.

Wigan are notorious at failing to break down teams, who sit back and defend and so it proved again. Latics quite simply were unable to provide one through ball or flick on to the willing Mido or the lacklustre Zaki who seems to have given up hope of ever scoring.

Latics seemed to be given some hope by Mr Attwell when Cole who had already been booked committed another foul which didn’t seem worthy of a card. Mr Attwell saw it differently and Cole was off.

Even then Latics seemed clueless, Figueroa and N’Zogbia looked our most potent threats but West Ham covered well and no clear chances were created and all Wigan had to show for their efforts were two long range shots from Cattermole easily saved by Green.

The second half started in the same vein, with the tackles flying in fast and furious. Neill was lucky to stay on the pitch after an horrendous tackle on Cattermole, who five minutes later did something similar and earned a straight red.The over reaction of Parker on the floor, plus the other Hammers players seemed designed to get Cattermole sent off and it worked.

In my opinion the referee was right, it was a bad tackle and worthy of a red and isn’t the first time he has done this . He really needs to sort his technique out.

At ten aside it was to be hoped the game would open up but Wigan, once again lacking and creativity in centre midfield, seemed incapable of pressurising the Hammers back four. All too often passes went astray, with Valencia looking sluggish in his first game back.

Bruce introduced Rodellaga and Scharner in an attempt to change things, around replacing Zaki and Brown respectively. Rodellaga looks the part, as he was the first Wigan player to trouble the opposition. Several times he almost got through and one spectacular overhead kick just went narrowly wide.

Wigan huffed and puffed but the final whistle brought the unwelcome statistic of two goals in eight games and four points out of twenty four

Steve Bruce called on his players to show their intent over the next three games. On this showing it would appear the only time they want to spend in Europe is on a beach.
On this form we should be looking over our shoulders as the teams below are catching up

Player Ratings

Chris Kirkland…6/10
Couldn’t be faulted for the goal and one good save with his feet

Mario Melchiot…5/10
Poor going forward and gave too many poor passes

Maynor Figueroa…7/10
Bets on the day but little competition

Titus Bramble…6/10
Along with Boyce was caught out for the goal

Emerson Boyce…6/10
See Bramble

Lee Cattermole…4/10
His reckless tackling has cost us his services for three games and the next yellow will cost us another two. He needs to sort his tackling out as he is going to seriously injure someone

Michael Brown…5/10
A niggling performance and offers nothing going forward

Charles N’Zogbia…6/10
Some good runs but poor final ball and easily dispossessed

Antonio Valencia…5/10
Didn’t look fit and created little

Amr Zaki…4/10
Is this the same guy that earned rave reviews early in the season? Time to be benched unfortunatley

An ok first half and an anonymous second half

The only player to show any spark in the box. Should start against Sunderland

Paul Schanrer…5/10
He ran around a lot
Tried to drive the team forward but lacked support

Manager Rating
Steve Bruce…has been quoted as saying Wigan cannot afford Europe. It has to be questioned whether these remarks have affected the players

Mr Attwell…2/10
Bad for both sides and ruined the game