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2011/12 Season Review Part 1

Wigan players celebrate with manager Roberto Martinez after Franco Di Santo scored the winning 2-1 goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Wigan Athletic at Stadium of Light on November 26, 2011
Wigan players celebrate with manager Roberto Martinez after Franco Di Santo scored the winning 2-1 goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Wigan Athletic at Stadium of Light on November 26, 2011

Well finally after a busy week for me, and two weeks since the end of the season. Its time to kick back and look at just what happened out their in what proved to be a very long and draining season at times. But one in which we managed to keep our Premier League status to take us into eight Premier League seasons. Not shabby for a 'small club', and one team that this league isn't going to shift very easy.

So for the first part of the season I am starting, with well the beginning I do hope you agree it is a very good place to start. And much like the song which will forever be immortalized by the great in Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music (no I am not a fan, but just run with it) this season will forever be remember, but not for the first few months of the season.

In this first look at our season. I'm going to look up to the end of November and just how we managed to lose eight games on the bounce, a club equalling record. And how Martinez turned it around.

Yet why did we do so badly? It all started so well, all three of the new clubs we faced in the opening month meraning we could pick up some points till the likes of Alcaraz and Hugo Rodallega got back to full fitness after a tough summer at the Copa America.

And as occurs on the opening weeked the team looked slow and a bit of key. But with the thanks to Franco di Santo, we managed to get a penalty, which Ben Watson coolly converted. Yet we still hadn't learnt to shut teams out, as Norwich got back into the game and equilzed after some sloppy defending down our left hand side.

You could already see our defence was going to be a problem, and Adrian Lopez's inexpereicne looked like it could cost us if he was to play a major part in the season. And after 15 minutes against Swansea, it looked inevitable. Antolin Alcaraz pulling out of the game early on with a slight calf tear.

Yet the lads still limped to what would turn out to be a very good 0-0 draw at Swansea, as the team started to grow in confidence. The next game looked like a certain winner.

And that it was the link up play between Di Santo, Moses and Rodallega up front was brillaint. And they really seemed to have a link that could see them play together consistanly this season. The signs were good, and they got even better after Di Santo managed to bag two goals. Both were deflected, but they all count.

So after a great August we were already for the forthcoming September were we would play the would be champions. That would eventually end in a 3-0 defeat that would spark the rot of our next few games, seven if I am being acurate.

Thrown in with all that for good measure was a Carling Cup tie with Crystal Palace, where a second rate Wigan side was swept under the table as Crystal Palace would head for the semi finals.

Then the rot came losing to Everton were we played well for most parts, Di Santo putting us in the lead. Before Rodallega would be stretchered off, and we would lose 3-1. Tottenham was all to similar, they dominated the first half before Diame got us back into the game. Then Steve 'gangly' Gohuri got sent off and the game was beyond us.

Then October came and it was a case of we just couldn't socre and when we didn't, we leaked goals. Aston Villa walked past us with a 2-0 victory. Before Bolton some how managed to beat us 3-1, we were the better side and we got caught try to get the second goal.

The game up north against the Geordies looked like hope. A great team performance, only to be beated late on in the second half to a strike from Yohan Coabye. We all felt hard done by the result after a great effort and performance by the lads.

Yet those performances weren't repeated against Fulham, where we were so flat, you could have tossed us up off a frying pan. It was the wosrt performance of the season by a mile, and it showwed just how soft our defence was, they were everywhere. Gary's lack of speed was evident and Alcaraz's lack of fitness was shinning through.

Then we were to face Wolves, fellow strugglers and they had been playing worse than us. So the signs were good, we felt that maybe we could spark something in this game. And it looked like it, Rodallega was in inspired form and just could find that finishing touch, but we kept going on and then they scored.

Oh dear they could run away with this. Then drama a penalty to Wigan and Ben Watson converted at the second attempt. Our ginger midfielder was one player who was having a good season so far. Yet not even he could stop the second half crumble of our defence, as we lost the game 3-1.

The fans were on his back and the rumours was that if he didn't get a result against Blackburn his head maybe about to roll.

Well in the last two games of November. Roberto Martinez changed the formation, and changed football in Wigan forever. This was the birth of the much acclimed 3-4-3. At first it looked like 5-4-1 like he wanted to strength our leaky defence. But no in truth it would be the day when we start to save our season.

And it showed as Blackburn didn't really know what to do with themselves for large part of the game, and we were well and truly on top of them. Victor Mose having free rein in the midfield was helping no end, while Connor Sammon looked like a new player up front on his own. Shame the Irishman couldn't score.

But we wouldn't win the game, and it was thanks to the phantom corner. Yakubu looking to kick the ball, before referee Marriner turned away from play, showing it was live. Yet Morten Gamst Pederson run with the ball into the box to lay it off for Blackburn to score.

Had that goal not gone in, we could have ran away with that game. But the signs were there, and going into the game at Sunderland we were all filled with confidence.

And that is just what the players were like. Confident and even slightly arrogant in their play. Martinez giving them the belief and energy to still keep playing when they are down at the bottom of the table. That would then rewards us with a 2-1 victory thanks to Gomez's second goal of the season and Di Santo's third.

The Spainard Jordi Gomez was coming into good form at a hard time of the year for Latics.