Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Nottingham Forest 1-4 Wigan – Latics Show Class to Progress

The Latics resisted a second half comeback from Nottingham Forest, to ease into the third round of the Capital One Cup.

Roberto Martinez’s men headed into the clash keen to avoid yet another upset, and despite deciding to field a number of fringe players, his side outclassed their Championship counterparts.

Argentinean international Mauro Boselli opened the scoring when he got on the end of a pin point delivery from Ronnie Stam.

The goal seemed to relax the Latics and they soon doubled the lead with a stunning 30 yard strike from Maynor Figueroa which stunned the Forest faithful into applause. The impressive Jordi Gomez got in on the act with a sublime right foot effort before the break, and ensured the Latics headed into the break with a three goal cushion.

Within seconds of the second half commencing Forest struck back with a wonder goal of their own, from Simon Cox which left Ali Al Habsi with no chance. 

Despite the dismissal of captain on the night Antolin Alcaraz, the Latics held firm and Callum McManaman wrapped up victory, after great link up play with debutant Ryo Miyaichi.

Having made several changes from Saturday’s victory against Southampton, Martinez will have been delighted with a performance that showed plenty of promise. With all of his first team strikers now having registered within the first three games the now faces a pleasant selection headache ahead of the Stoke clash.

At times Mauro Boselli’s movement was second to none, and despite not having the little bit of luck required early on, he made himself available to comfortably net his first goal of the season.

There is no doubt that anywhere around the box the Argentine is deadly and with so much midfield creativity now on hand, he could well make his second chance at the DW stadium count. 

For the first time in a long while the Latics can look forward to the third round draw, and will now prepare for the visit of Stoke City on Saturday. Martinez and co will be very confident of securing their first home victory of the new season at the second time of asking.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Southampton 0-2 Wigan - Strike Pair Ensure First Win

New pairing Franco Di Santo and Arouna Kone both got on the score sheet, as the Latics secured their first victory of the new season at St Mary’s on Saturday afternoon.

In what the first ever league meeting of the two sides, Roberto Martinez’s men put on a fantastic performance to spoil the party for home side, on what was their first home game on their return to the top flight. 

Franco Di Santo
The home side were the brighter team during the opening phases, but unlike last week the Latics were determined to weather the storm and held firm.

The first chance of the game fell to the impressive Adam Lallana, his effort was fantastically tipped onto the bar by Ali Al Habsi. The Latics stopper was bright all afternoon, and will have been delighted with his first clean sheet of the season.

Captain Gary Caldwell was on hand when he put in an impressive last ditch challenge when Lallana was really to pull the trigger.

The Latics upped the tempo at the start of the second half, and they took the lead, after Di Santo fired home smartly, following great play from the influential Shaun Maloney.

The opener seemed to drain the confidence from the home side, with the Latics midfield ensuring that the Saints were unable to get into any kind of rhythm.

Arouna Kone
On his full debut Kone wrapped up all three points, the Ivorian international dispossessed Jose Fonte and ran the length of the pitch to finish off emphatically.

The victory will serve as the perfect tonic for Martinez and his men who were made to pay last week for a poor start to the Chelsea game. With many pundits doubting their ability to cope without the now departed Victor Moses, the Spaniard was delighted with his side's effort:

“The whole team took massive responsibility after losing Moses. I am very, very satisfied because we knew how difficult it would be.”

Next up for the Latics is a midweek trip to Nottingham Forest, in the newly named Capital One Cup. Martinez is expected to ring the changes with many of the fringe players expected to be given a run out. In a game that is being televised live by Sky, Latics fans will be keen to avoid an upset and will be keen to go on a cup run.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Wigan 0-2 Chelsea - Latics Pay The Price For Bad Start

Wigan were left to rue an awful start to the opening game of the season, as European Champions Chelsea put them to the sword in the opening minutes.
With only seven minutes played, Roberto Martinez’s men faced an uphill task following goals from Branislav Ivanovic and Frank Lampard.
Ivanovic was sent through as the impressive Eden Hazard led a Chelsea break at pace right through the heart of the Latics defence. The Serbian international, who was allowed to play despite his red card against Manchester City last weekend, finished confidently past Ali Al Habsi.

