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Why Roberto Martinez Must Change His Ways Despite Tottenham Win


While Chelsea managed continue their 100% start to the season, and Sunderland shocked Manchester City, the performance of the weekend has to go Wigan Athletic who bounced back from a disastrous opening two games to record a surprise win at Tottenham. But will victory mark the start of the Latics season or will it be a rare high in a season of disappointment for Roberto Martinez’s men.

After their opening day capitulation against Blackpool followed by a 6-0 humbling at the hands of Chelsea many could have forgiven Martinez for ‘parking the bus’ at White Hart Lane, especially when you consider that they lost 9-1 in North London last year.

But typical of Martinez’s style he stuck to his principles and looked to take the game to the Champions League new-boys. The result was a solitary Hugo Rodallega strike that proved to be many a coupon buster on Saturday afternoon.

The worry for Wigan will be that they caught Tottenham on a good day. Redknapp ‘s side were undoubtedly suffering from a Champions League hangover which lead to them looking jaded and lacking creativity. On another day if Wigan went to Tottenham and tried to attack you would expect Spurs to run out easy winners.

Without meaning to disrespect Wigan, it could be their football which proves to be their downfall. While they managed to have a fairly successful season last year in terms of the fact they survived. You feel that the Premier League is stronger this year, and Wigan haven’t strengthened accordingly.

The unfortunate fact is that Wigan simply can’t afford to go down. Crowd’s have dwindled and would fall even further should the Latics fall in to the Championship. This coupled with the fall in revenue from that relegation inevitably brings could have real financial impacts on Wigan.

This makes the next couple of days crucial. Wigan must make sure they keep hold of Charles NZogbia, who although he didn’t start against Tottenham is their best attacking threat and somebody who can impact on a game. But in my opinion they need to strengthen as well. They desperately need a leader, and somebody who has the ability to help them grind out results. Because the worry is that their Martinez’s style won’t be able to bring enough points.

Personally I feel that the only way Wigan can survive is for Martinez to maybe scrap his method and be content with grinding out results.

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    August 30, 2010 at 4:50 am

    This will hurt fans but Martinez has nothing to do with Martinez or goalkeepers or tactics . The real truth s energy drugs are being use latest trend is five man midfield loads of energy and denying space and hoping to score a late goal . This his the blue print for all shock results and Spurs or City could spend a fortune and still fall for a shock result . Martinez could be completely in the dark why his Team shocked every punter in the land because the top Team i discovered and reported to Uk Sport at the time there manager new nothing of his Teams sudden surge in Tempo that earned them the nicknames The Duracell Bunnies wind them up and they run all day and the comeback kings . Nothing was done except there form dipped remarkable for about six weeks yet stayed good in Europe then when the dust settled they regained there top status. I have campaigned to stop this abuse and sudden deaths shocks massive weight loss making some footballers ill . This has happened for two reasons firstly poor teams cant compets in the transfer market even more with City and any good players get poached so points to stay in the riches league in the World are vital . Secondly even some top clubs are struggling with massive depts so they are also using what i call the equalizer. The sad thing his more shocks and sudden deaths will keep happening because of mixing Drinks with caffine and could be causing sudden deaths . I dont blame Wigan but the FA for not stamping down when players get caught like Paddy Kenny a goalkeeper should tell you the scale of the problem his massive and behind most shocks and its in the style of the win

  2. lee

    August 30, 2010 at 2:29 am

    Al habsi is class. keep him in the side and they may stay up. believe me, he is much better than Kirkland

  3. Scott Alexander

    August 29, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Martinez is a great coach and the players play for him and for each other. As long as they keep Martinez they’ll be fine

  4. GuitarearI

    August 29, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    So wait…Wigan needs to change because they beat a hungover Tottenham team, yet they didn’t have their best attacker on the field and you’re going to criticize Martinez? That makes your logic seem troublesome.

    I thought Martinez did a great job of managing the situation. He changed keepers…Kirkland had no confidence, and Al-Habsi proved a stabilizing force in net. The team parried and fended off Tottenham’s onslaught for the first 20 minutes off the 2nd half, which wore out Spurs. It also allowed their front to remain fresh up to the point where they opened it up, around the 65th minute. Rodallega had a burst on a few consecutive plays, culminating in the only tally.

    Do I think this tactic will win all the time? Of course not. Wigan got smoked (and partly caught offguard I think) against an inspired Blackpool team. They played admirably against Chelsea, but in the end Kirkland leaked and caused them to lose hope. They do need to find more offense, because clean sheets will be tough to come by, but on the road they stole 3 points, and it was beautiful to see how it came together to get them 3 points that few thought was likely.

  5. James Beckett

    August 29, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    Firstly a 5-3-2 system is still way more daring then most teams would try at Tottenham.

    Playing for draws is really the wrong way of putting it. My opinion is that Wigan will get more points if they don’t deploy such an open system.

    I’m not advocating kick and rush football (I’m a Crewe fan and Dario Gradi has brought me up better then that!) but there is a way of playing against better teams then you which doesn’t mean you concede five or six. If Wigan go to somewhere like Arsenal and play football they get beat, if they play for a point, who knows they hit them on the break and sneak all three.

    • Paul

      August 29, 2010 at 8:56 pm

      What is the cutoff for where they should play for a point vs. where they should play for 3. Because if you would ever play for a point against certain teams then clearly Spurs away after two tough home losses (or Chelsea last year after they had been hammered by Arsenal and Man U) would be on that list of time to play conservative. This performance vindicates the strategy somewhat because it proves any game can produce an unexpected win.

  6. Gaz

    August 29, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    So the fact that the victory came as a result of a tactical shift from the usual ineffective 4-3-3 to a more defensive 5-3-2 has clearly passed you by. I generally agree with what you say but I disagree that we have to be negative to stay up, we need a balance. At the moment we are too focused on the offensive in midfield which fails to provide adequate cover for our beleaguered defence. What we need is a more sturdy midfield, from that will come clean sheets and from there come points.

    I will disagree with relegation meaning fewer fans though. Cheaper tickets, more competitiveness and above all more wins and goals at home will bring back those fans who understandably don’t enjoy watching games more predictable than the outcome of sticking your hand in a fire. We win more games, we get more fans, most football fans are fickle in the top flight.

  7. Paul

    August 29, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Several Premier League teams have strengthened- True.
    Wigan is at best about the same strength they were last year- True.
    Wigan will stay up if they play negative football and drop if they play positive- Huh?

    You are begging the question here. You need to outline why you think they will end up on more points playing negative than positive. I think that Martinez’s thoughts are they a win counts for 3 draws, so one win and two losses gives them the same points as a team with three draws and Wigan only needed to get a result from one of its games. I think that the feeling is that if you can get to 10 wins and have a few draws sprinkled in you are near the level you need to stay up. If you try to get the 30 something points to stay up by just getting draws then you need to get points from a majority of your games. It doesn’t matter how many teams dominate Wigan this year if their points total doesn’t put them in 18th or lower.

    You point out that Wigan needs to keep NZogbia and strengthen but this is besides the point and I don’t think that this is a financial reality for a team that can’t fill the DW Stadium

    Perhaps you could articulate your argument of why playing for draws is more likely to keep them up. I assume this is what you mean when you say Martinez should scrap his method and grind out results. Didn’t Hull scrap their beautiful game method from 08/09 and try to grind results in 09/10 for example?

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