As part of our Premier League snap-shots series, Adam Bate looks back on Newcastle's 3-0 victory over Wigan at St James' Park
By Adam Bate. Last Updated: 03/12/12 11:40pm
Celebrations for Newcastle as they bagged a long overdue win
Monday Night Football turned on the sending off of Maynor Figueroa at St James' Park. The Wigan defender was adjudged to have barged Papiss Cisse and it resulted in a red card and a penalty that Demba Ba duly converted. When the Newcastle forward doubled the lead shortly afterwards, things looked bleak for the visitors and Gael Bigirimana's second-half strike sealed the win.
Selection and tactics
Newcastle were without key creative duo Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa so there was an opportunity for Sylvain Marveaux in midfield, while the Senegal duo of Cisse and Ba continued in attack. Cisse was asked to do a defensive job on the right and then join Ba in attack from there in a hybrid formation somewhere between a 4-5-1 and a 4-4-2.
Wigan went with their now customary 3-4-3 formation with Jordi Gomez playing just behind Arouna Kone and Franco Di Santo. David Jones was preferred in midfield while there were changes at the back as Ivan Ramis missed out through injury but Gary Caldwell returned to the side.
Mike Jones had a difficult call to make over the Figueroa red card and it felt like a double punishment for Wigan to be a man and a goal down for a borderline foul. But once Jones had decided it was an offence, he had little choice. And besides, Newcastle fans will feel Caldwell was fortunate not to see red for two clear fouls on Ba.
The first change of the game came before the break at 2-0 when Martinez introduced James McArthur for Gomez as he rejigged his midfield after the sending off. Perhaps the Wigan manager could have acted quicker as he had nearly 10 minutes between the award of the penalty and the second goal going in. He was more proactive in taking off Caldwell at the interval as the skipper was at risk of being sent off.
Alan Pardew also took a man off at the interval, removing Cheick Tiote in favour of Bigirimana and it proved significant. The teenager had a real impact and scored the goal of the game to seal the victory. The Magpies boss also had to withdraw Davide Santon through injury and later took off Jonas Gutierrez, allowing him to introduce Shane Ferguson and Sammy Ameobi in happier circumstances than has become the norm this season.
Ba continues to be the man to turn to in front of goal but Pardew will be hugely encouraged by the performances of Vurnon Anita and Bigirimana that showed there is life without Tiote and Cabaye for the Newcastle midfield.
Wigan will be content that they at least kept going in trying circumstances and the performance of Ronnie Stam was particularly impressive. The Dutch wing-back was full of running for the full 90 minutes and could be an important figure for Martinez's men if he continues in this vein.
Newcastle face Bordeaux on Thursday in the Europa League, the competition that Pardew claims has been "killing" his team this season. But with the Toon already having qualified it provides the chance to field some of the younger players and focus on getting his senior men fit for next Monday's Premier League clash at Fulham.
Wigan have earned plenty of plaudits but need more than that now they are just two points above the Premier League drop zone. A home game against bottom club Queens Park Rangers on Saturday is an excellent opportunity to edge towards the safety of mid-table but defeat would plunge the Latics into a relegation battle.
Barclays Premier League
|11||West Ham United||37||47|
|13||West Bromwich Albion||37||44|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||37||30|
Newcastle v Wigan
Newcastle United midfielder Sylvain Marveaux is determined to cement his place in his side's starting line-up.
Wigan are considering an appeal against the red card shown to Maynor Figueroa during the 3-0 defeat at Newcastle.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew was delighted to beat Wigan and end a dismal run of four successive Premier League defeats.