The only home game of our pre-season matches coming Just six days before the start of the season. Villarreal would give us a stern test to prepare for the new season, they themselves had a good season last year, doing well in the Champions League and again qualifying for the competition.
The team to start consisted of our now permanent keeper Ali Al Habsi, while an inform Moses started wide on the left. Seven of today’s starting line up featured against Stoke City on the final day of last season.
The game started well for Wigan, some short passing moves and quick
pressing showing the slack from the holidays is truly worn off.
We were first to come close to scoring. Moses cutting in from the left, who was fouled on the edge of the box. Up stepped Gomez who curled a great shot to the top corner, only for it to hit the intersection.
While at the other end Di Santo was put in behind the Villarreal defence. Only for him to curl a tame shot for the keeper to save. Following this Di Santo was again put through, only for him to miss place a pass which left Gomez stranded, on the right side of the box as the Villarreal defence came flooding back into the box.
You could say the game didn’t mean anything to our players though. Tackling was in the usual English style (hard). Figueroa was lucky to avoid a booking, but then minutes later a rough challenge by Caldwell saw him in the referees note-book.
With only seconds to go of regulation time Latics were on the attack. The ball fell to Di Santo who managed to slip it through to Moses. The winger happily slotted the ball home from close range scoring yet again on pre-season, as the half time whistle blew.
1-0 to Wigan at the break and we looked good for our lead. Some very poor defending at times had let Villarreal slip through, but at the other end Moses was causing havoc and took his chance well. At the end of the break Chris Kirkland and Connor Sammon came on to replace Ali Al Habsi and Franco Di Santo. From the restart Sammon looked more lively than Di Santo had been in all of his 45 minutes.
From the restart, James McCarthy was involved in a nasty tackle where two Villarreal players took his leg out. It could have been worse than it was, but he managed to eventually get to his feet and was brought off. Replaced by James McArthur.
Gomez managed a great ball over the top which set Sammon free down the right hand side. The Irish man took the ball and strode forward, however he was forced wide by the defence and could only manage a tame shot to the keeper’s right.
James McArthur was looking good and was bringing Gomez into the game more, however he wasn’t able to hold the ball up much. Thomas and Jones came on as Watson and Diame left the field.
A Figueroa mistake saw the ball break for Nilmar of Villarreal. However Lopez scampered across and made a superb tackle, seeing the ball out for a corner. The Spaniard looked good in the second half and will surely push for a place this season.
Jones had a quick one two with Moses in a Latics attack. Moses then whipping the ball in saw it bounce off the keeper to Sammon who could only manage to direct it over the bar. Moses looking deadly through out could well fill the shoes left by Charles N’Zogbia.
With the game coming into it last ten minutes chances stared to dry up, however Giuseppe Rossi came close. The Italian took the ball up half way in the Latics half, ran to the edge of the box and blasted a shot towards goal. The ball just flying over the cross-bar.
All in all it was a good run out for Wigan. The team looked a lot better than this time last year, are we peaking at the right time? I hope so, a lot of our key figures look to be on good form.
Moses is now defiantly one of them and he yet again and a great game, at the center of every good Latics attack and managed to score the goal that won the game. He will be one to watch next season.
David Jones could also be. The former United man looked great when he came on in the second half, controlling the midfield making some great pass and runs, will add some depth to our midfield. I am feeling confident for next weekend, lets hope we can have the same performances against Norwich.