This match felt and looked a lot like a scrimmage with Mad Scientist Rafa performing little experiments and slightly letting loose the grip on his henchmen just enough to see what they were capable of doing. Some of these experiments included not starting a 'destroyer', allowing Pennant to play on the left, and letting Arbeloa and Agger at times run wild like gazelles in the savannas of Africa. By the way, that run by Agger late in the second half where he took the ball past three and four Wigan players would have been sensational if he had garnered up any sort of finish. We already know he's got a deadly foot and a capable head, but if he's going to start emulating Messi, other teams are in for a world of hurt.
Nobody played a particularly bad match, in fact, I was quite pleased with how certain players 'accepted' their roles, most notably Crouch and Hyypia. For the first time since the Arsenal match, Crouch left the Crouchinho cape in the phone booth and did what he does best, try to finish in the box and make one and two touch passes instead of trying to show off his foot skills. Hyypia ha od another solid game, giving his aging legs a rest, laying back and squashing any opposition efforts, especially those from his old pal Heskey.
If there is anyone who had a 'down' game, it was probably Xabi, but, in his defense, I suppose he was playing the 'destroyer' role and though he has the necessary skill and ability to play that role, he's much more effective as a holding midfielder who has free range of the midfield. Gonzo left much to be desired, but you could tell his pace was wearing on Wigan's defenders. It'll be scary if he can ever develop some creative offensive skills to utilize his speed effectively.
The man-of-the-match has to go to Kuyt, not because he was so much better than anyone else, but his two finishes were both brilliant and he was a constant and consistent threat. Pennant played okay, not as energetic nor enthusiastic as some previous performances, but I think Rafa wanted to try and not have the offense go through him as much as it has in recent matches. I think the boss realized that in recent matches defenses were focusing on stopping JP and by doing so were also shutting down our offense. Not that Pennant wasn't a factor, but he was just less of one, and when Bellamy came in, even less so.
Speaking of Bellamy, it was great to not only have him back, but to see him in such good form. For what time he had on the pitch he played well, one could even give him much credit for the second goal. His pace seemed unhindered physically nor psychologically by his injury and he even took a couple of hard tackles by the Wigan defense.
Like I said, no one in particular had a bad game and before I end this, I'd like to note that Reina had two good saves. It was nice to get a good scrimmage in before Wednesday and even better that no one was injured. So now that we are four points up and only need five in the remaining three Premiership matches (can you say Robbie Fowler?) to finish third, our attention turns to Chelsea and the Champion's League War. May the best team win.