Home » EPL, Latest » Match Report: Wigan 1 West Brom 1

The Verve, Wigan’s most eminent band, once protested that “There ain’t no space and time”. Such sentiment now takes on a sporting significance, applying to the quandary of the town’s team.

Wigan Athletic are equally relieved and troubled by exactly the same details. This draw, which should have been a win, means they are bottom of the league with only one home victory all season. Still just a point off safety, though, it is remarkable there is not more space between them and those above. Yet time is lapsing.

Having forsaken so many opportunities to take the lead, Wigan eventually opened the scoring through James McArthur, before missing another glut following Paul Scharner’s unlikely equaliser.

Roberto Martinez, the Wigan manager, “enjoyed” his side’s performance, claiming they were worthy of winning the game by three or four goals.

“We opened West Brom up time after time and deserved a lot more,” he said. “But it is not the first time that this has happened.”

Wigan’s issues are, indeed, chronic. The intent is there, to pass through midfield and involve the wide players as they did here throughout this game with Victor Moses and Jean Beausejour particularly vibrant. There is, perhaps, no team in the bottom half of the league that functions as regularly in such a charming manner.

Yet where it matters most, the struggles take a grip. Martinez has made his team more solid by employing a wing-back system. But Wigan still have the third worst defensive record in the league. In attack, meanwhile, creation is nearly always eclipsed by an inability to convert and they are the league’s lowest scorers.

This problem was acutely illustrated within a remarkable opening exchange which could have yielded a goal for every minute. The Latics could have been leading by four goals.

Three of the opportunities fell to a forward with just one strike since September, Franco di Santo. The Argentine was selected as a replacement for Hugo Rodallega, allegedly out with a knee injury but possibly dropped from the squad entirely following a similarly profligate display in the draw at Norwich last weekend.

The other chance arrived at the feet of Gary Caldwell, Wigan’s captain. But he could not adjust quickly enough to connect with Beausejour’s cross.

More openings came and went. Both Emmerson Boyce and James McCarthy hit the woodwork before finally McArthur found the net after a bold dribble by Moses. The Scottish midfielder could not miss this one.

West Brom arrived with an away record that, aside from the two Manchester clubs, rivals that of any other side in the Premier League. Despite being the second best team, Scharner’s equaliser came when he rose highest to head in Chris Brunt’s corner. A former Wigan player, the Austrian did not celebrate and was lauded by his manager Roy Hodgson for displaying such discretion.

“I do fear and sympathise with Wigan because it was important for them to win this ahead of some difficult games to come,” he said. “This was the one they were banking on.”

Hodgson also referred to a flashpoint involving a handful of midfielders as “handbags,” but with 20 minutes remaining, Youssouf Mulumbu should have been given a red card for punching McArthur. A melee then ensued; Boyce tried to mediate, only to be throttled by Jerome Thomas when the winger jumped on his back. Thomas could have been sent off too but Michael Oliver, the referee, merely elected to book the three culprits involved.

In injury time, Wigan had two more chances to win it through substitutes Mohamed Diame and Albert Crusat. Typically, given their luck, Diame’s shot rebounded off di Santo and was going wide anyway, while Crusat contrived to hit a post. “That summed it up,” Martinez said.

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