The Latics, once again, sit in and around the relegation zone for the majority of the season, yet we all know what will happen. Roberto Martinez’s men will put on a burst of form and secure safety. Despite their current predicament in the league, they have produced some aesthetically-pleasing football for spectators this year and this is thanks to their star performers Shaun Maloney, Callum McManaman and Arouna Kone.
30 year-old Scot Maloney has again had a decent season with Wigan, providing a sorely-needed creative spark which has seen him maintain his place in his national team. Trickery and creativity are his main tools; he has utilised them with great success to aid Wigan’s attacking exploits. What’s more, his exquisite free-kick against QPR at the weekend was delightful and could just be the goal that keeps them in the Premier League for another season.
21 year-old attacking midfielder McManaman has made the headlines for all the wrong reasons, but that shouldn’t detract from what has otherwise been a successful season. His desperately high and late lunge on Newcastle’s Haidara led to calls for retrospective bans – controversially unanswered by the FA – but he has had a good season otherwise. He has been a youthful breath of fresh air in this slightly stale Wigan team and has weighed in with 3 goals in all competitions, and looks like a hot prospect for the future.
Ivorian Arouna Kone has arguably been the standout performer for Athletic this season. A cheap steal from Levante in August 2012, he has troubled the scorers on 12 occasions in all competitions - a good return for a relegation-threatened side, especially in his debut season in the Premier League. These goals have been crucial; the second in an away win at Southampton and a late winner against Newcastle could turn out to be the difference between survival and relegation.
So, whilst it has been another inconsistent season for the Latics, they have still had some great individual performances; attackers Maloney, McManaman and Kone have particularly impressed.