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Latics cannot elude fate

Odds stack up against Martinez and Wigan

By | 7th November 2011

The shock on their faces was there for everyone to see. From Conor Sammon’s look of pure surprise after netting the equalizer against West Ham on the season’s final day, to Roberto Martinez’s delirious celebrations after Charles N’Zogbia’s stoppage time winner, and the subsequent final whistle, Wigan somehow seemed to have cheated death during the dramatic climax of last year’s edition of the Barclays Premier League.

But after keeping ahold of their Spanish manager amid interest from Aston Villa, it seems that fate has finally caught up to Dave Whelan’s club. They currently have just 5 points from 11 matches, already 5 points off safety, with the division’s worst goal difference of -13.

Their lone victory came way back on 27 August, a 2-0 triumph over QPR, and since that win they have lost eight league matches in a row, and nine if you consider their upset loss against Crystal Palace in the League Cup.

Ali Al Habsi has been again preferred in goal over Chris Kirkland, but the goalkeeper has faced a barrage of shots, conceding 17 in just 10 matches.

Wigan have scored just six goals all year, with Franco Di Santo (3), Mohamed Diame (2), and Ben Watson (1) the only players to get their name on the scoresheet this year. Hugo Rodallega, Victor Moses, and Sammon have all failed to find the target.

James McCarthy, who was so influential in the midfield last year, has struggled with injuries, and the replacements Martinez has drafted in have often failed to impress.

Ben Watson has struggled with the increased responsibility, and Wigan’s porous defence has often seem the whole side overrrun, even by fellow strugglers Wolves, who beat them 3-1 this past weekend at Molineux.

Even though it is still November, their home tie against 19th placed Blackburn next weekend is undoubtedly a relegation six-pointer.

The DW will have to back their side, and with Martinez’s opposite number Steve Kean also under a lot of pressure, three points is a must for Wigan.

An away trip to Sunderland the next weekend looks less likely to yield a result, as does the visit of Arsenal on 3 December, although they have enjoyed success against Arsenal recently.

The Latics run the risk of being a very unattractive destination for any potential recruits in the winter transfer window should their poor form continue, and Martinez’s position may come under threat, despite the praise Whelan has lavished on him since his arrival from Swansea City.

With Norwich, Swansea, and QPR all looking competitive, it seems that Wigan’s time in the top flight may finally be coming to an end.

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