Wigan’s Lack of Goals Explained

Wigan Athletic’s 27 goals is a league low after 30 Premier League games. The Lancashire club have scored just 1 more than Arsenal’s Robin van Persie has on his own. Despite a lot of praise over the 3 season’s manager Roberto Martinez has been in charge, Wigan appear to be taking a backwards step. Here’s an explanation into the Latics’ problems in front of goals this season.

1. Lack of Creativity

The loss of Charles N’Zogbia to Aston Villa in the summer was always going to be a very difficult task for both Dave Whelan and Roberto Martinez to replace. They seemingly had faith in Victor Moses to do the job as the Nigerian international has started out on the wings for most of Wigan’s games this season.

Last season, Charles N’Zogbia scored 9 of Wigan’s 40 Premier League goals as they stayed up on the last game of the season. The French midfielder assisted a further 5. With eight games remaining of this season, Victor Moses has just 3 goals to his name and 1 assist. A comparison of their statistics shows how much more productive last season’s player was compared to this season’s:

Minutes Played Goals Shots on Target Shots off Target Assists Chances Created Successful Dribbles
Charles N’Zogbia (10/11) 2797 9 29 24 5 67 109
Victor Moses (11/12) 2536 3 17 31 1 32 72

30% of Victor Moses’ pass attempts this season have gone backwards, compared to 24% of Charles N’Zogbia’s in the same category last season. The current Wigan number 11 could be excused for the less successful dribble attempts produced by the current Aston Villa winger, as Moses is second only to Junior Hoilett in that category this season.

2. Open Play Assists

To back up Wigan’s lack of creativity, they have only registered 7 open play goal assists so far this season. In comparison to the rest of the Premier League, Bolton Wanderers and Stoke City have the next fewest from open play, both on 13. Only Aston Villa (2) have fewer assists from set plays than Wigan’s 3 this season. Roberto Martinez’s side have failed to turn their 49.7% average possession per game (8th best in the league) into goals.

Not making lives easy for themselves; only Swansea City (5%), Chelsea (4%) and Bolton Wanderers (4%) take a lower percentage of their shots inside the 6 yard box (5%). Whilst only Queens Park Rangers (55%) take a higher percentage of their shots from outside the 18 yard box (51%). Wigan have been partially helped by 19% of their goals coming from the penalty spot.

3. Victor Moses Rushing Shots

Without intentionally using this as an opportunity to openly criticise Victor Moses. The one-time 50 goals in a season teenager for the Crystal Palace under 14s has had an air of desperation about him at times this season.

32 of Moses’ 77 shots this season have come from outside the penalty area. Of which, 12 of these have been blocked, 14 of them have gone off target and 0 of them have found the back of the net. In total, no Premier League player to date has had more shots blocked than the total of 28 accrued by Victor Moses this season.

Of the 3 goals Victor Moses has scored, his first was a well-taken effort in a 2-1 victory at West Brom in December. The second he fired home first time from Hugo Rodallega’s low cross in a 2-2 draw at Stoke on New Year’s Eve. And his third was a well-taken run past John Ruddy in a 1-1 draw at Norwich. So Wigan are unbeaten when Moses scores this season. But the former England youth team player simply does not score enough and does not set himself up well for shooting.

4. Poor Finishers

Victor Moses isn’t the only player who can be criticised for poor finishing at Wigan this season. Franco Di Santo and Jordi Gomez are the club’s top scorers with a measly 4 goals each, which simply isn’t good enough when you’re in a relegation fight.

Wigan’s poor goal return comes despite averaging 13.7 shots per game; the 10th highest in the Premier League. Only Liverpool’s 6.2% conversion rate is worse than Wigan’s 6.3%. Next on the list is Queens Park Rangers who convert 7.2% of their shots. And Liverpool, whilst having a disappointing season by their standards, at least have the fourth highest number of shots (515) in the league itself, compared to Wigan’s 412.

Hugo Rodallega, after heading in the goal against Stoke City on the final game of last season to keep Wigan in the Premier League, is having a disappointing season in his contract year. The Colombian has been guilty of a number of spurned chances in front of goal this season. Perhaps he has a phobia of the 6 yard box with some of his misses this season and that both of his Premier League goals have actually come from outside the 18 yard box. 28 of Rodallega’s 55 shots this season have been from outside the penalty area. One is not afraid to go for the spectacular.

Wigan Athletic host Stoke City this weekend as they look to overcome the 1 point deficit between them and Bolton Wanderers who currently sit above the relegation zone. Roberto Martinez has eight games to avoid the drop.

Stats provided by Opta Sports