Premier League - Sigurdsson double sinks Wigan
The on-loan midfielder scored either side of half-time to secure the three points for Brendan Rodgers’s side and pile more pressure on Roberto Martinez as Wigan stay at the foot of the Premier League. Former Swans boss Martinez continues to search for a first home win in six months.
The Iceland international hit a sumptuous curler in injury time at the end of the opening half then added a second nine minutes into the second period with a neat free-kick.
A red card for Nathan Dyer after a high tackle on Jordi Gomez midway through the second half did not give Wigan enough of an advantage as Swansea held firm.
Martinez made just one change from the side that held Aston Villa to a goalless draw last week as Conor Sammon, making his first start since December, replaced Moses in the starting line-up.
Rodgers was able to welcome back Michel Vorm after the Dutchman missed the 2-0 defeat at Stoke with a stomach bug as they looked to improve their poor away form this season.
The home side started well, with Jean Beausejour particularly lively, but it did not take long for Swansea to settle down to their short, sharp passing style and take control. Wigan became sloppy in possession and with a few misplaced passes, they allowed Swansea to push them deep inside their own half.
The first real opening came on the half-hour mark when Sigurdsson picked up the ball on the edge of the Wigan penalty area before slipping a ball through for Dyer: the winger’s first-time shot was easily saved by Ali Al-Habsi while Swansea top scorer Danny Graham was left screaming for the ball while unmarked in the six-yard box.
Wigan had defender Antolin Alcaraz to thank for keeping the scores level in the 39th minute after the Paraguayan cleared Scott Sinclair’s shot off the line. The Swansea forward had raced clear and taken the ball around Al-Habsi only for Alcaraz to scramble back and clear.
The Wigan defence was not so alert at the end of the first half: Stephen Caulker brought the ball out of defence with ease before dinking a neat pass to the unmarked Sigurdsson on the edge of the penalty area. He made the most of the time he was given, settling himself before curling a strike beyond Al-Habsi.
Martinez made two changes at half-time, bringing Mohamed Diame and Victor Moses on for Sammon and James McArthur - and they started the second half in fine style, attacking from the off and putting the away side under immediate pressure.
However just nine minutes into the second period Swansea caught Wigan on the counter and won a free-kick after a foul by Moses. Sigurdsson stepped up to take the set-piece 25 yards out and curled a shot up and over the wall and beyond Al-Habsi. The former Bolton goalkeeper's positioning was poor as he left one side of his goal totally unprotected.
If that was seemingly game over for Wigan, they were given a glimmer of hope when Dyer received a straight red card on the hour mark. The winger ran across the pitch to try and control a bouncing ball and went in high on Gomez. It did not appear to be overly reckless, but in light of the current clampdown on stud-first tackles, Andre Marriner showed him a red.
Martinez threw on last season’s top scorer Hugo Rodellega in the search for a way back into the game, but Wigan could not find a way past a determined Swansea defence. Ashley Williams and his defensive partner Caulker were in fine form, restricting the Wigan attackers to half-chances and pot-shots.
Wigan controlled the game in the final 30 minutes, and launched wave after wave of attacks, but a lack of real quality in the final third put an end to any opportunities they carved out.
With Swansea now nine points clear of the relegation zone, fans can breathe a little easier; however eternal optimist Roberto Martinez is surely running out of reasons to be cheerful.