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25 February 2012
• The DW Stadium, Wigan
Referee: K. Friend
• Attendance: 20601
...But it amounts to nothing and Kevin Friend decides he's had enough and I can't blame him. A pretty dire game here that sees Villa pick up their 11th draw from 26 games so far this season. Wigan may be the happier as they scrap for any points available but neither manager will be satisfied with their players after a turgid display.
90' + 7'
The last chance is going to be Wigan's as they have a corner...
90' + 5'
Still two minutes left at the DW Stadium, can either side find an improbable winner? Quite frankly neither side deserve three points after this showing.
90' + 3'
Figueroa drives forward taking on two players before laying off to Di Santo just inside the box, the Argentine's snap shot is heading in at the near post but Given plunges to his right and turns the ball behind, great save from the veteran keeper.
There will be seven minutes of injury time here due to Darren Bent's injury, both sides have an opportunity to steal this now.
Last roll of the dice for Wigan as the hard-working Victor Moses is replaced by tiny Spanish winger, Albert Crusat.
Villa win a free-kick in a dangerous central position 25 yards out and N'Zogbia stands over it but his effort is woeful and sails into the goading Wigan fans.
Close for Wigan! Bausejour's left-wing cross finds Moses who chests the ball down to Rodallega who hits his shot at Given, the Irishman's first save of the game.
Both sides have suddenly been sparked into life, Ireland drifts a diagonal ball into the path of Keane who is through one on one but his touch is a tad heavy and Boyce gets back to make a great tackle to deny the Irishman.
That's more like it! Diame bustles through midfield and feeds Rodallega on the edge of the box, the Colombian looks to curl a left-footed affort into the corner but the ball goes just over with Sahy Given stranded.
It goes from bad to worse, Rodallega chests the ball down to Moses, 25 yards out on his left foot, the Nigerian spanners his effort out for a throw.
Jean Bausejour sets off ona run down the let and gets past Hutton but the Chilean runs out of pitch and runs the ball out for a goal kick.
Bent has been receiving extensive treatment and it looks like he might be spending some time on the sidelines, first and foremost he immediately becomes a major doubt for England's friendly with Holland in mid-week.
Darren Bent is laid in a heap in the centre-circle after an awkward landing in a challenge with Caldwell, it looks like a nasty ankle injury for Bent and the Villa physio has called for a substitution to be made
Wigan sum the entire game up, Rodallega holds the ball up well and releases Moses down the right but the former Crystal Palace youngster clips a cross over everyone in the middle and out for a throw-in. Shocking.
Emile Heskey is brought on in place of Marc Albrighton, the Villa fans greet the change with chants of 'You don't know what you're doing' and 'We want O'Neill back'. Not good for Alex McLeish.
Twenty minutes to go and there must surely be something more to come from this game, Wigan need the points being bottom of the table and Villa fans will not accept a performance and result like this against the basement club.
An interesting statistic, Emmerson Boyce is playing his 148th Premier League game for Wigan, eclipsing a record previously held by Paul Scharner.
Yellow Card Carlos Javier Cuéllar
Roberto Martinez is the first to blink and it looks like a change in system for the Latics, Hugo Rodallega replacing Jordi Gomez.
A Villa corner sees James Collins play a one-man game of head tennis, getting his noggin on the ball three times in a row.
We've had an hour at the DW and a change is needed, there is a complete lack of imagination from either side, and the game is seemingly going nowhere.
Agbonlahor picks up the ball on the left flank and bursts away from Boyce, he dithers on the ball as he looks to cross and Boyce manages to get back and block his ball, the rebound falls to Bannan who crashes a shot high, wide and hideously ugly.
Boyce picks up the ball on the right and drills a low cross into the box, Di Santo's flick is blocked by Collins, the rebound falls to the Argentine but Gardner does well to throw himself in front of the ball.
Franco Di Santo is treading a fine line here, the former Chelsea man is desperate to get into the game but his enthusiasm is only translating into fouls at the moment, he may be the next to see a yelow card by my reckoning.
There hasn't been a jump in quality since the interval, both sides have the desire to win as evidenced by their solid defending but they are completely lacking in quality in their respective attacking ranks.
Yellow Card Gabriel Agbonlahor
Agbonlahor goes into Kevin Friend's notebook as he goes in hard on Jordi Gomez, catching the Spaniard on the ankle as he demonstrates the definition of a 'forward's challenge'.
Great chance for Villa early on! Bannan's floated header is headed back into the middle by Collins, Cuellar gets on the end of it but heads straight at Al-Habsi, wasted opportunity for Alex McLeish's side.
The sides are out for the second half and we're back underway with neither side making any changes.
Kevin Friend signals the end of the first half and it hasn't been the greatest of games here at the DW Stadium, Wigan need to get Victor Moses into the game more and Villa need to keep giving Robbie Keane the ball and hope the Irishman can produce a moment of magic, the Villains will also have to create more chances for Darren Bent, the England man has the quality to nip a goal and just the one might be needed here.
Bannan floats a free-kick into the box and after a spell of head tennis, the ball drops to Keane who attempts an overhead kick but he can only send the ball over.
