Really good performance yesterday with some fine passing football which has lifted us into the top half of the table from the bottom five. Just goes to show how tight everything is, even 10 games into the season, so we can’t really say whereabouts we’ll finish in the season. However, if we play like yesterday more often than not, I think we’ll end up in the top 10. Anyway, as a I say, we played well yesterday, so here goes a lil bit of player rating:
Schwarzer – 6, can’t recall him having to do anything other than collect a few long range shots which he handled well enough.
Salcido – 7, he can’t half cross a ball! Some great balls into the box, two footed, and of course got an assist for Dempsey’s first. Wasn’t really tested too much defensively, although when N’Zogbia or Cleverly came up against him he generally got the better of them. Looks to be settling in well.
Baird – 7, a lovely ball for Dempsey’s second, a low delivery on the ground into a very dangerous area which was converted superbly, and in general had another good game. You had to worry a bit whenever N’Zogbia was one on one against him, simply because of the difference in pace between the two players, but Wigan barely had a sniff all game down his side apart from a couple of bursts into the box. So yeah, good performance from someone establishing themselves as a permanent fixture in our first team
Hangeland – 6, usual dominance in the air, but really had little to do.
Hughes – 6, same as Hangeland, wasn’t pushed in the game.
Greening – 6, since coming in for Etuhu he’s been quite impressive! Not too exciting on the ball but neither is Etuhu, and unlike him Greening isn’t really that intimidating a figure. He does however use the ball more intelligently and he’s more agile so you can see him, like Murphy actually, skip past players to make space. My highlight of the season so far was seeing Greening nutmeg Sandro in the Tottenham game, made him look silly! He’s also really impressed me in the tackle, before this slight run of games he always seemed to be quite Scholes-esque with his rashness (or dirtiness), but he won the ball a fair few times yesterday. It’ll be interesting then to see what happens when Etuhu’s fit again
Murphy – 7, great to see him back in the team. He has come in for some unjustified stick for his performances but yesterday showed firstly just how key he is to our play and secondly just how good a player he is. I know I’ve said it before but he’s just so intelligent, and he can pass a ball well too, he really is the heartbeat of our team and dominated our midfield. Off the ball he isn’t half bad, won his fair share of tackles yesterday, the protection from the midfield for the defence was much better yesterday than against West Brom which I’m sure contributed to our overall good performance. The pattern of Murphy coming off for the last few minutes continued however, replaced by Dikagcoi on 86 minutes, which again brings up the question of how long his performances can continue past this season, but for now the comparison between Wigan and West Brom shows that he should be the first name on the team sheet.
Davies – 7, ran at Stam and won the battle. Davies played well yesterday and looked dangerous all game. Played out on the left again but as I say I prefer him there, although he didn’t get too many dangerous crosses into the area. His movement did allow Salcido alot of space to cross the ball though.
Gera – 7, unlucky not to score with some good long range efforts and missed a 2 yard header but that was trickier than it sounds so I’ll forgive him. I think I’m right in saying that he made both passes to the full backs for the goals, and he made a number of other incisive, testing passes for the Wigan defence. Completed something silly like 50 of them too. Gera played on the right as opposed to behind the striker but he kept drifting in to the channel instead of staying out wide which allowed him to see alot of the ball and get alot of space to use it. Pleased to see him doing well back in the first team and like Greening and Etuhu, Duff might have a challenge on his hands when he recovers from injury.
Dembele – 7, this fella is class. His balance, strength on the ball, dribbling, he’s just great to watch. He goes past players for fun. However, what we do need to see from him is more shots and passes in dangerous areas because he has the ability to cause problems there’s no doubt about that.
Dempsey – 8, two very nice finishes to a very good performance. He’s taken a while to warm up I think, he didn’t start the season too well, but now he has 5 goals in 10 games (4 in 8 in the league) which is impressive, Kamara take note. Dempsey gets into dangerous areas but I still don’t think he should be playing upfront. He gets into goalscoring positions from midfield just as well, and playing upfront limits his ability, but he’s only there through necessity and when AJ gets more match fit I think he’ll drop back. I loved it when he went out wide later in the second half and beat the Wigan defender twice with some nice quick feet and flicks. Looking at his chalkboard too, 33 passes out of 35 which is impressive but they came all over the pitch. So we do lose a bit of emphasis upfront when he plays there, and had AJ started I think that we would have won even more convincingly.
AJ – N/A, only had a quick cameo at the end of the game like at West Brom last week but looked pretty sharp and quick, I wonder if he’ll start against Villa. I think he should have won a penalty too. Great to see him back from injury too, his interview on the offal was a really good read, if you haven’t seen it make sure you do!
Dikagcoi – N/A, even less time than AJ but good to have another option in midfield. Looked neat but he couldn’t show much in 4 minutes so let’s not judge.