Wigan heap misery on Villa
Aston Villa alarmingly dropped deeper into a Premier League relegation battle with another abject performance and a 3-0 defeat against Wigan.
The visitors, meanwhile, moved out of the bottom three with a conclusive victory to record their first win in seven matches which highlighted Villa's dramatic shortcomings.
Ivan Ramis gave the Latics a morale-boosting lead after only three minutes before two goals in the space of four minutes early in the second half from Emmerson Boyce and Arouna Kone sealed Villa's fate as their confidence visibly evaporated.
In the continued absence of such players as Darren Bent, Richard Dunne, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Charles N'Zogbia and Nathan Baker, the options open to under-pressure manager Paul Lambert are very limited as illustrated in this latest defeat.
Villa's inability to defend set-pieces was blatantly exposed in the third minute after the ball ran out for a corner as Matthew Lowton appeared to handle.
Jean Beausejour's resulting corner was perfectly placed for the unmarked Ramis to announce his return to action after missing six games with a powerful header past the transfixed Brad Guzan.
Villa battled hard to retrieve the situation but they lacked a cutting edge and seven minutes into the second half Wigan consolidated their lead. Boyce raced through, despite the attention of three Villa defenders, and took a return pass from Kone to fire his low shot past Guzan.
In the 56th minute Kone himself got in on the goalscoring as he took a through pass from Franco Di Santo as he sliced his way through Villa's dithering defence to score from a tight angle despite a challenge from Guzan.
Villa made a triple substitution sending on El Ahmadi, Jordan Bowery and Marc Albrighton for Stephen Ireland, Brett Holman and Eric Lichaj.
The changes resulted in more attacking play, but the damage had been done as Wigan were content to absorb the pressure.