Villa putting a spell of possession together at the end of the half here, Agbonlahor puts a rare quality ball into the box but Alcaraz beats Keane to the ball and heads it away, the clearance is worked to Gary Gardner in a central position but the youngster's chipped pass is too long and drifts into Al-Habsi's arms.
There aren't many ways of dressing this up, this game is poor. Wigan are dominating possession but are unable to create anything to worry Cuellar and Collins at the back, Villa are looking to use their pace up front on the counter but they can't keep the ball for long enough to make anything happen.
Yellow Card James Collins
It's Six Nations season and James Collins must think he's at Twickenham, demolishing Franco Di Santo long after the Argentine gets rid of the ball, the Welshman is duly booked.
Wigan still coming forward, Figueroa jogs through midfield unopposed and with space opening up, hits a hopeful 30-yard shot but the Honduran turns away in disgust as his shot is far too high.
Yellow Card Marc Albrighton
The first yellow card of the afternoon goes to Marc Albrighton as he becomes the latest player to fell Moses in full flow, he can maybe consider himself harshly dealt with, his challenge wasn't much different to Keane's on the same player earlier.
Alcaraz hits a long ball that Moses looks to latch on to, Given comes out of his box to clear and Hutton heads away, the ball falls to Gomez 40 yards out but the Spaniard is tackled before he can get a shot off.
Wigan are getting a lot of time in wide positions, particularly down the left with Bausejour and Moses but no-one can find a quality ball and the fans are growing frustrated.
Fantastic corner from Gomez, whipped in with real purpose from the right by Gomez, Alcaraz hurls himself towards the ball but the ball goes behind off Collins, the referee doesn't spot the touch and gives a goal-kick though.
Keane takes a heavy touch, he's not quite quick enough to get on the end of those anymore, Moses nips the ball away and looks to break until the Irishman uses his experience and brings the Wigan forward down, receiving a chat from referee Kevin Friend for his troubles.
That's better from the former Birmingham man, picking the ball up from Figueroa he skins Hutton and swings a great ball in that is headed away by Warnock.
Gary Caldwell launches the ball upfield and Moses does well to nod the ball back to Bausejour in a good crossing position, with the crowd baying the Chilean to shoot he does neither and the ball goes harmlessly wide
Neat football on the edge of the area from Villa finds Barry Bannan and the Scottish midfielder plays a tempting ball into the left channel, Warnock steams into the box but can lash his shot wide at the near post.
Wigan have Al-Habsi to thank for keeping things level, Darren Bent gets away for the first time as Bannan plays it over the top for the England international to chase but the Latics' keeper comes out well and saves one on one.
Villa are starting to get into this game a bit more with almost everything going through Robbie Keane, the Irishman has been really impressive on his return to the Premeir League, a summer switch back from the States may be on the cards.
Villa go straight up the other end and test Al-Habsi for the first time, Keane's 20-yard left footed drive being tipped away down to his left by the Omani gloveman.
Good stuff from both sides, Gomez sends Moses away down the left and his cut-back is marginally behind Di Santo and as the ball bobbles free, the McCarthy/McArthur confusion comes to the fold as the fomer Hamilton midfielders get in each other's way.
Both sides have lined up in a 4-4-2, Agbonlahor is playing wide left for Villa but he will surely drift infield in support of Keane and Bent.
Wigan have settled well here, Jordi Gomez moves through midfield and as the ball sits up nicely hits a 30 yard volley but Shay Given watches it sail into the stand.
Early chance for the home side as Gomez drifts a corner over from the elft, Caldwell tries to kung-fu kick it in but the ball goes just over the crossbar.
Wigan get us underway here at the DW Stadium.
Charles N'Zogbia is starting the game against his former side on the bench, he's been inconsistent this season but may want to turn it on against his former team-mates.
Villa also look like they're going all out for a win with Darren Bent, Robbie Keane and Gabby Agbonlahor in their team. Keane is playing the last game of his loan spell with the side and Agbonlahor is making the 250th appearance of his career and will captain the side in Stiliyan Petrov's absence.
So it's Victor Moses and Franco Di Santo charged with finding goals for WIgan this afternoon. The inclusion of James McCarthy and James McArthur is set to provide plenty of confusion as the afternoon goes on for me, superb.
Aston Villa: Given; Hutton, Cuellar, Collins, Warnock; Albrighton, Gardner, Bannan; Agbonlahor, Bent, Keane. Subs: Guzan, Ireland, N'Zogbia, Heskey, Weimann, Herd, Baker.
Here's today's teams starting with Wigan: Al Habsi; Boyce, Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa; McCarthy, McArthur, Gomez, Bausejour; Moses, Di Santo. Subs: Kirkland, Crusat, Watson, Jones, Rodallega, Diame, Stam.
Good afternoon everyone and welcome to Goal.com's live commentary of Wigan - Aston Villa. The Villains have won on each of their last four visits to the DW Stadium and Alex McLeish will be hoping for a win to avoid any more fan pressure after seeing his side drop close to the bottom three, where the Latics currently sit, rooted to the bottom of the table.
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