Wigan Athletic eight years in the Premier League. There will be plenty of time to look back on what has been and what shall be following the relegation of the side. As it stands there a few uncertainties especially surrounding Roberto Martinez, yet this article is to salute the players for their final two games.
Going to Arsenal wanting to win is a hard thing; going to Arsenal needing a win is damn right stupid. Yet that was the situation on Tuesday, Wigan couldn’t afford any other result if they wanted to stay in the Premier League.
After a hard fought 1-1 at half time the players came out the first 15 minutes of the second like a bullet out of a gun. Arouna Kone and Callum McManaman combined so well to put Kone through on goal, and had the Ivorian scored, well maybe things could have been different today. Yet with the save from Wojciech Szczesny it looked to be all over.
Then came the injury to Callum McManaman which hurt us even more. We lost our shape when Franco Di Santo came on; we had no wide right man, no pacey out ball. And once Arsenal managed to score and go 2-1 in front that was it. Heads dropped and you could see the tone written all over the players faces.
We had to accept that we lost it. The 4-1 defeat was harsh as the lads didn’t play badly, we just shut down. Fatigued from a hard season there was just no more for them to give. It wasn’t against Arsenal that we lost the season, but we could have won the season there. That step up a no point game against Aston Villa. We experienced the same last season, with a no point game against Wolves, except this time we were the club dropping down a league.
The performance though was one of a team on form. The passing the movement and the attacking intent were fantastic. If we could find that killer touch then we would have the winning formula. Arouna Kone has found us goals this season, but none else has managed to help him out for a long enough period of time.
Chance after chance came and went begging, and so when Villa scored with their only real shot of the second half it summed up our season. A great performance but we just can’t drag ourselves over that line to win the game, and more times than not we have lost games like that.
So what can we take away? A hard work ethic a never say die attitude and the foundations of a fantastic squad. Very few of the players who played at the weekend will go, a good decision by Roberto Martinez to not include the likes of Joel Robles, Antolin Alcaraz and Franco Di Santo.
Players that will leave or go back to their parent clubs, show us nothing for next year. Although I get the feeling that both Joel and the Paul Scharner who started against Aston Villa would both like to stay, but that option may no longer exist.
We march on in defeat, and we will rise again.