Wigan Athletic: Five things we learned from Leeds United (a)

Paul Kendrick reflects on five talking points from Wigan Athletic's 1-0 victory over Championship leaders Leeds at Elland Road...

Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 12:17 pm
Updated Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 12:24 pm
Gavin Massey

1 Lightning can strike twice. It's fair to say not many - Latics fans included - would have had an away win on the coupon. But just like last season, Latics dug deep against the odds, and in the face of almost constant pressure, and found a way to get the job done. That makes it two wins in the last two trips to Leeds. And two wins from their last 38 other away matches. Both victories at Elland Road were achieved with less than 25 per cent possession. But just like last year - when Latics hit the bar and should have had a penalty - the visitors could easily have won by a greater margin, with Kieffer Moore and Tom Pearce being denied by last-gasp defending.

2 Central to the effort. Paul Cook reverted to a back five to bolster the backline, and all three centre-backs were outstanding. Kal Naismith and Cedric Kipre both cleared off the line, but special mention too for the way Chey Dunkley slotted back in with aplomb. It must have been tough to sit on the sidelines for the best part of two months, having slipped down the pecking order behind a converted midfielder. But he's remained a model professional, a big voice in the dressing room and at the training ground, and his performance will possibly have given the manager food for thought about whether to persevere with five at the back.

3 Leading from the front. Once again, Latics were led from the front by skipper Sam Morsy. It's been noticeable in recent games how much more involved in the attack Morsy has been, with several shots on goal and a vital assist against Sheffield Wednesday. It looks like Morsy has been freed from the shackles of primarily sitting in front of the centre-backs, and he looks far better - and happier - to get more involved at the other end. It's also worth noting his growing influence has come at a time when he is keeping his nose clean with referees. After being booked eight times in the opening 14 league games, he's had his name taken only once in the last 13. He remains one yellow off a two-match ban - and Latics need him on the field as they fight their way out of trouble.

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4 Man for the big occasion! It was great to see Gavin Massey back in the side and looking like his old self again. The forward has endured a frustrating campaign so far, looking at times to be playing within himself, possibly subconsciously trying to avoid the muscle injuries that plagued him last season. But he produced his best game since...erm, this fixture on Good Friday, when he scored both goals, to terrorise the home defence. His pace gave Latics another outlet, and offered much-needed support to the selfless Kieffer Moore. Even the doubters among the Latics fanbase - of which there are plenty - will surely have been won over on this showing.

5 Celebration practice required! Joe Williams doesn't get many goals, so he can be forgiven for completely mucking up his knee-slide celebration in front of the away end. He joked afterwards that he may have to get some tips from his little brother on how to get it right! Michael Jacobs has also previously been left red-faced by stubbing his knee into the turf after scoring and ruining his big moment...it's not as easy as it looks!