Roberto sees Latics unable to break down a resilient 10 man Wolves defence, but it is something the Latics hero will have to get used to and try to adapt his system to as more teams will do the same at the DW this year.

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE – DW STADIUM – Saturday 18th August 2009


Keogh 6

After a busy opening couple of minutes Latics were unlucky not to have took an early lead after Jordy Gomez was gifted the ball at his feet after just two minutes. Koumas had whipped in a free kick which the Wolves keeper punched to the Spanish midfielder, but he couldn’t keep his shot down and it went out harmlessly for a goal kick.

N’Zogbia also had a half chance just a minute later, being dispossessed just as he was about to pull the trigger. Then came the sucker punch as Milijas floated a free kick into the box which really should have been dealt with by the Latics centre halves, but instead it was Andrew Keogh that met the ball and his glancing header just managed to steer the ball inside the upright.

Latics then had an even steeper uphill battle now as the Wolves defence turned from nine to ten men strong and even though we had the greater possession, the passing and fluency we witnessed on Saturday was just not there.

Scharner and especially Bramble looked so uncomfortable on the ball and when they looked for the killer pass, the ball much too often ended up in the stands, it was very frustrating. Wolves even had a ten minute spell where they were all over us, but the defence did its job well even though they couldn’t clear due to Gomez not tracking back for the ball.

For their little bout of dominance Wolves couldn’t create anything of worth and Latics did take back the initiative towards the end of the half seeing both Koumas and Rodallega go close. Bramble had probably the chance of the half though, from a corner the big defender somehow managed to blaze a free header way over the bar.

Latics started the second half off with much more urgency, but the passing and movement were really letting them down and although we enjoyed good spells of possession it saw us still having speculative shots from long range. Thomas had a thirty yarder that Hennessey gathered easily whilst Koumas’ crosses let him down.

Wolves had come with a game plan of getting the draw by sticking as many bodies behind the ball as was possible, but the early goal meant them being camped out in their half but Latics just couldn’t pass their way through.

They trusted the system but with 20 minutes to we needed a plan B, all we got was a double substitution. Scotland and Sinclair came on for the ineffective Brown and Koumas when Martinez could have picked from six players to take off.

Scotland did make a nuisance and Scharner could have got the equaliser, but he couldn’t keep his head and shot wide from six yards with the goal at his mercy. Rodallega had a shot deflected wide. Bramble again got a free header from the corner but could only put the ball wide.

Wigan did get a let off as the amazingly woeful referee booked Keogh for diving when he should have given him a penalty. Scotland had a good penalty shout waved away when he was hacked from behind and Sinclair put his guilt edged chance wide from close range.

All in all it has to go down as a bad day at the office, let’s hope we see more of the Villa flair rather than the Wolves nightmare in the future.

Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)
Attendance: 16,661
1 Chris Kirkland 1 Wayne Hennessey
25 Mario Melchiot 6 Jody Craddock
3 Erik Edman 15 Greg Halford
7 Paul Scharner 5 Richard Stearman
19 Titus Bramble 27 Michael Mancienne
11 Michael Brown 8 Karl Henry
14 Charles N’Zogbia 17 Matthew Jarvis
15 Jordi Gomez 20 Nenad Milijas
10 Jason Koumas 4 David Edwards
6 Hendry Thomas 10 Andrew Keogh
20 Hugo Rodallega 11 Stephen Ward
12 Mike Pollitt 13 Marcus Hahnemann
3 Erik Edman 23 Ronald Zubar
30 Marlon King 3 George Elokobi
17 Emmerson Boyce 14 David Jones
8 Ben Watson 12 Andrew Surman
9 Jason Scotland 18 Sam Vokes
16 Scott Sinclair 20 James Spray
6′     Goal Andrew Keogh
55′     Player Off Nenad Milijas
Player On David Jones
56′     Yellow card Andrew Keogh
62′ Player Off Jason Koumas
Player On Jason Scotland
62′ Player Off Michael Brown
Player On Scott Sinclair
64′     Player Off Greg Halford
Player On Andrew Surman
71′     Yellow card Richard Stearman
80′     Player Off Andrew Keogh
Player On Sam Vokes
90′     Yellow card David Edwards