The new exciting era at Wigan Athletic started with a damp squib last night, as Martinez opted to field two seperate teams, in what was very much a training match.
Both the first and second half teams fielded a mixture of seasoned professionals and first year professionals and in both halves Martinez opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation.
The first half could have ended with a five nil scoreline agaisnt Wigan, with Crewe coming close twice,including one almighty scramble on the goal line and one goal disallowed for offside, before Grant finished of a shot which Kirkland failed to hold. This was Kirkland’s only error in the first half, in which he made several superb saves.
At the back, released Manchester City academy player Curtis Obeng looked a good prospect at right back and Bramble was his usual dependable at centre half. With five in midifeld Wigan would have expected to dominate their lower league oppoents but in truth Kapo, De Ridder and Watson failed to live up to their reputation and were too often knocked off the ball.
N’Zogbia who played on the right wing for all the first half ( De Ridder on the left)looked sharp and created the majority of the first half chances. The first half lone striker role fell to converted midfielder Tomas Cwyka and he was well marshalled by the central defenders and had little chance to shine.
Scharner, whose oft stated desire to leave didn’t affect Martinez who appointed him first half captain, looked to come forward as often as possible but recieved very little support from the more gifted players further up the field.
The second half team played with more purpose with Brown and second half man of the match Koumas dominating proceedings and came close on several occasions to scoring. Rachid Bouazoun was a surpising returnee from his loan perios with Sparta Rotterdam but failed to shine agaisnt what should have been inferior oppostion.
Up front in the second half, was yet again a converted midfielder in the other young Pole Tomas Kupisz who again received very little quality ball.
Latics best chance fell to Mario Melchiot who weaved through the defence and shot from a narrow angle hitting the post.
The full time whistle brought an end to a good workout and hopefully provided some answers to selection and formation issues.
lessons learnt …3
N’Zogbia looked comfortable on the right wing , possible paving the way for a new left winger …Crusat?
Kouams played well on the left wing and if his potential can be harnessed would be a useful squad member.
4-3-2-1 creates very little for the lone forward unless you have the midfielders who can get up and support the forward. Last night we didn’t. With only Rodellaga, King and Scotland up front we need to buy a qualtiy forward and soon
lessons learnt …3
converting midfielders to strikers isn’t the answer.
Kupisz and Cwyka are promising midfielders but not good enough to make the grade up front.
In midfield De Ridder, Kapo and Watson looked poor and Gomez flitted in and out of the game.