Roberto Martinez
Hazard was then upended by debutant Ivan Ramis, and Lampard smashed his penalty under the body of Al Habsi. It was a horror start to Ramis’s career as he tormented early on. Although he crew in confidence as did his team, and produced an excellent clearance in the second half, when Fernando Torres was through on goal.
Victor Moses twice went close for the Latics, forcing Peter Cech into a sharp save and subs Jordi Gomez and Arouna Kone went close late on, as they went in search for a way back into the clash.
Despite the poor start the Latics dominated much of the play but were lacking the killer touch. The absence of Jean Beasejouer was telling as the Latics were continually left wanting in the final third.

Arouna Kone & Franco Di Santo
They were unlucky not to get at least one goal that their play deserved. Kone looked impressive when he came on, and once he settled was a real threat, and is sure to be involved from the start against Southampton.
Manager Roberto Martinez speaking after the games was delighted with the work rate and desire his side displayed, despite the poor start: “In those first six minutes we looked exposed, created our own problems and were punished as a result. We started with a low intensity just like a pre season game, against a side like Chelsea we could not afford to do that.”
The Spaniard went on to explain: “We were unfortunate not to get a goal we deserved; you know how well Chelsea defend but we created good chances that didn’t quite find a way through. So delighted with the reaction, disappointed we couldn’t start the game with the same high intensity as the response but it’s left us with many positives.”
“We were the best side for 75 minutes which is a real statement against a team like Chelsea.”
Despite the horror start fans will have left the DW on Sunday afternoon, quietly confident that their side do indeed have enough to stay clear of the drop zone, and will be backing the team at Southampton next weekend.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Latics Ready To Continue Their Stay

As the Latics prepare for their eighth consecutive season amongst the elite, following a summer of uncertainty, fans will be delighted  with the business done in the market and crucially holding onto manager Roberto Martinez.

The immediate post season was an anxious affair, at one point it looked almost certain that Martinez would be on his way out. Two of the biggest names in England came calling, first of all Aston Villa, as they did twelve months earlier, asked the question, but were quickly rebuffed by Dave Whelan.

Roberto Martinez
That was just the start five times European Champions Liverpool were next to show an interest. It seemed almost certain that he would be making the short move to Merseyside but in came Whelan. For a week or so we were all treated to the ‘Dave Whelan’ show, with minute by minute updates of his manager’s movements, and for good measure he threw in the odd one liner.  For me Whelan, is free to say what he likes about his club, he took us to the promise land and we are preparing for an eighth season upsetting the establishment. 

Liverpool eventually decided to go with their ‘first’ choice Brendan Rodgers, who let’s not forget really did just pick up where Martinez left from his time at Swansea.

Let’s not forget at one stage it looked as if a deal bringing Martinez’s right hand man, Graeme Jones, to South Wales to join Swansea was going to happen, thankfully all non playing staff remain at the DW.

This season the Latics must build on the back of the last campaign. Unfortunately they aren’t able to throw money around, but have invested wisely.

Ivan Ramis
The arrival of Fraser Fyvie will bolster the midfield and the young Scot will be confident of emulating James McArthur and James McCarthy, in becoming a fixture in the starting XI.

Several players have left on free transfers, including Chris Kirkland. Former regulars Mohamed Diame and Hugo Rodellega left to pursue careers in the capital, after not playing a part in the great escape.

Ivan Ramis will provide some much needed competition to the backline, and his signing will have delighted fans, after it was revealed the former Real Mallorca man had rejected West Ham to join the Latics.

With the ongoing saga over the future of Victor Moses likely to run until the end of the transfer window, Martinez acted in securing the loan deal for Ryo Miyaichi from Arsenal.
The Japanese international is one of the hottest prospects to have ever come out of Asia, and will be given the chance to play regular games this season.

