Maynor Figueroa of Wigan Athletic tackles Cameron Jerome of Stoke City during the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Stoke City at DW Stadium.
Its been a while since the weekends game, to me it seems like a week ago, but with the time turning it is right to sit down and think about just what went right or even wrong against Stoke City. It was a game of beauty and the beast, Wigan the glorious beautiful passing football, while Stoke City the ugly beastly physical nature. Now I am being a bit of a hypocrite here as I do like the physical nature of the game, so long as it is clean and fair. It is what makes the game enjoyable to watch at times.
Yet under the new Martinez philosophy, we Wigan fans have to learn not to like it. To hate that aspect and look at it as some form of lower class football. I know its harsh, but it is the way the game is changing and the way in which our football style is too.
Not that I have a problem with that. Its nice to see a local family team pass the ball and play what was called the continental style. All of this I will talk about later, there is much to be said on how Martinez has developed the 3-4-3 and how we are playing it, but that is for another time.
Yet the one flaw in Roberto Martinez's squad was exposed by Stoke. Even if we don't want to admit it.
Last season when the lads got the style of play that we are playing. It didn't matter who we played, we played our way and forced the opposition team back into their own half and sort of said, 'come on then, show us what your made of'. We all know the results of what happened only losing three games in the last three months of the season etc. Yet we haven't carried over that same arrogance this season.
We were getting close to it, and looked on Saturday like our old selves penning Stoke back, and forcing them into errors. Yet with a bit of luck, or a hand of Figueroa, they got back into it. However come the second half, we let Stoke into the game, and allowed them to throw the ball forward against, in terms of stature, what is a weak defence.
The three center back we have in Ivan Ramis, Gary Caldwell and Maynor Figueroa; are very technically gifted players. Yet if you look at their physical ability and can they our muscle and out header opposition players you have to argue that it is a no.
The downfall to that is what we saw on Saturday where our defense was bullied by Stoke in the end, to losing the three points. Peter Crouch and Jonathon Walters could easily tower over all three and win the ball. Exactly what happened for the goal.
Our back three was one position I thought we were weak and it proved to be so. Without Antolin Alcaraz in the back three, we have to header of the ball. We have no hard man to our muscle the strikers.
The options for improvement is to get someone new in, or you work with Ramis to develop him into the header winning player. Whether or not that was the intention of his acquisition I don't know. The Spaniard for me is still adapting to the league and has done a good job so far, maybe by Christmas we will see the real Ramis.
For now there isn't much else Roberto can do, but wait and see what shape the lads return in from the International break with seven of our players away with their international teams.