Wolves tamed by dominating Latics performance
WIGAN ATHLETIC 2
Report by Paul Chialton
Roberto Martinez's Christmas wish of three points came true at Molineux thanks to a dominating performance from his players that lifts Latics out of the relegation zone.
First-half goals from Hugo Rodallega and Tom Cleverley settled the game despite a late response from Steven Fletcher in a game the away side always looked comfortable in.
James McArthur came into the side and settled into his midfield role immediately, linking up play from back to front effortlessly and never far away from the action hunting the ball down and winning back possession, he was to play a big role in Latics' opener, working tirelessly to earn a corner out of nothing after closing down the Wolves defence.
Up stepped Ben Watson to deliver the set-piece and after a half clearance Cleverley hooked the ball back into the danger-area for captain Gary Caldwell to flick into the path of Rodellega who held off the defender and tucked into the bottom left-corner.
A finish that brings the Colombian's Premier League goal-scoring record to 18, two off Henri Camara's club record.
Confidence was high and it wasn't long before Martinez's side doubled the lead, Rodallega and Cleverley combining to punish the Wolves defence.
The goal-scorer picking out Cleverley with a cute through ball that was finished superbly under the helpless Wayne Hennessey.
Latics threat up-front had been telling, and whereas on previous occasions they had not been so ruthless today they looked like scoring every time they went forward.
Combination play between the midfield and up-front was fluid and Wolves simply could not cope with the pressure and confidence of their opponents attack.
At the back two fine saves from Ali Al Habsi before the break stopped the home side getting a foot back in the game, the second of them an amazing reaction-save from a deflected free-kick.
Fletcher gave his side a glimmer of hope towards the end but the strength and resolve of the back-line stayed strong and made sure Latics would be heading home on Boxing Night three points better off.
Latics: Al Habsi; Gohouri, G. Caldwell, Alcaraz, Stam; Diame, McArthur; N'Zogbia, Watson, Cleverley; Rodallega
Subs: Pollitt, S. Caldwell, Gomez, Boselli, McManaman, Robinson, De Ridder
Wolves: Hennessey; Zubar, Berra, Stearman, Elokobi (Fletcher, 65); Foley, Milijas, Edwards (Jarvis, 55), Hunt; Ward; Ebanks-Blake
Subs: Hahnemann, Jones, Bent, Mugangi Bia, Doherty