For eight years now Wigan Athletic have been in the Premer League, however, year after year they make life difficult for themselves and are always teetering on the brink of relegation.
It’s not often that a team that plays some great football finds itself in such dire situations each season.
Since taking charge of the Lancashire outfit in 2009 Roberto Martinez has revolutionised the Latics playing style. The former Spaniard player has bought the famous tica-taca brand of football to the DW Stadium.
His style of football focuses on the aesthetics of football that involves quick passing and movement. That has brought Wigan many admirers. Their ball retention within the midfield area is also good but they have a knack of playing well but still losing matches. Unfortunately, that is a habit that they just haven’t kicked.
Over the past seasons Wigan have perilously survived the drop. How do they do it? Certainly not by financial muscle. The club have a net worth is £43 million pounds compared to Manchester United who are worth a staggering one billion pounds.
Not only do they have a good football ethic, but they also unearth some fabulous players who help their cause. Their current midfield combo of Shaun Maloney and Paul Scharner move the ball around confidently and statistically they create a high number of potential goal scoring chances.
Given the two ingredients of talent and good footballing philosophy why do Wigan then fail to finish higher up in the table? Take last season, Wigan showed they can take the stage when need be and in the last few games outperformed any team in the Premier League home or away – they beat both Manchester United and Arsenal which is no mean feat.
Their problem is, however, they cannot sustain a string of results. Confidence comes from a run of winning and gaining results and not always playing well.
Take this year’s FA Cup. A string of fantastic results was topped off by a marvellous 3-0 victory at Everton, which left the Toffees and also the football nation stunned.
Wigan took this confidence into the semi-finals where they met a dogged and determined Milwall. In a game, more remembered by off-field violence, they played a perfect 90 minute match. Despite being favourites for the tie, the excellence of Martinez cannot be underestimated.
He primed his players to not underestimate the potential of Milwall. Once a Championship manager himself with Swansea, Martinez knew what was coming.
Wigan put aside their relegation worries of the season and pulled out scintillating display of composure, determination and clinical finishing.
It allowed them to run out easy winners and make history by booking their ticket to the Wembley final.
Now the conundrum. With a good squad of players, a good footballing style and a very good manager; why do Wigan get themselves in such a mess. Could it be that their mentality needs to change – they have to learn to win and believe they can win every game.
The last time they showed that strength was towards the end of last season when they had their backs against the wall – a real shift in mentality and a belief about winning helped them survive.
This season the team have to do it all over again. With a good team, great manager, experience of beating the drop and FA Cup final heroics still fresh in their minds surely Wigan have the toolset that will help them survive again?
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