Wigan Athletic (a) Premier League
13 mins Shaun
Maloney pushed the ball out to the Wigan and found Emerson Boyce, who
moved infield to evade the lurking Davide Santon and supplied a deep
cross. Franco Di Santo leapt above the grounded Coloccini but failed to
make contact with the ball and it dropped on to the head of Victor Moses,
who beat marker Mike Willamson to back-head it beyond the helpless Tim
"In the first half we worked really hard to stop a Newcastle side that came here with real momentum after six consecutive victories. We stopped them playing and then slowly began to dominate the game for which I hope the players get huge credit.
"The chances we've been creating lately are down to the pattern of play that the players are showing a real understanding in and their movement off the ball was very effective. Then, in front of goal, the finishes from Franco Di Santo, Shaun Maloney and Victor Moses were top class - that comes from belief and this group deserves massive credit for their hard work.
"In the second half we switched off a little and were perhaps a little too concerned with the score-line rather than playing the game which is normal. Overall, the performance has taken us another step forward and now we need to make sure we get ready for the Blackburn game.
"We're still in a situation where we are fighting against relegation which is not going to change, but it's fair to say that April has had the biggest football impact in the history of Wigan Athletic for which everyone at the Club deserves huge credit. Now we've got two more massive cup finals were the same levels are required from everyone."
United travelled to the DW Stadium on Saturday with the opportunity to lengthen a winning run of six games, extend their shutout sequence further past the six hour mark and see Papiss Cisse add his name to our roll of honour by scoring in a seventh successive game.
Facing them were a Wigan side fresh from conquests of Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal, as their annual escape from relegation began to gather pace.
Not even the most optimistic Latics fan - or pessimistic Magpie follower - could have foreseen what was to come in the opening half though, as the Premier League's lowest home scorers netted four without reply in 32 minutes.
After some forgettable opening exchanges, the game burst into life and the away support were left reeling by two Victor Moses goals. Further strikes then followed from Shaun Maloney and Franco Di Santo as a re-run of our White Hart Lane horror show unfolded. And like that drubbing by Spurs, everything the home side hit went in - and we were inept in the extreme right across the field.
Some hasty re-jigging of the defence at 0-2 by Alan Pardew saw an unchanged United side go to three at the back, with Davide Santon switching to the right and the shell-shocked Danny Simpson move across - not that it made much difference, as Wigan continued to find space on both wings.
However Newcastle resumed after the break with no substitutions and their more usual formation - although little improvement in energy and creativity. Too many players picked the same game to have a dip in form and the wearing of the orange kit led to unwelcome comparisons with the similarly -clad Swansea on days when their tappy lappy passing game proves to be no threat to opponents.
An improvement had to come and it arrived just after the hour mark when Papiss Cisse came to life and tested Al Habsi for the first time, before striking both bar and post as Wigan conceded ground for the first time. Hatem Ben Arfa meanwhile began to buzz around the edge of the box and fizzed one effort just wide, while a few other half-chances were spurned and some poor runs were rightly penalised by the female official.
Bowing to the inevitable though, Pardew gave some pitch time to Ryan Taylor, James Perch and Shane Ferguson as he withdrew Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye ahead of Wedneday's trip to Chelsea. Wigan almost had the final word though, with only a last-gasp clearance by Fabricio Coloccini late on preventing our third five-goal pasting of the season.
Perhaps an excess of recent feelgood newspaper articles and gushing interviews had collectively gone to our heads - but if this wake up call ahead of the final three tests of the season is heeded, then it's not the end of the world, although that buzzword momentum is now seemingly back in possession of Chelsea and Spurs.
The margin of the loss isn't great for our
confidence but it didn't do our league standing irreparable damage, with goal
difference not really now an important consideration. And as for the Champions League quest - only
time will tell whether the Stoke victory proved to be our high water mark and
reality is now starting to bite ever so slightly, as we get into what was
always a tricky quartet of fixtures to end the season with.