Premier League Preview Number 14: Wigan Athletic

08 August 2009

Wigan Athletic

Biggest Ins: James McCarthy coming from Hamilton in Scotland is a long term project but is the typical Roberto Martinez mold of a midfielder. Jason Scotland comes in up front, hoping to replicate the goal output from Amr Zaki. Scott Sinclair coming in on loan should add depth.

Biggest Outs: It’s all about Luis Antonio Valencia leaving for Manchester United. He was the heart and soul of the right side of midfield. Amr Zaki’s loan expired and after his attitude, it may just be a god send.

Easiest Month: Yes I know it’s difficult to think an easy month has three away fixtures in it, but October is that month. Wigan start by traveling to Hull City before hosting Manchester City, ending the month at Burnley and Portsmouth. This is a four game stretch they can potentially get seven to nine points from.

Toughest Month: September. After a tricky home fixture against West Ham United, Wigan travel to Arsenal before ending the month hosting Chelsea. It is a one point month.

Five Questions About Wigan Athletic This Season

1) How does Wigan Athletic cope with the loss of Luis Antonio Valencia? He was the engine of the midfield and a key reason for much of their goal output. James McCarthy was brought in to be that replacement, but it will take at least a season for him to adapt to Premier League life.
2) Does Jason Scotland have the pace for the Premier League? We know he’s got the upper body strength, but even in the Championship he seemed to lack pace needed to get behind defenders. In the few games I saw him play, he never seemed to be able to run in behind defenders.
3) Can Roberto Martinez replicate the beautiful football he played with at Swansea on Wigan’s shoe string budget? Steve Bruce’s handprint is still all over this team, and it will take at least two more summers to turnover this squad to something Martinez can truly work with.
4) How does the left side of midfield sort itself out? It was by far the weakest part of the field for Wigan. If Michael Brown is healthy, that sorts out the center left. Can Scott Sinclair work the left side of midfield and do so effectively?
5) Will the DW Stadium pitch hurt them this winter? Yes, that question can be asked until the end of time. Last season however, it was the worst I’ve ever seen it. If the pitch can marginally hold up, Wigan won’t have what should be an asset become a liability.

My Ultimate Reality: Roberto Martinez is on step one of what should be a three year plan. If he gets those three years is a question I just don’t know the answer to. There are just too many unanswered questions about Martinez as a Premier League manager. I am probably buying too much into the hype that Martinez will work at this level, but he will have to take plenty of lumps this season. This will be a team that starts slow, and gets progressively better throughout the season, being safe with about 4 games to go.

2 comments:

y4s_82 August 11, 2009 at 5:28 PM  

Palacios doesnt play for Wigan Athletic and hasnt done for a while...you need to keep your facts updated...

The Third Half August 11, 2009 at 6:57 PM  

Umm dude, from the sheet I was going off of, I overlooked the name I should have used. It was an oversight on my part and the post has been corrected to reflect the name I should have used.

Thank you for catching that.

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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