Date: 26th April 2009 at 8:18pm
Written by: Baskerville

Steve Bruce opted to reshuffle his meagre resources for the away trip to a Blackburn side, fighting for their Premier League lives.Melchiot was absent from the team with Boyce replacing him at right back allowing Scharner to slot in at centre half. In midfield Brown dropped to the bench allowing the return of Cattermole who was captain for the day. Bruce also opted for a more attack minded line up with N’Zogbia on the wing and Rodellage
partnering Mido up front.

Latics started brightly and a shot from Valencia hit a Rovers defender, spooning up onto the bar allowing Rovers to scramble the ball clear.

That was the end of any clear cut opportunities in the first half. Blackburn bossed midfield and Latics seemed unable to pass to a member of their own team. Valencia was shorn of the quality ball he usually recieves from Melchiot and was forced to track back for the ball, allowing Rovers to regroup. On the other wing N’Zogbia broke from defence several times but his final ball was always poor.

Most of the play was in the Wigan half and Kirkland and his defence were put under pressure from every set piece, as the cumbersome but effective Samba caused all sorts of problems.

Rovers almost took the lead when a shot trickled towards the Wigan goal with Kirkland stranded, Cattermole raced back and as he was about to kick the ball away he fell over, amazingly he still managed to clear the ball away before it crossed the line.

This was a warning sign for a Wigan side, who increasingly found it difficult to play any quality football against a determined Rover’s team.

Latics fell to a sucker punch on the stroke of half time. A corner from Pedersen found the diminutive Mc.Carthy who headed the ball past the stricken Kirkland.

Mido who had worked hard in the first half with little support was replaced owing to a shoulder injury, with the errant Zaki, (who came on to a mixture of boos and cheers) as a half time substitute.

Latics attacked with renewed vigour but time and again ,indiviuals would make a break and put in an awful final ball. Fifteen minutes into the second half came the game killer. A dubious free kick was awarded to Blackburn,Latics failed to mark up and Nelson flicked the ball past the stationary Kirkland.

Blackburn then sat back and were content to soak up Latics erratic attacks, on the few occasions Latics broke through notably from Boyce Valencia and Rodellaga they found Robinson in fine form. Latics were unable to assert sustained pressure and two wins out of their last thirteen games says a lot about our current form.

Bruce used all three substitutes using De Ridder and Kapo but their contributions were minimal and none existent respectively.

Another game, another defeat for Wigan Athletic. The difference this week is the Latics were outplayed by a poor Blackburn side who were short on strikers but big on commitment.
Wigan on the other hand appeared to be already on the beach and too many players were an embarassment to the shirt.

Player Ratings

Chris Kirkland…4/10
Positional sense was poor today and failed to command his area.

Emerson Boyce…3/10
Wass given a torrid time today at right back and lacked the class to create any supply to Valencia

Maynor Figueroa..3/10
Another player to have a very bad day, his substitution ruined his ever present Premier League record and I expect him to be replaced next week by Edman.

Titus Bramble…6/10
Worked hard and didn’t deserve to be on the losing side

Paul Scharner…5/10
Not a good performance but there were a lot worse on the day.

Ben Watson…4/10
Struggled today and failed to form any sort of a partnership with Cattermole

Lee Cattermore…5/10
Tried but was let down by those around him

Antonio Valencia…7/10
The only creative spark in the whole team

Charles N’Zogbia…4/10
Can run with the ball but his passing and crossing was awful. Bottled out of a tackle in the first half

Hugo Rodellaga…5/10
Showed some nice touches but the lack of quality ball means he had little opportunity to shine.

Ahmed Mido…6/10
At least when Mido is on the pitch , things look like they might happen. Laid off some good balls but nobody in support

Amr Zaki…3/10
On this performance we haven’t missed him in his absence. A shadow of the player last autumn.

He came on the pitch…..
At least he tried to go forward

Manager Rating
Steve Bruce…4/10 His comments that we played well seem at odds with all the Latics fans at the game. In my opinion he has failed to lift the team in the run in and two wins out of twelve would be relegation form in a normal season.

Opponent Rating
Sam Allerdyce…8/10 Has a poor team that is injury ravaged espicially up front but played to his strengths magnifcantly. Deserves all the credit.

Team Performance…3/10

It was to be hoped that the warmer weather and a more focussed Zaki would prove the turning point but it was not to be the case. Starved of any quality ball , Zaki became an increaingly isolated figure and he and Rodellaga were virtually ineffective for the second half.

The introduction of Kapo and De Ridder exposed the lack of quality in the squad.

This was a poor performance aagaisnt a poor team who we should have beated and its difficult to see where the next win is coming from.