Roberto Martinez, in common with a few other Premier League managers, would be first to admit that Charles N'Zogbia is not an easy customer to deal with. The Frenchman, who came under fire for a late change in his contract demands after his move to Birmingham fell through in August, was once reported to have stormed outof training at Wigan.
But he has that something extra that is capable of pulling Wigan through when they need it, and yesterday he delivered, getting his lacklustre colleagues going before creating the winner for Victor Moses.
This was a poor game, with very few chances. Yet every time N'Zogbia was on the ball he threatened to make something happen before his quick feet saw him thread a pass through for the substitute Moses to slot home in the 70th minute.
Martinez was relieved with a first win in six games as his side climbed out of the bottom three. "Since the transfer window closed we've seen a new Charles," he said. "He has taken his game to a new level.
"We agreed a fee with Birmingham, and some games he wasn't involved while the window was open. But sinceit's closed the players have developed a strong bond and competition is very high."
There has never been a goalless draw between the two sides in the League, but that statistic looked in increasing danger of changing until Moses struck. Another sparse DW Stadium crowd had little to savour in terms of goalmouth action. Wigan should have beaten Liverpool instead of drawing in midweek, but they looked a pale imitation of that side here until Moses's introduction at half-time injected some life into them. The pacey winger made an immediate impact as his cross just failed to be touched home at the back post by N'Zogbia.
West Bromwich forced long-range saves from Ali Al Habsi through Chris Brunt and James Morrison, but were hit with a sucker punch when Wigan finally threw men forward.
It was another reality check for the visitors' manager, Roberto Di Matteo. "We lacked a bit of sharpness in the second half," he said. "We couldn't raise our game as we usually do.
"A draw would have been a fair result if you look at the game. It's a shame we have lost to a main competitor and we could have dealt with the goal better."
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Man of the match: N'Zogbia
Match rating: 4/10Reuse content