Arouna Kone 
The most recent arrival caught many off guard, Ivorian international striker Arouna Kone joined in midweek on a three year deal. Having played in Holland and Spain the former Levante man will be expected to lead the line, he netted on 15 occasions last season and a similar return for the Latics will guide them away from trouble.

If the Latics can get off to a bright start this season could well see Martinez build on the momentum his side gained at the back end of last season. A tough run over the festive period awaits, consistent form across the whole of the season will be required in order to avoid the usual late dash for survival. Latics fans would love to see a mid table finish and perhaps a cup run. 

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Latics Land African Star

The Latics have completed the signing of Ivory Coast international Arouna Kone, on a 3 year deal from La Liga side Levante.
He becomes Roberto Martinez’s fourth signing of the window, and is a major signal of intent from the Spaniard as he prepares his side for the new season. 
The 28 year old Ivorian international, bagged 15 goals last season including the winner against Real Madrid, and a result helped secure European football.
Arouna Kone
Having started his career in Spain with Sevilla, he joined Levante on a full time basis only this summer, follolwing last season's succesfull loan.
He’s made 35 appearances for the Ivory Coast, netting on 9 occasions, and has lead the line with former Chelsea man Didier Drogba.
He comes with major competition experience, having appeared at the World Cup, African Cup of Nations and Champions League.
Manager Martinez was delighted with the capture: “He’s a player we have chased for a long time, we know him really well, he comes with European football experience and he’s strong with a clinical touch and brings something different to the team.”
Martinez will be delighted to land an out and out goalscorer, with only Henri Camara ever managing getting into double figures since the club’s promotion into the top flight.
Kone’s arrival will relieve some of the pressure from last season’s leading front man Franco Di Santo, and he will be seen as the perfect replacement for Hugo Rodallega who moved to Fulham following his release.
Connor Sammon is widely expected to leave the club before the end of the month with Derby County linked with the Irishman. As for the returning Mauro Boselli he is expected to be given a chance to show his worth but for now will have to do so from the bench.
The future of Callum McManaman is yet to be resolved, he could well provide cover or potentially be sent out on loan.
Kone will link up with his new team mates in time for the visit of European Champions Chelsea, on Sunday afternoon, and will be expected to lead the line.  

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Latics Land Japanese Star

The Latics have completed the season long loan signing of Japanese international Ryo Miyaichi, from Arsenal on Monday evening.
The signing is a real coup for the Latics as they have beaten off a whole host of rivals to the signature who looks set to play an integral part in manager Roberto Martinez’s side, this season.
He becomes the first ever Japanese player the club has ever had, and becomes the third addition to Martinez’s squad.  

Ryo Miyaichi
This will be Miyachi’s third loan spell away from parent club Arsenal since he joined them back in January 2011. He followed a spell with Feyenoord in Holland with a 6 month stint with Latics rivals Bolton at the back end of last season.
He went on to make 12 appearances for Bolton and netted in the FA Cup win at Millwall, but was unable to help in the fight against relegation.
To date his chances in the Arsenal first team have been limited to only League Cup ties, but he comes to the DW with a growing reputation as one of the hottest prospects to have come of Asian football.
He recently made his full international debut in May, when he appeared as a substitute against Azerbaijan, having made a number of squads prior. He has represented Japan across various age levels and exposure to first team football in the Premier League, will ensure that he becomes a feature of his national side.
Many believe long serving Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, was keen to see Miyaichi move to a club that plays a flowing passing style of football.
With the impending transfer of Victor Moses to Chelsea, Miyaichi is seen as the perfect short team solution as the market currently doesn’t represent true value for money.
Having come through a full pre season with Arsenal, he is certain to be involved in the curtain raiser to the Latics eighth season amongst the elite.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Latics Prepare For Life After Moses

Victor Moses’ has moved a step closer to a move to European Champions Chelsea, following advanced talks between the two clubs. 

This evening the BBC have reported that owner, Dave Whelan met with officials from the London club on Wednesday, to finally bring an end to the saga. 

