Wednesday, May 8, 2013

SPORTS- Wigan Athletic 2 Swansea City 3: Match Report

Send them down: Itay Shechter scored his first ever Swansea goal to help push Wigan into deeper trouble This was surely the end of the Wigan pier show. This was surely the night when Wigan Athletic's famous late-season resilience finally expired. Roberto Martinez’s side twice took the lead but their defending had all the co-ordination of a pantomime-horse at times, pushing them closer to the Championship.

Wigan now head to the FA Cup final on Saturday to face Manchester City before seeking what looks a Premier League mission impossible at Arsenal on Tuesday and then at home to Aston Villa the following Sunday. If Wigan continue to defend like this they will go down without even a whimper.

This result will be saluted from Norwich to Newcastle via Sunderland with approving squeaks from Southampton, Fulham and in the Holte Suite at Villa Park where Villa’s players’ awards evening must have gone with a swing as news from the DW filtered in. Suddenly the table looks less forbidding to those clubs on 38 points upwards. Wigan remain stuck on 35.

Outside Wigan, some fans sent messages of thanks to Swansea via social-media networks. Since winning the Capital One Cup, Swansea have occasionally resembled schoolboys who have finished their exams before the rest of the class. But it showed the integrity of the Premier League that Swansea gave everything, particularly in the second half. In truth, this game was decided more by the ingénue nature of Wigan’s defending. Apprentices were all over the television last night.

This result could be doubly damaging. If Wigan do slide into the Championship, Martinez will surely be a candidate for the Everton job should the rumoured managerial merry-go-round take David Moyes to Old Trafford. There has to be sympathy for Martinez, who has encouraged such an attractive style of football in Wigan and whose side have been bedevilled by injuries at just the worst time. Ronnie Stam, who came on and quickly got injured, will have a scan today to see if he has broken his leg. Already out are three defenders, Antolin Alcaraz, Ivan Ramis and Maynor Figueroa, helping explain the hapless nature of yesterday’s defending.

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