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Latics on a high after booking final place

13 Apr 2013 22:37:00

Latics on a high after booking final place

TEAMtalk guest Graeme Bailey takes a look at the main talking points from Wigan's 2-0 FA Cup semi-final victory over Millwall at Wembley. Wigan made sure this season's FA Cup final would be an all-Premier League affair after they claimed victory at Wembley. As well as securing their first ever FA Cup final place, Latics have guaranteed a place in Europe for the first time too. Whilst Premier League survival remains the ultimate aim for Wigan, the dream of cup glory is now firmly in their sights. Selection Wigan have been chopping and changing for much of this season's FA Cup run - but the big question was who would play in goal - Joel Robles or Ali Al Habsi, and Roberto Martinez went with the Oman keeper, seemingly intimating that the Spaniard would finish their Premier League campaign off instead. Kenny Jackett decided to go with Andy Keogh instead of Rob Hulse, and Liam Trotter failed to make the starting line-up due to fitness issues. Tactics Wigan did spring somewhat of a surprise when instead of their now customary 3-5-2 with wing-backs - Martinez went with 4-4-2, which seemed to catch Millwall out. That also meant Callum McManaman was pushed out wide - and he was a constant thorn in the Millwall side. The decision to have James McCarthy sitting allowed Jordi Gomez to push on and support Shaun Maloney, who buzzed around Arouna Kone to great effect all day. Millwall were a 4-3-3 with James Henry and Chris Taylor playing either side of Keogh. Sean St Ledger took on an unusual midfield role alongside Jack Smith and Jimmy Abdou. Substitutions Wigan rolled their dice first with James McArthur coming on quite early in the second half for Jean Beausejour - this meant McManaman was switched to the left with Maloney right and that helped Wigan late on as they countered effectively. Manchester United loanee Angelo Henriquez replaced McManaman late on. Rob Hulse came on for Smith at 1-0 as Millwall pushed for the equaliser but it did not have too much of an impact. Liam Trotter came on to give more legs to the midfield before a late run for Shaun Batt. Referee Michael Oliver did not have too much to contend with at Wembley and on the whole he and his team performed well. One issue was when the ball struck Paul Scharner's arm, but it was in no way intentional and by his side, so that looked right decision. Main men Wigan's top-men stood up at Wembley and were the main attractions. Shaun Maloney and Callum McManaman were outstanding, often working in tandem. They were terrific and Millwall had no answer for them. With James McCarthy pulling the strings in midfield and Arouna Kone showing real willingness to work the line, Wigan just had too many good players, playing well. Millwall needed captain Danny Shittu to be in good form and he did his job, winning almost every header, but Wigan attacked on the ground and goalkeeper David Forde also did well. Millwall needed wide-men James Henry and Chris Taylor to come to the fore, but they were far from their best. Looking ahead Despite reaching an FA Cup final for the first time, only one thing matters to Wigan - Premier League survival. No matter what they say, they would not sacrifice FA Cup glory to stay in the top flight. Millwall can be very proud of their efforts, but they cannot relax as they now sit just three points above the Championship relegation drop-zone.


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