Date: 3rd November 2007 at 6:29pm
Written by: bakerville

Latics dropped into the bottom three tonight after a tactical defensive gamble backfired leaving Latics in the bottom three for the first time this season.

Prior to the game there was much talk on the terraces regarding the decision to go with one striker and stack the midfield with five men, a tactic which backfired at Old Trafford.

Would it work better at home wondered the faithful and the answer was as feared?. NO

Wigan started brightly and could have had a penalty in the first ten minutes, Bent appearing to be bundled over in the area however Mr Bennett referring Wigan for the first time since controversially sending Kilbane off at Newcastle said no.

Chelsea appeared comfortable on the ball looking sharp with every pass and our midfield appeared overcrowded and rudderless.

On the eleventh minute Wright- Phillips crossed for Lampard who appeared to have acres of space before he shot unchallenged past Kirkland.

Wigan pressed forwards but all the creative work was undermined by the fact that there were minimum of three players marking poor Marcus Bent every time he got the ball thereby snuffing out every chance.

This meant that Wigan were reduced to shooting from a distance Landzaat`s shot being comfortably saved by Peter Cech.

On the 19th minute mark the right back Bellitti pushed forward from his position at the back, to his surprise and to everyone in the ground he was allowed to run un checked before firing a superb shot past the stranded Kirkland.

At this point everyone mindful of last weeks rout of City expected the same but Chelsea probably with one eye on the games in Europe were content to sit back and pass the ball around content that Latics were unable to break down their strong defence.

Half time was met with boos although unlike last week these appeared reserved for the inconsistent approach of Mr Bennett rather than the Latics players.

The second half brought no tactical changes or substitutions Latics inexplicably content to play 4-5-1 even though they had little or no chance of scoring. Indeed it was difficult to work out who was supposed to be backing Bent up when we were attacking, Scharner sometimes wnet forward but really Bent was left to plough a lonely furrow on his own.

Bent thought he had won a penalty going down on the edge of the box but Mr Bennett once again favoured Chelsea.

The crowd growing increasingly frustrated at Chelsea`s tactics chose Droghba to vent their frustrations on when he went ran into a Latic`s player and went down like a sack of spuds, Mr Bennett booking the Latics player when in my opinion the booking should have been the other way around.

With ten minutes to go we were treated to a rare moment a tactical substitution Siberski replacing Landzaat who had been the best of an underperforming midfield. Two minutes later we got another one with Skoko replacing the ineffective Brown.

Immediately we looked a different team playing 4-4-2 and Bent and Siberski combined neatly only for Cech to save well and the linesman to raise his flag for offside.

Full time came with the knowledge that Spurs draw with Boro had completed a remarkable decent form top to bottom three in nine games without a win.

Hutchins negative tactics when he really had nothing to lose against a Chelsea team on fire may well have sealed his fate.

Player Ratings

Kirkland 5
Had little to do except pick the ball out of the net

Killbane 6
Worked hard against the very quick Wright Phillips, was nutmegged by WP which will be shown on Soccer Saturday

Bramble 6.5
Another good performqnce against quality opposition

Melchiot 7
Granqvist 6.5
Another good performqnce against quality opposition

Koumas 5
Drifted in and out of the game, Lack of support from his fellow midfielders when going forward .

Brown 4
Poor , lucky not to be booked. Doesn`t look up for the challange

Scharner 4
Not a midfielder, crowd was getting on his back again

Landzaat 6
Best of midfield players, unlucky to be substituted.

Valencia 5
Little chance to shine against Wayne Bridge. Drifted out of the game too much.

Bent 5
Worked hard with little support

Sibierski 5
One good chance in the ten minutes he was on the pitch

Skoko 5
Looked sharp when he came on

Manager Rating
Hutchings 4

Negative tactics didn`t work and only changed them when it was too late