Wigan Athletic vs Tottenham Hotspur: Preview

23 Sep

Barclays Premier League
Date: 24 September 2011 Kick-off: 15:00
Venue: DW Stadium (Wigan)

It’s nice to have another Saturday 3 o-clock kick off, although it is away again.

I’m having trouble getting genuinely excited about this game, Wigan are just one of those teams I think maybe even their own fans aren’t particularly excited about.

9-1 again? Not on last season’s evidence

Obviously a couple of years ago we achieved one of our most famous results in recent history against Wigan, indeed it has also gone down in history as the second highest Premier League scoreline ever. The game was incredible, in that at half time, we were just 1-0 up, a pretty typical scoreline for any match. We went on to score 8 in the second half, Jermain Defoe took his tally for the game to 5, equalling the Premier League’s record and Wigan were smashed, earning their consolation goal from a blatant Scharner hand ball.

We shouldn’t expect the same again. Last season, seeking vengeance, they beat us 1-0 at home and held us to a 0 – 0 draw at the DW. We are away again, but Wigan, without such fire in their bellies will hopefully be an easier proposition. I’d be happy with any scoreline which involves Spurs scoring more goals than them, whether that’s 9-1 or 1-0.

Which team will turn up this weekend?

Having started so poorly, perhaps we will finally become a side of consistency. To be brutally honest, if we lose against Manchester City, United and Chelsea and win every other game this season I would be more than happy, and that, to me would be consistent for a side aiming to finish behind those clubs. Obviously life doesn’t work that way, but as long as we are only really losing to the teams we expect to finish above us, we’ll get that 4th spot. The question is, were the hammerings against United and City more about them, or us? Our heads dropped and we’ve still not won a game in this (admittedly young) season in which we have gone behind. Last season that was our strength, goals against serving to fire us into action. whilst I hope we don’t need that type of catalyst this season, we need to respond the right way when we do concede.

This game is the most important of the season… so far

All in all then, we just need to prove we are the team we think we are and get a decent result against Wigan. Against Wigan in the 9-1 game just about every attack seemed to end with a goal, we were rampant. We could have done something similar to Liverpool last week who were abject even with 11 men. Once they were down to 9, a cricket score looked possible. In fact, as harsh as it is, what better way to stick the boot in to the body and soul of one of our big rivals for Champions League qualification this season? Liverpool are not a club who lose big and we have been on the end of some tonkings against ruthless sides in the past, it’s early in the season, I genuinely don’t understand why the players decided to switch off for 20 minutes instead of going for the throat, with a 3 million unbroken pass sequence at one stage typifying our attitude.

The good news is Ledley King is available for his 3rd League game in a row this season. His return coming at the same time as Dawson’s injury is either a spooky co-incidence or indication Harry will only use him when he has to; either way, we’ve not conceded with Ledley on the field yet this season. However, in his presser today Harry has suggested that Pav is ‘playing up’ (not in so many words) and has reported in with a hamstring injury. Harry has reportedly said ‘Pav’s not in the team because the other 2 are doing better. He’s come in today and he’s got a hamstring injury.’ Obviously he’s not been in great form so far this season, but it’s not the kind of attitude or behaviour we need and not the kind of thing Harry loves. I don’t like the way Harry seems to assume every injury is a player being soft and sometimes seemingly forcing them to play through it, potentially making the situation worse, but if Pav’s being difficult, he’s better off out of the club than in, even if it leaves us light up front.

Stuff I think about Wigan

There is very little to say about the midlands club. They have started the season very well, but there is no doubt in the minds of most football followers that they will be one of the teams battling relegation come May next year.

My general views…

  • They are quite possibly the dullest team ever to grace the Premier League! I don’t mean their football, Roberto Martinez seems to be a stand up fellow who plays the game the right way, but I can think of absolutely nothing about this team to stir any kind of reaction from me. If you attached me to a heart rate monitor and put a Wigan game on in front of me I’d be flatlining by the end of it.

Spurs’ Team News

There are a few new injuries and illnesses, with a couple of players having already come back with Rafa playing the second half against Liverpool and Sandro 71 minutes at Stoke. The details of those unavailable are as follows: –

Injuries: William Gallas, Steven Pienaar, Danny Rose, Niko Kranjčar, Roman Pavlyuchenko.

Doubtful: Benoît Assou-Ekotto, Aaron Lennon.

Wigans Team News

Injuries: Hugo Rodallega, Steven Gohouri, Antolin Alcaraz.

Doubtful: Emmerson Boyce.

Prediction

So following some over-optimism at the start of the season and pessimism in the following two games, I think I have reached the middle ground of realism. I hope so, because otherwise I’ll be lost in the abstract world of impressionism, which is no use to anyone. So, I am going to go for a 3-1 Spurs victory. We are away, so perhaps I should say 1-3 for accuracy, but I’ll stick with listing the Spurs half of the score first for consistency.

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