2 months ago Wigan were bottom of the table. Now they are three clear of relegation and have beaten the biggest teams in the league
Almost two months ago on the 3rd March two Gylfi Sigurdsson wonder strikes condemned Wigan to a 2-0 home defeat to Swansea and leave the Lactics at the foot of the Barclays Premier League table. At the time Wigan were the lowest scorers in the league, had only won once at home all year and hadn’t scored in 11 games. Since then Wigan have climbed a couple of places in the goals for column, recorded three very impressive home wins against Stoke, Newcastle and Manchester United and most importantly risen to 16th in the table three points clear of the drop zone. They have also won at Anfield and the Emirates and have only lost twice since that loss to Swansea. Of course this not the first time this Wigan team have come to the fore when it mattered (who can forget their remarkable turnaround against Arsenal to claim that famous 3-2 victory) but just how does this tiny team keep mixing it with the big boys?
The money is hardly there but yet Wigan keep producing season after season and one of the main reasons for this is their intelligent transfer policy. Wigan never spend outrageous amounts on players and will always look to buy low and sell high. Perhaps two of the best examples of this were their South American stars Wilson Palacios and Antonio Valencia.
The two were bought for fees believed to be totalling £3.7-£6 million and they have both since moved on for fees combing £28 million bringing the club a healthy profit. The club has always looked to invest their money sensibly and look to pick up young players on the cheap such as James McArthur, James McCarthy and Victor Moses. Having watched Moses play against my school's 1st XI when he was 16 its frightening to see how quickly he developed with Palace and now with Wigan. The goals are starting to come for Moses and he is part of a number of bright talents currently at the DW.
Their style of play is also something that has impressed recently and that has to be down to the influence of Roberto Martinez. Recently named Manager of the Month for April the Spaniard is a firm favourite in the North-West and it is safe to say recent performances, combined with a rejection of an approach from Villa earlier this season have further immortalised Martinez at Wigan, a club he made over 150 appearances for as a player. His calm yet authoritative approach has brought out the best in a number of players and the signings he has made reflect his Spanish roots and his desire to play “proper” football. His freedom to develop the squad his own has been made much easier by the relaxed nature of chairman Dave Whelan and the excellent working relationship between the pair. The mutual respect between the two men is astonishing and they can only ever speak the praises of the other which is a very rare thing in the modern game. Wigan are a club that will struggle, that is only natural but the patience and loyalty shown to Martinez by Whelan is remarkable and something a certain Mr Abramovich should observe.
Wigan’s remaining fixtures are away at struggling Blackburn and the already relegated Wolves. I would hate to jinx it but I believe they will stay up and I personally think this is a good thing. They are a club with a hard-working group of players with extraordinary self-belief and never say die attitude. They are run well and run sensibly by a man with the club’s interests extremely close to his heart. Further growth will require a new owner with a bigger wallet but for now Wigan will continue to frustrate, impress and excite and be a vital member of the Premier League.