Latics travel to the Emirates today to face Arsenal for the 3rd time in 9 games, hoping for some kind of result that would pull them out of the bottom three.
There has been some good news on the injury front this week, James McCarthy and Victor Moses both returned to full training, though this weekend maybe one game too soon, it has been suggested that one of them could feature on the bench.
Life is always tough for the Latics in the Capital, going to Arsenal is no exception to this with eight defeats in the previous eight visits, Roberto Martinez is excellent at getting his team to break these little hoodoos and a sterling performance today would give the side some confidence ahead of Tuesday nights showdown with Aston Villa.
Arsenal are fighting on all fronts at the moment and are having their squad tested to the limit, a tough game in the week at Elland Road saw Wengers boys progress through to the 4th round of the FA Cup at the expense of Leeds, but with seemingly two games a week, they have a Carling Cup semi-final 2nd leg on Wednesday, exhaustion is a factor that could concern the Gunners management.
Last time we met, Wenger made several changes from the previous game and Latics gained a creditable 2-2 draw, more of the same today wouldn`t go a miss.
Latics boss Roberto Martinez:
‘From our point-of-view it’s a game we’re all very excited about competing in, looking forward to visiting the Emirates and enjoying the occasion.’
‘It’s one of Europe’s finest football grounds and that makes it a special event in the calendar, one you want to be a part of and test yourself in.
‘That’s what we have to look forward to on Saturday and we’ll go into the game confident of being able to get a result.
‘We’ll approach it in the right manner knowing it is a very difficult time to play Arsenal in the form they are in, but confident that after one defeat in our last seven games we’re capable of competing.’
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
‘We are in a period where we want to show we can get our best out in every single game. When you play so many games, that is not easy, but we are motivated to give our best in all the competitions that is for sure.
‘What can we win? We are not in a position to say that. We are just in a situation where we want to give our best and after that we will see where we end up. But it is mid-January and we are still in all four competitions so let’s go for it.
‘But any victory on Saturday will be a fantastic result for us.’
Arsenal Team News:
Almunia, Diaby, Fabianski, Frimpong, Squillaci, Vermaelen are all out injured
Szczesny; Eboue, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Song, Wilshere, Walcott, Gibbs, Fabregas, Denilson, Nasri, Arshavin, van Persie, Shea, Vela, Chamakh, Bendtner.
Player to watch: Cesc Fabregas
Given the chance he will run the game
Wigan Athletic Team News:
Tom Cleverley injured, James McCarthy and Victor Moses are back in training but this could be one game too soon.
Al Habsi; Stam, McArthur, G Caldwell, Alcaraz, Gohouri, Watson Di Santo, N’Zogbia, Thomas, Diame, Figueroa, Rodallega, Pollitt, S Caldwell, Gomez, Boyce, McManaman, Moses, McCarthy.
Player to watch: Charles N’Zogbia
Last time we met (4 games ago) Charlie had a little spat with Wilshere and ended up getting sent off, lets see if he can get his name in lights for all the right reasons today.
Match Facts & Stats
Latics and Arsenal have met 15 times.
Latics 2 wins, Arsenal 11, draws 2
Last Six Meetings
29/12/2010 – Premier League – Latics 2 Arsenal 2
30/11/2010 – Carling Cup – Arsenal 2 Latics 0
13/04/2010 – Premier League – Latics 3 Arsenal 2
19/09/2009 – Premier League – Arsenal 4 Latics 0
11/04/2009 – Premier League – Latics 1 Arsenal 4
06/12/2008 – Premier League – Arsenal 1 Latics 0
Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)
Why not take a look at our excellent `Meet the Ref`article
Card Watch Kevin Friend 2010/11
Games – 19, yellows – 65, reds – 5
Tough one to say anything but a defeat this week, but, although we dont win many, we are difficult to beat, so with Arsenal having played Wedneesday, I’ll go for a draw, 1-1