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After Thoughts on: Crossing Paths with Black Cats

We hoped, as we always do. We expected something that is kind of new. Yet disappointment, well that comes with the territory. What went wrong? Was it Martinez tactics or selection? Did the cold weather aid the team from the north east? Or have Wigan just not got any luck?

Chris Brunskill

It’s a case of where do you start with the list of things that went wrong at the weekend against Sunderland. Yet it didn't look like there would be much wrong after the first five minutes after we had taken the lead. Sloppy midfield work, and typical officiating and Sunderland were in the game and in their element.

So how did it change so quickly? Well when you go a goal down, as a team you need to make a decision. You either go out and attack the opposition and get a second, or you try and take the sting out of them and just impose yourself on them. We got caught somewhere in the middle.

As Sunderland came at us our midfield was over run. Usually when we need it, we end up with three centre midfielders, yet only two really took part in the first half. Shaun Maloney playing behind the striker, meaning he was not to get involved in the midfield battle yet Jordi Gomez was, and choose not to. What does Martinez see in him?

Yes he is a talented player and can play some remarkable football, but where is the determination from Jordi to close players down, win the ball back and get on the front foot. The answer I believe is that the midfielder has none and will only hinder the defensive side of our game.

This was plainly clear as in the second half when he was stuck in an attacking role he was brilliant. No need for him to track back or get stuck in, just weave his magic. The man who came on to save Jordi's blushes has to be the man to start against Stoke City.

Roger Espinoza in one game has shown that Martinez has made a fantastic signing; a thinking, hard working midfielder who in so many ways epitomises what Martinez wants from this team. Roger has to be a big part in the team’s plans. Having him as the go between the midfield and the attack seems the natural course of things, creative to make chances and then get in with a tackle.

Fortunately for Latics the Honduran has and can play anywhere in the defence, and with our dwindling number of defenders, that versatility could become important. It appears that both of our right sided defender went of injured yesterday, both Ronnie Stamm and Emmerson Boyce not completing a full 90 minutes. If things are serious could Roger fill the gap?

Speaking of new players. Well done to the other new man who slotted in and managed to score on his league debut. In both FA Cup matches Angelo Henriquez has been one of our stand out performers, then he comes on for the last 20 minutes against Sunderland and terrorized their left back before scoring a brilliant header. Sir Alex Ferguson will be proud that the young Manchester United player is fitting in so well to the English game.

Long may that continue!