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After Thoughts On: A week of Wigan

Two back to back leagues sounds really good, but contrast that against a League cup exit at the hands of League Two Bradford our week, could have been better. Yet there are a lot of positives to take from what could be a pivotal seven days in our Premier League season.

Michael Regan

Sitting here writing this, I am asking myself could I be happier with the Latics last few results? Well there is always room for improvement, remember that. So not having smashed West Ham four or so to the good was a black mark to take away from last weekends game, while a similar story could be said for the one against Tottenham Hotspur as we failed to take our chances.

But I am going to start is a game that happened on a cold Tuesday night in front of an expecting DW Stadium. The line up was promising and the night likely to be exciting, yet what we got was neither. More of an exhibition match, Latics looked to pass and pass and pass again. That is our forte of course.

The plan as you know failed, a resilient Bradford City side held strong in defense and got men behind the ball to stop us going forward with pace. They mad us look fools in the end, as there was no plan B, no direct route, a very different story to our league team.

The problem is that we didn't have the out ball. The long ball you can play to the waiting striker who can hold it up and lay it off to one of the attacking players around him. This season though we have signed a player who can do the dirtier side of attacking football in Arouna Kone.

The striker really is the key to the Latics success (a worrying thought then for when we could miss him in January). He allows the likes of Maloney and Di Santo to play off him. They can play the intricate passing football, while he looks to beat players with pace and power and cut the ball back from the by-line, something that the three of them having be doing brilliantly.

It was evident to see how it worked against West Ham United, as we cut through them like a knife at times. While even against Tottenham, their defense weren't able to cope with Kone's movement and willingness to chase the ball and push it past the turning defenders.

There was a difference though in the two league games. Against West Ham it was a passing master class as we controlled the ball on our home turf. The two James in the center closing and winning the ball back when we didn't have it, then looking to spread the play and get players in on goal when they did.

It worked wonders and West Ham were left chasing shadows for much of the game, which told as they weren't able to create their chances and get a foot in the game.

Against Tottenham we played a more defensive game. The wing-backs came in and we played with a more solid back five and looking to hit Tottenham on the break. That means Shaun Maloney slots into the midfield and helps to pressure and close the opposition midfielders and set up the attacks.

As you may have read and saw it worked. We stopped dangerous players like Clint Dempsey and Gaerth Bale getting their foots on the ball, yet were able to get our own influential players on the ball.

In the past trying to play like we did wouldn't have worked, especially with out Antolin Alcaraz to help bolster the defense. However it is the new £6 million, 'flop' as the West Ham fans called him, defender Ivan Ramis who is now proving the difference. The last three games he has started and the last three games he has been one of our best players on the pitch.

At first he struggles due to lack of knowledege of the pace and strength required to play in the Premier League. Yet with each game, he has got stronger to the point where now opposition strikers can't get the ball off him, and can't get past him with the ball.

Things are now falling into place for this team. Much like last season, there appears to be a bit of a light bulb moment for them, and it just seems to be happening. Our goals for and against are much improved so is our points tally.

A lot of positives to take away from just one week of football.