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Unsung heroes | Roberto Martinez

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Heralded as one of the brightest young managers in the modern day game, Roberto Martinez continues to defy the odds with Wigan Athletic.

Last night's impressive 2-1 win against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium completed back-to-back victories for the Latics, following last Wednesday's surprise 1-0 win against Manchester Untied at the DW Stadium.

They became the first team to beat both United and the Gunners in consecutive games since Southampton in 2001.

It was a fourth victory in Wigan's past five games, adding to their impressive result against Liverpool at Anfield, prior to another promising performance, which resulted in an undeserved defeat against Chelsea, helped in no small part to a series of controversial refereeing decisions.

Martinez's side have now lost just twice in their last 11 Premier League matches, and sit five points clear of the drop zone, with four games remaining.

Franco Di Santo fired the visitors ahead on the counter attack after just seven minutes, and Jordi Gomez doubled their lead inside 90 seconds.

It's the first time in the Premier League era that Arsenal conceded two goals in the opening ten minutes of a game.

Thomas Vermaelen reduced the deficit with a bullet header before the break, but the second-half onslaught never came, leaving Wigan to play out a well-earned three points.

"I always said we would click as a team at the beginning of February," enthused Martinez in his post-match press conference. "We had been playing really well but could not win games, which left us a bit frustrated with draws.

"But we have been patient and been able to be stubborn with what we wanted to do and get the results.

"We always had a mental block against top sides, but we got rid of that at Liverpool and have then felt we can compete against anyone.

"We were very good against Chelsea and deserved a positive result, but it was not a good day in terms of decisions - but nobody can argue we did not deserve the points against Manchester United and Arsenal.

"However, we can't really enjoy it because moments like this will mean nothing if we don't get enough points to stay up."

With games against Fulham and Newcastle to come, ahead of Wigan's final two matches versus struggling Blackburn and Wolves, Martinez knows the club's fate is now very much in their own hands, following an extraordinary turnaround in form.

Arsenal have undergone a similar revival, having won nine of their last ten Premier League games prior to Monday night's encounter, where Arsene Wenger's side were looking to tighten their grip on third place from north London rivals Tottenham - making the manner of Wigan's win look even more outstanding.

It's not all been plain sailing for Martinez though.

Wigan have been involved in a lengthy relegation battle ever since the Spaniard made the move from South Wales, leaving Swansea to replace Steve Bruce as manager in 2009.

Over time, he has succeeded in winning over the fans with his footballing principles and ability to get the best out of young, inexpensive players.

Martinez guided Wigan to 16th place in 2010 and, after another difficult campaign last season, they stayed up on the final day with a 1-0 victory at Stoke - the first time his players had managed successive Premier League wins since his arrival.

After rejecting the chance to succeed Gerard Houllier at Aston Villa last summer, Martinez pledged his loyalty to a club he represented as a player between 1995 and 2001, by signing a new three-year contract.

Dave Whelan, the Wigan chairman, has made his intentions quite clear, vowing to keep his current manager for as long as he can, irrespective of whether or not the club retains its Premier League status.

"I will stick with Roberto Martinez for as long as I can," he promised. "I have said Roberto will go to one of the big clubs in Europe or the UK. He is a high-quality manager and a gentleman. He is 100 per cent honest and I have great admiration for him."

Martinez and Whelan will be looking to celebrate their three-year anniversary together by extending the Latics' stay in England's top-flight for an eighth consecutive campaign - an achievement that must put the unassuming coach in contention for the manager of the season accolade.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Wigan Athletic

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