Martinez answers the critics, Moses silences his coaches
West Bromwich Albion 1 Wigan Athletic 2
Monday 12 December 2011
Thirtysomethings from Iberia they may both be but Roberto Martinez is much that Andre Villas-Boas isn't; at the Premier League basement for a start yet also curiously unburdened in the pressure stakes – and unfazed by critics.
Quite what Chelsea's Portuguese man o'war would have made of the same widespread writing-off of his side that Wigan Athletic's progressive and thoroughly agreeable manager has had to endure is something Gary Neville could imagine better than most. Mmm... good copy guaranteed.
Martinez has responded with characteristic eloquence, though, in accepting it will take more than this victory to shift public opinion away from the belief that relegation beckons, especially with Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United next up.
"It's easy to draw conclusions," he said. "I understand the general perception but they [the TV pundits] don't watch Wigan live. We know where we are. I don't think we play like a team with no belief and no confidence. And we're a fantastic example to other teams round the world who don't have history behind them."
Nine successive defeats have been followed by a four-game run which has yielded two wins and a draw, this success helped by some West Bromwich Albion wastefulness. Wigan resisted stoutly around their captain Gary Caldwell and were also indebted to Ali Al Habsi's fine goalkeeping and Mike Dean. A week on from reprieving Villas-Boas's defender David Luiz, the referee harshly ruled Graham Dorrans had dived under David Jones' challenge and awarded Wigan a free-kick rather than Albion a late penalty.
Spot-kicks remain a sore point at The Hawthorns. This was decided by one from Jordi Gomez and Albion have now conceded from four in four home matches. A stunning free-kick by Steven Reid kicked off an afternoon of quality finishes, only for the excellent Victor Moses to turn the game on its head. He quickly levelled in some style, then brilliantly won the penalty that lifted Wigan out of the bottom three for a day.
Moses turns 21 today and was unaware of the stat suggesting he had previously had 46 unproductive shots this season, not having scored since his winner at home to Albion last season. "The coaching staff have been teasing me, so it's nice to shut them up," he said.
Scorers: West Bromwich Reid 33. Wigan Moses 37, Gomez pen 57. Substitutes: West Bromwich Dorrans 6 (Mulumbu, 67), Tchoyi (Odemwingie, 81), Scharner (Morrison, 84). Wigan Gohouri 6 (Alcaraz, 67), McArthur (Stam, 70), Di Santo (Sammon, 80). Booked: West Bromwich Dorrans. Wigan Gomez. Man of the match Moses. Match rating 7/10. Possession: West Bromwich 50% Wigan 50%. Attempts on target: West Bromwich 8 Wigan 4.
Referee M Dean (Wirral). Attendance 25,446.
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