Tomorrow, we will find out whether Arsenal’s vastly improved performance against Reading can be sustained, as Wigan will provide us with a nearly identical challenge as we had against The Royals on Monday.
Where surrounding clubs, Blackpool, Bolton and Blackburn, have recently failed to stay in the Premier League, Wigan continue to defy gravity. The Latics are in their eighth consecutive PL campaign and that is pretty remarkable, given the recent change in economic circumstances and the relatively small fan base.
What is not to like about Roberto Martinez? He is a gentleman similar to the late Bobby Robson, and is able to stage PL survivals on the basis of playing attractive football. However, with the limited resources available to him, Martinez once again is struggling to stay away from the relegation zone, as Wigan are currently in 18th position.
They are only three points away from 14th though, so there is everything to play for; and I am sure to be preaching to the converted, when I say Arsenal should not underestimate this game for one moment tomorrow.
Just like Reading, Wigan concede a lot of goals; and this season they almost let in two goals on average at home. They also like to play football, which means they will attack us as much Reading tried to do, and allow us the so hallowed space to attack them in. The likes of Theo, Santi, Ox and Pod should have plenty of opportunities to find the net tomorrow.
So the big question is will Arsene field an unchanged team against Wigan Athletic? For me, the answer is an emphatic ‘yes’. As I have posted on many occasions over the last few weeks, the main stumbling block for our team is finding our shape and identity again this season. Against Reading, despite the weaknesses of our opponents and a few costly lapses of concentration, we witnessed a team with a clear shape, structure and plan; and we need to build on that now.
The team has had a good break since Monday and I cannot see Wenger, who often prefers to keep the same team after a win anyway, to make more than one, if any changes at all.
Predicted Line-up (and preferred Line-up as well this time):
Sagna – BFG – TV – Gibbs
Can we make it three PL wins in a row? If we do, Arsenal will at least temporarily be in third place, would you believe it?!
So, time for the Gunners to strengthen the muscles of their under-bellies and put in a determined, never-say-die and professional performance, and to come home with all three points.
This will be our last away fixture in the North-West this season, so let’s finish off in style what has been a decent run of results up there!
I will be meeting up with the fantastic Wigan Gooner to watch the game at the DW Stadium and cannot wait for it. If you have a minute, make sure you take a look at Wigan Gooner’s fantastic website:
I am hoping that a 500 miles round trip will be rewarded by an emphatic win tomorrow.
Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners!