Another week,another opposing keeper in fine form. Today it was Jussi Jaaskelainen who thwarted Latics time and again in a dominant first half display from Wigan.
Steve Bruce in the week expressed his concerns that his team were complacent and vowed to shake up his team, bringing in the youngsters. In the end he did shake it up, bringing in thirty somethings Melchiot and Brown for Boyce and Watson with Kapo dropping off the bench.
Like last week, Latics should have been ahead within the first five minutes. A neat pass from Mido found Rodellega and the Colombian neat turn and shot beat the keeper but hit the post, bouncing back to hit the keeper and go out for a corner.
For the next forty minutes Latics were the dominant force, with Valencia and Melchiot once again linking well on the right providing quality balls for Mido and Rodellega.
Both strikers had shots well saved by Jaaskelainen, as well as from N’Zogbia who cut in from the left and fired in a fierce shot.
At the other end, chances were sparce with regular pantomine villan Davies and Cahill going close with a header and a deflected header respectively.
In centre midfield, Brown and Cattermole were engaging in a tremendous tussle with Mc Cann and Muamba and up front Mido and Rodellega seemed to be striking up a fine partnership.
As the players trooped off at half time, it was to the amazement of both sets of fans that the game was scorless.
Half time brought a major blow to Wigan, with their inspirational skipper being withdrawn, replaced by Boyce.
Bolton started the second half with more purpose and were given more impetus, when ten minutes into,the second half Scharner limped off.
This prompted a re-shuffle with Figueroa moving into centre half and Edman coming on into the left back position.
These changes certainly affected Latics and allowed Bolton to press forward, with Wigan looking to catch Bolton on the break.N’Zogbia producing some beautiful runs with only his final pass letting him down.
Neither side really domintated in the second half, Latics best chances fell to Michael Brown who has never scored for Latics. The three chances he had all went high and wide and not very handsome. Mido also fluffed a good chance and was replaced by Zaki almost immeadately.
For Bolton the two best chances fell to Davies, one a shot which should have been on target and another a header which bounced off the bar.
Zaki’s fifteen minutes on the pitch were largley uneventful and he did nothing to suggest that barring injury he is now the third choice striker at Wigan now.
Full time brought another blank sheet for Wigan. Much is made of the cheap season tickets at the JJB, however 15 home team goals in 17 games, means that it is debatable if the fans are receiving value for money.
Steve Bruces comments,of the need to strengthen the forward line was once again clearly evidenced on today’s showing.
A failure to address this in the summer, plus a creative midfielder and back up players in most positions is essential,if we aren’t to be in a relegation battle next season.
Some excellent reflex saves but looked shaky from corners
Defended well and linked supebrly with Valencia going forward. Was sadly missed in the second half
Played well in the first half, struggled in the unfamiliar centre half position int he second half
A titan in the centre of defence. Player of the season by a mile. Held the line espically in the second half.
Was having a tremendous battle with Davies until his injury
Sublime skills which deserve to be on a larger stage. Faded in the second half as the supply of balls dried up.
Worked hard but created little. Got booked again which means he is one yellow off a two match band
provided the steel we needed in a physical battle but lacks the quality when going forward as his three bombed chances showed int he second half
A lovely runner with the ball too often spoiled by the final pass
Played well today and looks to be striking up a good partnership with Rodellega.
A tremendous display marred only be his bad luck in front of goal.
Struggled at right back
A welcome return for the Swede. Was found put of position a few times abut linked up well with N’Zogbia
Did nothing to suggest a return to form
Limited in his options with two enforced changes. Team’s attitude was better today