Behind Enemy Lines: Wigan Athletic

Behind Enemy Lines: Wigan Athletic

Thankfully the international break is over and we can all get back to football games that really matter.

This weekend we welcome Wigan Athletic to Old Trafford and, ahead of the match, I spoke to freelance journalist and Wigan Atheltic super fan Niall Owens about the season so far, Martinez and the game itself.

You can follow Niall on Twitter here and read his fantastic blog, Latics in a nutshell, here.

Are you pleased with your season so far?

Despite the poor start to the game against Chelsea I left the game in good spirits. We controlled the game for long periods and we were unlucky not to score. Since then we’ve beaten Southampton and drawn with Stoke, and progressed in the Capital One Cup. All of our forwards have netted and Di Santo and Maloney look to have picked up from last season, so overall happy with the start and quietly optimistic ahead of the remainder of the campaign.

You’ve seen quite a few players moved on this summer which, at first glance, leaves you quite light up front. What are your thoughts on the departures and do you think any of them could destabilise the squad as the season goes on?

Victor Moses was the major departure but for me it’s great business for the club. Undoubtably talented but far from the finished article, so many times he’s frustrated and still needs to learn. Career wise it’s an awful move for him but I hope I’m wrong. I’m confident that we have strengthened during the window and Arouna Kone looks a bargain for less than 3 million we’ve got a guy who netted 15 times in la liga last season.

Were you worried that you might lose Martinez over the summer? I thought he was destined for Liverpool myself.

I thought he was gone, it looked inevitable I think Dave Whelan did a great job and unlike Moses, Martinez has made the right decision career wise at this stage of his career.

I once heard a Wigan Athletic fan say that no matter which players you sold the team would be alright provided Martinez stayed but if Martinez went there would be no players that you could feasibly bring in that would make up for not having him in the dugout. What do you think? Does the clubs future rely on Martinez being at the helm.

We’ve got to be realistic – Roberto will move on eventually but I’m confident that in Graeme Jones we would have someone who could easily carry on the ethos and ensure Roberto’s style is carried on through. Swansea wanted Jones and I think, along with Steve Clarke, can be one of a new breed of class assistants moving to the top jobs.

You are quite rightly viewed as a side that like to play football  the “right way” – on the ground with attacks starting at the back. Do you think that sometimes this aesthetically pleasing, eye catching style of football has slowed your progress in moving up the league or do you think it’s just a matter of time before you secure mid-table stability?

I’m not going to lie, at times I wish we would just shoot instead of taking an extra touch. At times like when we thumped Newcastle and blitzed Arsenal we are a delight to watch and when everything clicks we can beat anyone. To improve we must become more clinical and with Kone we have a goal scorer and Di Santo is ever improving. I think we can progress this season for sure.

Onto the game itself, who do you think will win?

I’d like to think we can get something after finally beating you in April. But my heads says 3-1 to United.

What are your thoughts on United’s opening games so far?

United have made their typical slow start nothing to cause too much alarm, but I get the feeling that the defence is a huge issue. Saying that with RVP up top, you are going to out score most teams. I really do like Kagawa he looks the real deal already.

Where do you think you will finish this season?

I think we will finish between 10-15th.

Where do you think United will finish this season?

United will will the league. City will find defending the title is much harder than winning it.

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