Match Report: Norwich City 2-1 Wigan Athletic

Jamie McDonald

A game with no preview for Pie Eaters Footie, unfortunately I was struck down by 'man flu' according to my family, and so was unable to sit at a computer and give a write up for the game. I can now give you a bit of a round up, on a game which saw Latics drop a point, and see two more players enter the Physio room.

Had I been able to write a match preview ahead of this one, my underlying theme would have been. I feel we could do it, but I'm not that confident against a side which had lost in their last nine games. That trend has now continued for them after they dominated a first half, going in 1-0 up. Before we dominated a second half and manage to lose 2-1.

There is a very good story in that summary, and eventually I will get around to showing how having the ball isn't everything.

On wards we go though and the first bits of bad news to come out of Carrow Road was the starting line up. Jordi Gomez still kept his place in the midfield, ahead of the returning Shaun Maloney (hopefully that will be put right against Arsenal) and Franco Di Santo was replaced by Mauro Boselli. Now that was a stupid mistake.

If Di Santo was fit enough to be on the bench, then he is fit enough to start. Personally if you bring Boselli into the team, you take out Arouna Kone. The two players play in the same off the front man role and that was our first half down fall.

It was a first half to wonder why we had even bothered to turn up. We were slow and sluggish to react to Norwich who spurred on by their cheering home support dominated out first half. They settled better on the ball and capitalized on the poor Wigan start by taking the lead in the first 15 minutes.

Wes Hoolahan was the man of the game, making all the good things for Norwich and was the man to set up Anthony Pilkington scoring. His strike was hit so hard it just blasted past shot straight past Ali Al Habsi who manged to get two hands to it still.

It was a bit of a wake up call for Latics. But even then it still wasn't good enough as Norwich were confident on the ball and wanted to get that second goal for a bit of comfort. Unfortunately for them, we had a goalkeeper who was returning to form and was going to keep the score down whatever it took.

Ali would make two great saves, one a point blank reaction save to a Snodgrass header so Wigan could go in at half time with the score only at 1-0 and still in the game.

At half time Martinez's tactical brain was working he withdrew Gomez and brought on Maloney to freshen up our attacking options. While we had to see a limping James McCarthy make way for David Jones (McCarthy is likely to be another name on the injury list).

So with the shift around Wigan settled better on the ball. With Maloney now lying deeper it allowed both Kone and Boselli to come into the game more, as the ball was actually getting up to our strikers. It wouldn't be long before the Scottish International would work his magic again.

Kone getting to the by-line with the ball, after yet another one of his powerful runs. Picked out Shaun Maloney with a beautiful lay-off, leaving Shaun the simplest of tasks to strike the ball home, and it wasn't a bad strike hit with pace and accuracy to blast it home and draw Latics level.

This was now Wigan's game, our midfield maestro was in full flow. Picking the ball up, then looking for the quick lay off before getting into space, you wondered why he hadn't started the game, he was back to his best!

However yet more slack defending would cost us a point, if not more. Anthony Pilkington allowed too much time and space on the ball managed to cross the ball into the box and find the small Wes Hoolahan for the simplest of diving headers. 2-1 Norwich would they now take charge again?

Well Latics were certainly deflated. We no longer had the pace on the ball or looked hungry to get forward. It looked like our team had all been winded at the same time. Yet one man stood in the way of Norwich and it was our good old friend Mr Al Habsi.

Norwich were stronger and looked more willing to get forward. But you could tell they weren't throwing everything into the last ten minutes or so. The one goal lead they had must have been enough for them, and Wigan weren't threatening much as our wing back were starting to get even more wasteful then they already had been.

Di Santo would be a late sub for his Argentinian counter part Boselli. But his introduction wasn't able to spark us into life as the result looked more or less settled for both teams. Yet there was worse news for Latics, as Adrian Lopez wen't down on the 90th minute. The defender who has impressed this season, appeared only to have cramp but it now appears to be a hamstring injury.

So there lies the game of Carrow Road. The better team would if the truth be told, we could not handle the attacking qualities of Hoolahan and Pilkington who were backed up by a defense and midfield that were strong to the put of stubbornness. But that is why they have gone ten Premier League games unbeaten.

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