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2011/12 Season Review: Part Two

Jordi Gomez of Wigan Athletic scores an equalising goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Chelsea at the DW Stadium.
Jordi Gomez of Wigan Athletic scores an equalising goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Chelsea at the DW Stadium.

So I finished yesterday with us winning 2-1 at Sunderland in dramatic fashion. With the man of the moment being a surprising Jordi Gomez who had scored two goals in his last two games, and was controlling our midfield from back to front. Isn't it weird how times change. You felt like it wouldn't be long till he was back to his own ways, and the team the same for that matter.

So after all the build up and the return of fan confidence, we faced Arsenal at the DW for our first game in a packed two festive months. Which saw us six of the countries top sides, along with a couple of our boggie teams for good measures. But as I said we were looking forward to big things against Arsenal.

Yet when we went out and flopped, that was after a brilliant opening 15 minutes were we looked like we could win the game, we all felt like maybe we were heading back to the bottom of the Premier League, and well were for a week.

Till an away trip to West Brom were yet again Jordi Gomez was the star man, along with a great goal from Victor Moses we managed to pick our third win of the season and looked good for it. This was quickly followed up by two more great draws against Chelsea and Liverpool. In both games we had enough to win them, but just couldn't take our chances, yet the team was moving the right direction.

So what was going on? Well this formation what was it 5-4-1 or 3-4-3. It was a mixture of many diffrent things but teams we were playing couldn't seem to get round of how it was working. The wide men in Ronnie Stam and David Jones were for me two of our best players over the Christmas period and shouldn't really have been dropped when they were.

The main problem we had was that we couldn't seem to score. Conor Sammon would eventually go all season with out scoring and you have to ask why, the amount of time he turned found space then either hit the woodwork or denned by a great save was unbelievable.

Yet our period of picking up points was about to come to a harsh end. When we went to Old Trafford and lost 5-0, on paper it looks like we were torn apart. But had it not been for a poor red card decision, which saw Conor Sammon walk when we were only 1-0 down. We may still have got something from the game. But you can't play football on maybes.

That defeat was followed up by a disappointing draw against Stoke, where again we had been the better side and even taken the lead. But we just couldn't seem to close the game out, and instead had to rely on a last minute penalty from reliable Ben Watson, who was brought on especially to convert it.

Thus ending our December and when you look back on it, it doesn't seem to bad. We picked up five points from a string of fixtures were we faced Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Stoke City away. So you felt like there was something to build upon.

Yet January would not bring a new year resolution. Instead it would bring about a change for the worst. First an embarrassing 4-1 defeat at the hands of Sunderland. This one will forever make me wonder why? We had a winning formula with the team we were playing, but Martinez rested the likes of Diame and Moses for a game which we could have won.

Yet we could put our league despair behind us and concentrate on the FA Cup for once. And a half decent reserve side took to the pitch, were we saw just how good a player Callum McManaman can be has he scored his first ever senior goal for the club, scoring at the second chance for a penalty. Before the rest of the team caved in on itself and lost the game 2-1. We couldn't stop losing games.

Our remaining January games saw us face two of the countries top sides of the season. A Manchester City side which were flying high. Yet it took a dive and then glancing header for them to win the game 1-0 in which for large part of the game, Wigan were in their half.

Yet don't worry we had a game to save ourselves with against fellow struggles QPR for a tough away game at Tottenham. I think we would all have taken Tottenham, as we were pulled apart by QPR. The unreliable Steve Gohouri letting anybody within a three meter radius through on goal (thank god he is on his way out). It was painful to watch, apart from a world class free-kick from Hugo Rodallega.

Yet even against Tottenham we flopped in our final game January. We have often had some success against Tottenham, but they completed their league double over us without breaking a sweat as Gareth Bale ran rings round our defence in the first half. Before Latics put in a very strong and important second half.

Things changed and we started to play football pass, then pass again and then a bit more. Tottenham couldn't get the ball and we were playing free of the monkey that had been on our back. Martinez has said himself that the second half of this game was the turning point of our season.

We realised what's the point in worrying about things. Lets just play football and see what we can do as a team. Well from then on, we showed the football world how Wigan Athletic can play football.