Wigan’s form has been a bit Jekyll and Hyde this season. Brilliant at times, extremely ordinary at others: patchy might be the best way to describe Roberto Martinez’s first season in charge. The Spaniard might have been a bit more pragmatic than Tony Mowbray, as he was prepared to add a brawn at the expense of a bit of beauty in the heat of a relegation battle, and that in itself suggests that he’s a promising young manager.
Despite being just above the drop zone, Wigan have a few dangers that Hodgson will have primed his players to be alive to tomorrow afternoon. Undoubtedly, the first of those, should he be fit to play, is the former Newcastle winger Charles N’Zogbia. So gifted is the Frenchman that it’s possible to become infuriated with his inconsistency, but on his day he’s virtually unstoppable. These two diagrams, not including the excellent goals he scored in both games, shows just how few balls he wastes during the course of ninety minutes, no mean feat for such a creative player.
Paul Scharner was tipped as a Roy Hodgson target during the summer but the Austrian stayed at the DW Stadium. His tigerish tackling is well-known, largely because he can do a good job at centre back, but what’s just as his impressive is how he makes the midfield tick.
Again, look at how well distributes the ball, just as impressive as N’Zogbia from a deeper position in his combative midfield, and how rarely the Austrian international gives it away.
Whilst the Whites would do well to watch Hugo Rodallega, especially if he ghosts forward from a midfield role, it will also be important to curb the attacking instincts of the former Chelsea full-back Mario Melchiot, who has been asked to attack more of late in the absence of N’Zogbia.
Hodgson’s team selection will be very interesting indeed.