Wigan vs West Brom – Match PreviewBy: Nick | November 12th, 2010
Want to know how to best avoid a relegation battle? Believe it or not the answer to this question is relatively straightforward and is presumably occupying the thoughts and feelings of several Premier League managers at this very moment. Put simply, it is to more often than not pick up all three points at home against opposition that are no better than your own team. Just ask sides like Fulham, Bolton and Blackburn who for the last few years have done exactly this, not entirely setting the League alight, but consistently picking up the points where it counts. For Wigan, the upcoming fixture against West Brom is surely one of these circumstances, because having looked through our next couple of games, it is difficult to see where a better chance of three points could come from. Unfortunately, over the last few weeks, the Latics have slipped from a relatively comfortable mid table position to an unwanted 18th. Only two wins have been recorded this season, at first over Tottenham and then later coming against Wolves. Although I do concede that there are many more games to be played, if Wigan do not start getting a move on and recording some wins, then the season could once more turn into another nervous relegation scrap heap (god forbid another one). A gritty and determined win from today’s match, would go a little way to easing this tension. However, the downside is that this is far easier said than done.
What awaits the Latics is a West Brom side that have continually picked up the points, in many games that on paper should not have gone their way. In the space of twelve matches, a club that rarely stays in the same league for long can all of a sudden consider themselves as potential Europa League candidates. (A lack of experience should most likely bring them back to reality) Nevertheless they have certainly impressed, and currently sit in eleventh position on goal difference. This season, the baggies boast an impressive array of attack minded players, with the likes of Peter Odemwingie and Marc Antoine Fortune causing havoc upfront. These players have continuously received support from the dangerous Chris Brunt, Graeme Dorrans and Youssuf Mulumbu. Thankfully the promising Dorrans will most likely miss the match due to injury, as well as Nicky Shorey and Ishmael Miller. Apart from that, the side should otherwise be at full strength.
Although West Brom are a respectable side and have shown that they deserve to be in the league, they do not have the pedigree of a giant like Liverpool, which gives me a little more confidence going into the match. If Wigan can put in a similar performance to how they played against the Reds, then three points should hopefully be on the cards.
The club is boosted from the return of defender Steven Gohouri, after a couple of weeks out from suspension. Instead of starting him, coach Martinez will most likely opt to go with live-wire Ronnie Stam, who thoroughly impressed with several lethal crosses in our previous fixture. Hopefully more is to come from the Dutch right back. The only casualties in the side are Emmerson Boyce and James McCarthy. Otherwise, expect an unchanged lineup, meaning that Franco Di Santo will again be used as an impact player off the bench.
The partnership between Hugo Rodallega and Charles Nzogbia (which has lit up the DW Stadium of late) will be key in determining Wigan’s fortunes for the match, as the only source of goals of late seemes to have come from these two players. It will be interesting to see whether the West Brom defence (Carson, Scharner, Jara, Cech, Meite) can cope with teh speed, power and trickery of this pairing.
West Brom at home should be considered a must win match, because after this the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal loom large. There is no need for alarm right at the minute, but a few more losses and Wigan will once more be stuck in the mire. It would be fantastic if the same attacking side against Liverpool turned up once more. Heres hoping Rodallega continues to add to his tally.
Prediction – a 2-1 victory