Wigan Athletic Premier League Preview
Players In: Arouna Kone, Ivan Ramis, Fraser Fyvie, Ryo Miyaichi
Players Out: Chris Kirkland, Mohamed DIame, Hugo Rodallega
With nine games to go last season Wigan looked doomed with fixtures left included Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Newcastle and yet Wigan would win seven of those nine games playing a modified 3-4-3 formation that finally delivered goals for all the attacking promise that had gone on before.
Wigan fans will be delighted to have been able to hang on to Martinez but will be hoping it doesn’t take 29 games this season to get the team to click into gear. Martinez is likely to stick to the 3-4-3 that worked so effectively and has spent big on Ivan Ramis (£5m) to bolster what was a very shaky defence.
Wigan will be hopeful that new signing Arouna Kone can spearhead an attack that had only scored 25 goals in the first 29 games last season. Mauro Boselli returns as well after a year and a half out on loan looking to finally repay the £6m fee Wigan paid three pre-seasons ago. Kone is a real handful and will be a real dangerman and a fantastic cheap fantasy football pick.
Without wanting to jinx Martinez, the signing of Ramis looks a good one, robust in the challenge, good in the air and with the ability to distribute from the back he is a perfect fit for this Wigan side. Rodallega has gone and with it the spurning of hundreds of chances. If Kone and Boselli can find the back of the net they should do just fine – last season’s top scorer was Franco Di Santo with just 7 goals.
First game analysis:
Wigan fans must be hoping for a slow and steady start to the season, rather than leave it until the last 12 games as the last two campaigns have boiled down to. Wigan were a match for Chelsea for much of Sunday’s game, but gave away two sloppy goals allowing Chelsea to cede territory and just soak up the finishing skills of Franco Di Santo. Ivan Ramis is the big summer signing and he made Gary Caldwell look like a graceful prince, they will need to shore up defensively to avoid being everyone’s favourite plucky relegation favourites.
If Wigan could start seasons the way they finish them they would be challenging for European places. Their fans may not require anything that fanciful but they would love a bright start for once. A lot will depend on their strikers to find the goals they lacked last season and if their defence can find harmony then they should have more than enough to be safe.