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Newcastle United 1-0 Wigan Athletic

Sunday 23rd October 2011
Going into this 3pm kick off one thing you could guarantee was goals, Wigan having lost their last 6 games and conceding 15 goals in the progress and Newcastle still unbeaten after 8 Premier League games with on fire striker Demba Ba having scored 5 goals in his last 3 appearances, Wigan though were boosted by the return of influential midfielder Hugo Rodallega whilst Newcastle named an unchanged side once again.

The start of the game very much went against the form book as Wigan flew out of the blocks and had an early appeal for a penalty after Diame went down in the box but the half hearted appeals were waved away by referee  Neil Swarbrick, then it was the turn of Tim Krul to take centre stage as he made a fantastic reflex save from a 12-yard strike from Victor Moses. At this point Wigan were very much on top with Newcastle yet to create any clear cut chances, that was until 33 minutes in when Best headed straight at Al Habsi when it would of been easier to score. After what was a fairly poor first half Newcastle manager Alan Pardew shuffled his pack by taking off the unimpressive Leon Best to be replaced by Frenchman Hatem Ben Arfa for the second game in a row and he made an immediate impact with Newcastle applying pressure at the start of the 2nd half. Demba Ba thought he had broken the deadlock with a headed effort , but replays showed that Al Habsi had done fantastically well to keep the ball the right side of his goal-line. Then came the moment of brilliance this game needed with substitute Sylvain Marveaux laying the ball off to Yohan Cabaye who curled a fine placed shot from 18 yards into the top left corner of the Latics net for his first ever goal for Newcastle. Diame had the final chance of the game for Wigan to snatch the point that they rightly deserved but his header went horribly wide to leave Newcastle to close out the game to record a very tight but hard fought victory which leaves them in 4th place 4 points above chasing Liverpool, as for Wigan the picture looks a little more grim as they are left rooted to the foot of the table after their 6th defeat in a row, but based on this performance they will not stay there very long.

In summary this game was won by one moment of pure class from Cabaye who already looks like being one of the signings of the summer and at under 5 million an absolute bargain too, which makes you wonder why more clubs didn't try to sign him. As for Wigan they put in a far superior performance to the one at Bolton Wanderers last weekend, but they desperately need to start picking up points otherwise they will find themselves in real trouble come May.
Vincent Cluitt

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