Date: 7th February 2009 at 7:21pm
Written by: Baskerville

In the week when the Premier League announce a record TV deal for the continuing coverage of their product Wigan and Fulham served up a match of such overwhelming medicrity that brought into disripute the defination of Premier.

In all honesty we shouldnt have expecvted anything more. Fulham haven’t won away all season scoring 3 goals in 12 appearences before today( its now 3 in 13) and Wigan who hadn’t scored in open play for the last 4 games( its now 5).

Steve Bruce opted to ring the changes restoring Valencia to the starting line up and reverting to a 4-4-2 which meant Boyce dropped to the bench with Scharenr resuming at centre back. Bruce also gave a debut to N’Zogbia on the left wing and Rodellaga was handed his first start alongside Mido with the returning Zaki having to be content with a place on the bench.

N’Zogbia was immeadatley involved missing a header and letting Davies in who shot wide. The defence recieved a tongue lashing from Kirkland but it didn’t seem to have any effect, as Johnson gave the back four a torrid time in the first half, the Wigan midfield seeming to lack their usual zest for the job and were quite frankly lethargic.

The next two half chances both fell to Fulham, with Davies again and Zamora both seeing efforts go wide.

Latics seemed incapable of finding their own men with a pass and exhibited some quite awful ball control. Their game plan was disrupted ,when both Valencia and Brown went off in a double substitution, replaced by Koumas and Watson respectively.

The quality of play improved with N’Zogbia looking sharp. From one beautiful dummy and run, he fired over a beautiful cross which Mido met with a powerful header which went agonisingly wide of the post.

Rodellaga who looked to strike up a good working partnership with Mido, then played him in with a neat flick and Mido’s powerful shot was turned round the post by Schwarzer.

Latics were then forced into a third and final substitution, when the dangerous Mido was replaced by the returning Zaki.

Fulham continued to play the ball around neatly on the floor, looking for the chance to put the dangerous Johnson in. When Johnson did get the ball however, he found the centre backs espicially Bramble in superb form.
Latics had one final chance, the ball being cleared from a corner to Koumas who shot wide from the edge of the area

Both sides went off at half time to muted applause, with the hope that the second half would be an improvement.

However it was even worse, with both sides looking to catch each other out of the break but creating very few chances,the best a shot from Zaki which was comfortably saved .

The only way Latics looked like scoring was if they got as penalty and near the end Zaki went down just in the area but the linesman and referee both indicated a corner.

Full time brought a few cheers and disappointingly a few boos. True the game was turgid but the effort was there from both sides, even if the quality was sadly lacking.

Player Ratings

A solid game from the keeper

Played well defensively but missed Valencia’s support when he ventured into attack.

Worked hard in defence, one shot which nearly cleared the stand

A towering performance from the best English cnetre half in the Premeir League at present

Another excellent performance from WIgan’s favourite Austrian

Didn’t look fit and lasted only 15 minutes

Wasn’t on the pitch long enough to have any effect

Put in a good defensive stint but many of his forwarded passes went astray.

Looked lively but lacked support

Nearly scored. Seemed to strike up a good partnership with Rodellaga and was missed when he limped off

Should have done better with a header. Played well with Mido, not so well with Zaki.

Drifted in and out of the game but most of our creative paly came through him

Still playing too far out wide to have any effect as a forward
Looked ok in defence but played too many poor passes. Will improve when he gets fitter

Manager Rating
Steve Bruce…6/10

Gambled on Valencia’s fitness and his half time team talk didn’t improve our performance. Will no doubt spend the next two weeks teaching highly paid players how to apss to each other.

Opponent Rating
Roy Hodgson…6/10

Has his team playing a nice passing game without any real penetration

An unobstrusive display from the ref. Could have given us a penalty near the end but other than that he had an excellent game