Impressive Wigan looking forward to FA Cup fifth round draw
League One side look for another big scalp after wins over Bournemouth and West Ham
West Ham United’s Arthur Masuaku is sent off by referee Chris Kavanagh after spitting at Nick Powell. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters
Paul Cook’s expressed desire for an FA Cup fifth-round tie against Liverpool at Anfield was wiped out within hours of his Wigan Athletic side eliminating West Ham United, though there are still plenty other Premier League sides for the Latics to be paired with in the draw today.
After accounting for West Ham and Bournemouth already, there seems little chance of Wigan being daunted by any opponents.
“There is no fear,” said Will Grigg, scorer of both goals against David Moyes’s depleted side.
“We have got some really good quality players here, players who shouldn’t necessarily be in League One, that’s why our main aim this season is promotion. We get the ball down and we pass it, it doesn’t matter who the opponents are. That’s been our plan from the start of the season and it is working so well we are confident of playing anyone.
“We are quite familiar with Premier League opposition now, most of us have experience from cup meetings and you can see the players’ confidence is high. Obviously that helps but we are also playing some really good football. We don’t have the players to play a long ball game, so we don’t do that. We use the wide areas and put crosses into the box and it’s flowing at the moment. We create a lot of chances and I just do the easy job of putting it in the net at the end.”
While Grigg’s second goal was a penalty his opener after seven minutes was in fact far from easy. He was helped by the most inviting of crosses from the outstanding Nathan Byrne but there still remained the small matter of heading powerfully and accurately enough to squeeze the ball past Joe Hart at the far post.
He made typically short work of it and once ahead Wigan never looked like losing their lead, though they were undoubtedly helped by Arthur Masuaku’s dismissal early in the second half for spitting at Nick Powell.
“He’s been a really good boy up till now, I don’t know why he lost it like that,” Moyes said. “I can’t defend it, it should never have happened. He deserves whatever is coming to him but we are in a position at the moment where we can’t afford to lose any more players.”
With Pedro Obiang departing on a stretcher in the first half with suspected medial ligament damage, West Ham’s trip to Wigan was costly for a side already lacking seven or eight first-team regulars.
Moyes is hoping to have one or two back for the crucial league games against Crystal Palace and Brighton this week, though he is not hopeful of bringing anyone in before Wednesday and it appears likely West Ham will be understrength in two of the games that could be key to Premier League survival.
“We are not too bad for defenders but we are struggling with midfield and forward options,” Moyes said. “You could see that against Wigan. If we didn’t look like a Premier League team it was because we only had a smattering of Premier League players. The rest were young lads on their way up.”
Cook has plenty of those too, as well as established performers such as Grigg and Powell, yet though some supporters are worried about bids before the end of the transfer window the Wigan manager is surprisingly relaxed about the situation.
“If you are playing like we are you are bound to attract interest,” Cook said. “That’s life. As a group we are happy, but if someone has to leave I wish them well.
“Lads at this level can change their lives by moving upwards. As a manager you can’t stop them, you just have to concentrate on working with the players who want to be with you. We are on a good run at the minute but anyone who knows football knows that can change in a moment. Just look at Liverpool.” – Guardian