It is understood that Chelsea must match the valuation put in place by Whelan, which it is believed to be in the region of £8.5 million, and Moses has been informed that he will remain at the club if a deal is not struck.

Victor Moses 
Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo is believed to be a big admirer of the Nigerian international, and is keen to include him in his squad ahead of Sunday’s Community Shield clash against Manchester City. Ironically in the first game of the new Premier League season, Moses is likely to make his competitive debut against his former employers as they visit the DW on the opening weekend. 

Latics boss Roberto Martinez will be keen to secure the services of a replacement for Moses. Arsenal’s Japanese international Ryo Miyaichi, is believed to be on radar along with the view of a loan deal. On the permanent side of things Stoke City’s Jermaine Pennant and Blackpool’s Matt Phillips are being monitored.

Ryo Miyaichi 
We will wait and see if another striker is brought in to bolster the front line, with Argentinean pair Franco Di Santo and Mauro Boselli expected to lead the line.

It is crucial that the Latics move quickly in the market in order to ensure that they have players in place ahead of the start of the season, with just over a week until kick off, the countdown is well and truly on.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Wigan 0-2 Real Mallorca - Latics Fall Short

The Latics’ unbeaten pre season run came to an abrupt end, on Sunday afternoon, as La Liga outfit Real Mallorca left the DW victorious.

In what was a largely dominant display from Roberto Martinez’s men, the Spanish Islanders found the net twice, with Victor Casadesus and Kevin Garcia striking in the second half.

Victor Moses 
Martinez took the opportunity to field a strong XI, which included new signing Ivan Ramis. Despite rumours circulating over the weekend that a move to Chelsea is imminent, Victor Moses played the entire game.

Aside from Maynor Figueroa, who is expected back from his Olympic campaign with Honduras this week, many of the first team were given a run out ahead of the start of the new season in a fortnight’s time.

In what was a dominant display in terms of possession from the Latics, they were continually left frustrated as the visitors defence held firm.

A smart finish from Casadesus gave Mallorca the lead, after some poor defending allowed for him to be in, one on one with Ali Al Habsi.

Shaun Maloney had the best chance of the half for the home side, as his effort from a tight angle was dealt with by the visiting keeper.

A defensive lapse allowed the Spaniards to double their lead, in the closing stages, as Garcia slotted home, after linking up with Segi Enric.

The game allowed for seven of the starting XI to complete 90 minutes,  Mauro Boselli getting 45 minutes on his return to England. Scottish starlet Fraser Fyvie got five minutes at the end of the game, his first taste of football at the DW.

With the countdown for the new season well and truly on, next up is a trip to Spain next Sunday to take on Celta Vigo.

Elsewhere Martinez will be keen to see an end to the Moses transfer saga, potential targets have been identified, including Everton’s Victor Anichibe, although a loan move for Arsenal’s Japanese international Ryo Miyaichi looks most likely. 

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Ramis Signs Up

The Latics have beaten rivals West Ham to the signing of Spanish centre, Ivan Ramis, for a fee to believed to be around £4.5 million.

It was announced last weekend that Real Mallorca has agreed a fee with the Hammers for the 27 year old, but following a week of discussions, he has decided to join up with fellow Spaniard Roberto Martinez.

Ivan Ramis 
Ramis arrives at the DW stadium on a three year deal, and will provide the Latics with much needed experience at the heart of the defence. He becomes Martinez second signing of the summer following the arrival of Fraser Fyvie, and could well make his debut in the pre season clash with his former club, Real Mallorca on Sunday afternoon.

Elsewhere the Latics will be keen to see a conclusion to the long running Victor Moses saga. Chelsea are believed to be preparing one final bid for the Nigerian international, unless it meets the club’s valuation, Moses will remain at the DW.

Ryo Miyaichi
A move to Stamford Bridge for Moses, could well signal the arrival, of Belgian international Roman Lukaku on loan. Arsenal’s Japanese international Ryo Miyaichi has been linked with a season long move, although a loan move for Wales captain Aaron Ramsey seems unlikely. Finally Martinez has ruled out a move for free agent and former Latic Emile Heskey.