It’s hard to write this very objectively, considering how much THAT FA Cup victory sticks in the mind – an example of availability bias. I suppose the historic cup win represented a glimpse of what might have been, had Wigan got their act together in the same way for the majority of their matches in the league. They started the season quite indifferently, and ended the same way: nothing like the strong finish they had in the previous season although those memories certainly stirred up panic amongst the teams above them!
Pretty much anyone who saw Wigan last season (in the league, not the cup) will realise that offensively they were ok, but defensively they were poor. They outscored both Sunderland and Newcastle, but, with an average of 1.92 goals conceded per game, they equalled Reading’s poor total of 73 conceded – the worst in the league.
Honours even in terms of points at home and away – a better points total away from home than Sunderland, Newcastle and Stoke. That means that, yep you guessed it, their home record was one of the worst – only superior to QPR in fact.
Not a lot to shout about in terms of ‘giant-killings’ against the top 5 here. What about the cup?! I’m not talking about the cup. Wigan needed to do just slightly better against the teams around them to have stayed up.
[click the above picture to view Vital Stats]
I’m intrigued by these stats. They show that by weighted average playing time, Wigan were just short of the league average in terms of height, but they fielded something like 2-3 players per game less than the opposition in terms of players over 1.82m. It might simply mean that there are loads of Wigan players standing 1.81m tall, which may not have been too much of a problem.
With over 60% of the team having played over 2400mins, the chart above suggests that Wigan’s team was largely settled and perhaps they didn’t have too many serious injuries. That’s not true, as highlighted by the article I linked to for the Newcastle review here. Crusat, Ramis, Scharner and Caldwell were all missing for significant periods, plus Figueroa and Beausejour in the closing games, forcing Wigan to use their squad to its full extent – when you look at it that way, they can count themselves fairly unlucky not to have finished the season a little higher up. However, Wigan were still able to field the arguably more important Koné, Figueroa, Boyce, McCarthy and Maloney for over 2800mins.
In general, Wigan’s squad applied itself very well, attaining higher than average performance scores which belied their position. The same occurred with QPR. I think this may be a result of Wigan having to chase games more often than the average team – i.e. the effect of game states on match statistics – TPOEM only sees the end results, not what happens before/after goals. But there’s also little to doubt the excellent contributions from Koné, McCarthy and Maloney.
- 5th highest tackle success ratio (78.4%)
- Involved in the lowest total aerial duels (835) and a below average success ratio (47%)
- Lowest total headed clearances (415, less than half Spurs’ total)
- 2nd lowest total clearances (894, behind Arsenal)
- 2nd lowest total losses of possession (5568, behind Swansea)
- 3rd highest number of long balls attempted (2048) and a good success rate of 64%
Maloney and Koné really dominated Wigan’s stats. Maloney took the lion’s share of TPOEM team man of the match awards, taking 11 in total of which 4 were good enough to be overall man of the match. McCarthy’s overall contribution to Wigan was similar to Ramsey’s for Arsenal – which I mean as a compliment – all the more impressive considering the differing fortunes of the 2 teams. Although Koné was profligate at times, he managed an impressive 11 goals in the league and Wigan will struggle to keep him – particularly with reported interest from Martinez’ Everton.
Lastly, despite playing relatively little, Scharner was the highest rated defender in terms of pure defensive contribution – no doubt they missed his aerial presence for most of the season in defence.