Expecting the unexpected

Posted by Tony Brown

Wigan players show their frustration after Emmerson Boyce's late own goal handed Spurs a drawGettyImagesThings look bleak at Wigan, but don't expect Latics to go down without a fight

Aston Villa's amazing 6-1 scoreline against Sunderland on Monday was certainly unexpected. One single result has lifted the midland club level on points with both Newcastle and Sunderland, only one point behind Norwich who they play on Saturday. Moreover, their previously poor goal differential has been transformed by the +5 they got last night.

Villa's win will send shock waves among Wigan Athletic supporters, who were hoping their team could overtake the midlanders. However, Latics are now five points behind the pack that Villa have now joined. Things are looking pretty grim.

Around the 85 minute mark of the Tottenham game on Saturday, I was beginning to believe in my heart that Latics were going to come away with the three points. Wigan's second half display was quite superb. A wonderful goal from Callum McManaman had put Latics ahead. Roberto Martinez's tactics were spot on and Tottenham just didn't look like scoring.

However, my head told me something different and I had to brace myself for what was to follow. Could Wigan keep up the vast effort in those tired closing minutes? Stifling a Tottenham team brimming with talent is not easy and takes its mental and physical toll.

Latics supporters have come to expect the unexpected from their team and Tottenham's lucky late goal was probably not a surprise to many of them. So many times this season Latics have not had luck on their side and they have come away short-changed.

Despite much focus being on Aston Villa as relegation rivals, Roberto Martinez has constantly said that other teams will get dragged down into the fray. Let's hope he is right. At the moment Wigan just do not have enough points, but with good results in the next two matches against West Bromwich and Swansea, they can narrow the gap.

Maynor Figueroa's injury in the Tottenham game will put him out for the rest of the season. A bitter pill for Latics to swallow, given that they were already without key central defenders Antolin Alcaraz and Ivan Ramis.

Martinez resisted the urge to put in Gary Caldwell when the Honduran went off injured. His decision to put in the faster Ronnie Stam proved to be tactically justified, as Tottenham's speedy forwards were repelled. However, Caldwell will surely return for the upcoming matches, when a back three is likely to be used.

Things are looking bleak. But with Wigan Athletic, one can continue to expect the unexpected. Wigan may be down, but don't count them out at this stage.

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