Latics played four games in December with Manchester United’s Tom Cleverley prominent in each.
The month started off with a home draw against Stoke City, Latics had to come from behind twice in a game they actually dominated, Cleverley scoring the second of the Latics goals with a sweetly struck shot on 40 minutes, which took a deflection but still found the back of the net, picking the ball up on the edge of the box Cleverley skipped inside and hit a shot that clipped a Stoke defender on its way past Begovic to ensure that the Latics got a share of the spoils.
The next game for the Latics was the 0-0 draw away at Everton, Cleverley only made it to half-time in this game before having to be replaced by Ronnie Stam, with fears that he had cracked a rib after the youngster had taken a strong challenge from Phil Neville.
It was feared that Cleverley would be recalled by United if indeed he had cracked his rib but there was good news following an x-ray, Latics boss Roberto Martinez explains:
“We had very good news, we had the x-ray and there was no fracture.”It`s only a bruised rib but obviously still quite sore and quite painful”
“We hope that Tom will react to the treatment and at the end of the week we
will assess him”
“Hopefully he will be in contention for the Villa game”
The Villa game fell foul of the weather and was postponed and an extra weeks rest did the youngster a pile of good, the Latics visited Wolves and Cleverley once again found himself on the score sheet when on 20 minutes Rodallega picked up the ball from a throw-in just outside the 18 yard box, he slipped a wonderful through pass into the path of the oncoming Tom Cleverley who hit a side-footed shot first time under the body of Wolves keeper Hennessey to put the Latics 2-0 up, Cleverley was superb in the game both going forward and getting back ensuring that three points came back up the M6.
After the game boss Roberto Martinez was singing the praises of the Latics very own Holy Trinity, Hugo Rodallega, Charles N’Zogbia and Tom Cleverley, Martinez said:
“Hugo is always a real threat, the way he moves and his energy really opens things up ahead of him.
“I felt the combination between him, Tom Cleverley and Charles N’Zogbia was extremely dangerous, and that was an important part of our game.”
Rodallega, N`Zogbia and Cleverley lead the goal scoring charts for Premier League goals as far as the Latics are concerned and with Tom Cleverley hitting a rich vein of form at the moment Martinez must be desperate to persuade Sir Alex Ferguson to allow the young prodigy to stay at the DW Stadium until the end of the season.
The final game of December saw the Latics gain a share of the spoils in a dramatic 2-2 draw with Arsenal at the DW Stadium. Cleverley was again influential in the Latics performance, driving forward at every opportunity and not afraid to shoot, creating chances for himself.
A good month for an exciting youngster with a bright future ahead, unfortunately having picked up a hamstring strain against Bolton he will be out for a few weeks and he will be missed.
Contribution by Baz, an author from Vital Football’s Wigan Forum.
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