Villa show Martinez what he is missing

Aston Villa 2 Wigan Athletic 0: Agbonlahor and Bent leave Wigan well beaten by team their manager turned down in the summer

If Roberto Martinez subscribed to the "greed is good" philosophy that is endemic in top-flight football, the Wigan manager would surely have joined Aston Villa in the summer. More money, a lot more, was probably to be had at a club that is desperate for success. Instead, the Spaniard turned down the overtures of Randy Lerner, the Villa owner, signed a new three-year contract and renewed his vows at the DW Stadium. Loyalty does still exist in the Premier League – it was one of the sport's more wholesome stories.

Yesterday, Martinez may have felt a tinge of regret. Wigan competed vigorously, as they always do, but it turned into a stroll for Villa, who scored once in each half and could have doubled their tally but for the agility of Ali Al Habsi, the Wigan goalkeeper. That Villa are now unbeaten in seven League matches since the start of the season, and that Wigan have lost five successive games in all competitions, may have weighed on Martinez's mind last night. But did that element of "What might have been" occur to him? Apparently, not a jot.

"No, I don't have any regrets," he said. "It was not about Aston Villa, which is a fabulous club, it was that I had not finished the job at Wigan. The chairman [Dave Whelan] has always been supportive of me and I wanted to show him a bit of loyalty in return. I want to take Wigan to another level, I don't want them to be a team that is always fighting relegation."

If Martinez would have been given a generous honeymoon period at Villa Park, Alex McLeish has not been afforded the same leeway because of his Birmingham City connections. There have been murmurings of dissent among the fans already, despite the undefeated sequence, and the Scot will only ever be a couple of defeats away from a full-blown crisis. "We've got a lot of kids in the team and they've got to show they can step up to the plate," McLeish said. "It's very much a work in progress."

Villa just about shaded the first half, which was little more than a mish-mash of honest endeavour with barely any end product. Al Habsi did have to make a fine save to keep out a fierce effort, after superb close control, from Darren Bent but the robust tackling of each team seemed to constantly negate the other. Until, that is, Gabriel Agbonlahor took a hand. He might look bulkier than last season but he can still shift a bit. Latching on to Barry Bannon's precise pass, he cut inside Gary Caldwell and unleashed a shot that Al Habsi hardly saw for his fourth goal of the season. Wigan's response was bright but after Franco Di Santo had failed to win a penalty when caught by Alan Hutton – "Franco was ready to pull the trigger," Martinez lamented – their challenge gradually faded in the heat.

Al Habsi made a marvellous save to keep out a Bannan blockbuster but he could do nothing when Agbonlahor crossed delightfully for Bent to guide the ball home. Stiliyan Petrov could have increased the margin but, again, Al Habsi flew to the rescue.

"We were a bit careless today," Martinez said, ruefully. "We're not usually like that."

Aston Villa (4-1-3-2): Given; Hutton, Collins, Dunne, Warnock; Petrov; Bannan, Ireland (Heskey, 57), Delph; Bent (N'Zogbia, 57), Agbonlahor (Weimann, 85).

Wigan (4-4-2): Al Habsi; Boyce, Caldwell, Figueroa, Van Aanholt; Stam (McArthur, 56), Watson, McCarthy (Sammon, 85), Moses; Di Santo, Diamé (Maloney, 71).

Referee Mark Clattenburg.

Man of the match Agbonlahor (Aston Villa)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn