Wigan Althetic manager Roberto Martinez has today been linked with a move to Liverpool following the sacking of Kenny Dalglish.
The Spaniard has dramatically kept Wigan Athletic in the Premier League for three successive seasons despite toying with relegation. Winning 7 of their final 9 games, the Latics were officially safe with 1 game to play, ultimately finishing 7 points clear of safety.
Victories over Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle in the final weeks were key to Martinez guiding his side to survival. But are these victories enough to warrant a move to one of the biggest club’s in the country? Should the previous 29 games be ignored?
Roberto Martinez took charge of Wigan Athletic in the summer of 2009 following the departure of Steve Bruce to Sunderland. Bruce had guided Wigan to an 11th place finish the previous season and 14th in his first season in charge the year before (taking charge in November). Here’s how Martinez compares:
In the past three seasons, Wigan Athletic finished 16th; 6 points above relegation in 2009/10. The following season, Wigan finished 16th; 3 points above relegation, and this season just gone, 15th; 7 points above relegation. Neither of these finishes compete with the previous manager’s performances.
Roberto Martinez’s side have won 9, 9 and 11 league matches in those respective seasons; a win rate of just 25%.
Antonio Valencia and Lee Cattermole were both out of the door before Wigan had kicked a ball under Martinez. The former Swansea City manage began building his squad by signing Jordi Gomez, Hendry Thomas, Jason Scotland, James McCarthy, Antonio Amaya, Mohamed Diame and the loan signing of Scott Sinclair in his first summer transfer window.
Jordi Gomez followed Martinez after a season at Swansea City, and in his third season in the Premier League saw his biggest return, scoring 5 goals. The tough-tackling Hendry Thomas made a good start to his Wigan career with some impressive performances, but failed to make a single Premier League appearance in the season just gone.
Striker Jason Scotland scored just 1 goal in 32 Premier League games at Wigan. Other forwards Martinez has signed over the years are Victor Moses (8 goals in 73 games), Mauro Boselli (0 goals in 8 games), Franco Di Santo (8 goals in 57 games) and Conor Sammon (1 goal in 32 games). This despite his side’s attractive football.
Roberto Martinez has received a lot of praise for his side’s style of football over the three seasons. His reputation has been built on style rather than substance. Before the final weeks of the 2011/12 season (and I guess the 8 consecutive defeats at the start of the season), his Wigan side have had no consistency.
Prior to switching to the 3-4-3 formation that proved to be successful at the end of the 2011/12 season, Roberto Martinez had been tactically stubborn for the previous seasons. When thing’s weren’t working for his side, he wasn’t prepared to change it. Believing his style of football would prevail, which arguably he proved right by avoiding relegation over the two previous seasons when his side had been bottom of the league and looking doomed at times. But this style is a downgrade in results from previous managers including Paul Jewell and Steve Bruce.
I have time for Roberto Martinez. I do enjoy watching his current Wigan side; their unpredictable nature and their attractive football. But I do not believe he’s qualified for a big Premier League job just yet, as much as Dave Whelan hypes him up. Another year or so experience would really help the Spaniard before taking on a challenge such as Liverpool.