Sheffield Wednesday earned three valuable points at relegation strugglers Wigan Athletic to regain their position in the play-off places.
Wigan missed out on the opportunity to leap out of the bottom three but still have a game in hand on 21st place Burton Albion. Wigan missed several chances during the second half and Wednesday scored from their only real goal scoring opportunity.
Ross Wallace scored on the brink of half-time when he strike flicked off Buxton and over Wigan goalkeeper Haugard. It was poorly defended by Wigan, Sasso launched the ball from deep, Rhodes nodded the ball down and Wallace’s deflected close-range effort looped over Haugard.
Wigan Athletic host Norwich City on Tuesday and Sheffield Wednesday return home to face Birmingham City next Friday.
Wigan played very deep in the first half and invited pressure from the Wednesday attacking line. They played very compact in the midfield, which caused congestion and made it difficult for the visitors to break through.
The hosts had various numbers back to defend and they pressed Sheffield Wednesday when they were in possession. However, they lacked movement and imagination in the attack and were pressing from deep positions rather than pressing high up the pitch.
It was very frustrating to watch and Wigan’s midfield were regularly shifting the ball up to Will Grigg and failing to move forward, which left him isolated up front on his own. It’s clear that Warren Joyce is attempting to play a simplistic long ball system, with a strong defence, which outnumbers the attack.
Gary Caldwell brought back the style, which was implicated by former manager Roberto Martinez. Wigan performed the passing style from the back very effectively during their title winning campaign in League One last season. They failed to transfer their winning form into the Championship, which led to the sacking of Caldwell.
Joyce has very little option but to play a safe style to attempt to preserve Wigan’s Championship status. Unfortunately, in the first half, they lacked movement, imagination and support. They’re still currently a working progress but it’s essential that Wigan continue to pick up points, as they did with two consecutive league wins prior to Sunday’s FA Cup defeat to Manchester United.
Wednesday gained momentum towards the end of the first half and used the flanks to create width. This made it very difficult for Wigan to defend, as they set-up with a compact midfield, which worked effectively in the early stages of the match.
Wigan, who were strong defensively throughout the first half, were undone too easily on the brink of half-time. Sasso launched the ball from defence, Rhodes knocked the ball down and Wallace’s close-range strike spun over Haugard off the desperate lunging figure of Buxton.
The hosts enjoyed a much better second half and created various opportunities but they lacked the final product. Will Grigg was substituted with 25 minutes remaining after an ineffective display.
Weir and Bogle emerged from the bench and made an impact on the game in the final third. They added young energy and an extra attacking threat but they were still unable to find an equaliser.
Morsy had an effort smothered by Westwood, Connolly scored from an offside position and Weir headed over from point-blank range. Power was too hesitant in the midfield and needed to bring the ball forward much quicker. Wigan also relied on Jacobs too much in the attack, which is why Weir and Bogle added more options in the attack when they were brought on from the bench.
Morsy could’ve been an important figure in the attack but Wigan failed to bring him into the game. Wednesday sat deep and looked to see the game out by keeping possession when possible and sitting deep when without the ball.