First let’s look to mid-week. The so called dress rehearsal to the FA Cup final, it saw Roberto Mancini rest a lot of key players, while Roberto Martinez only made two changes. For Wigan we have things to fight for in the league so keeping our momentum was going to be key.
For 80 minutes of the game, Martinez’s call to play with the same consistent team looked to have paid off. The two changes to the FA Cup semi-final, saw Joel return to goal, and Franco Di Santo play up front. Both of whom had massive contributions to the game. Franco was so unlucky not to score on two occasions. Both times he was denied by Joe Hart. The same could also be said for Shaun Maloney and Aroune Kone who were finding it hard to get past the English goalkeeper.
That was the difference, that we couldn’t score we controlled large parts of the game, had the better chances and were defending valiantly, yet none could put the ball in the net. That is more heart breaking to watch and play in, than losing a game 4-0. When you control a game so much, when you create so many chances and when everyone plays well and you don’t win. That is what can kill you off.
As it was, the team picked themselves up and went and did exactly the same against West Ham. We controlled the midfield kept them under pressure, but we couldn’t find that killer pass or touch to get the ball into the goal.
It’s the story of our season and it the most frustrating thing to watch.
Had this been earlier in the season I would be really happy with the two performances. Okay we lost two, yet away from home to control two games as well as we did is fantastic. But with only five games to go and three points away from safety we can’t afford not to win games.
As it currently stands it comes down to us and Aston Villa to fight it out over the last spot of survival. With everyone else winning at the weekend, it leaves them six points ahead of us and realistically out of sight. That is unless we can pull the miracle off. We now have three home games left. Win those three and that will be survival (we hope).
Tottenham is the next challenge, and after their win, and Chelsea's draw at the weekend, they are in the hunt for the Champions League spot. The game will be difficult and getting a win won't be easy. But as one of our home ties we have to aim for three points, and the chance to close the gap on Aston Villa.
Keep the Faith!