Date: 24th September 2009 at 11:58am
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Wigan Athletic face Chelsea on Saturday and as part of the build two fans chatted about their teams:

Vital Latics and Vital Chelsea met up for a cyber chat ahead of the weekends clash between the two sides at the DW Stadium, worbo from the Latics and Chelsea`s merlin both have a lot to say for on their clubs, new managers and the season ahead, lets see how it went:

New managers – How they doing?

worbo – Fans opinions on Roberto Martinez are split and this has created lots of debate and some serious arguments amongst the Latics faithful, we started off like a house on fire with a fantastic away win on the opening day at Villa, it was 2-0 but could quite easily have been 3, 4 or even 5, such was the dominance of Wigan in that game.

Since then we have struggled to dominate in games, got hammered against Blackpool in the Carling Cup which was hugely disappointing, plus two heavy defeats against Manchester United and Arsenal have knocked the stuffing a little bit out of the side.

Martinez has come in and he is attempting to change the whole philosophy of the club, he wants us to become an attractive footballing team with emphasis on possession, he wants young players coming through the ranks and he wants success, but he has said that all this will take time, some fans are not prepared to give it time, that`s not a criticism of them, they are afraid that if we go down then we will never be back, but I don`t see it that way, we need faith in the new manager, his playing style, for me, is the right approach and I am thrilled that he is our boss.

Carlo Ancelotti appears to have hit the ground running for you guys, but so did big Phil last year, though I feel that Ancelotti is the real deal and I have already tipped you for Champions League success, could be Premier League champs by Christmas if you carry on winning.

merlin – We`re still a little cautious! After last year when Scolari got us off to a great start we can all recall what happened Scolari got found out, he had no ‘Plan B` and came unstuck. Guus Hiddink came in and steadied the ship in spectacular style winning the FA Cup in the process and only being cheated out of a Champions League Final place.

Ancelotti was the guy Roman originally wanted before Scolari stepped into the breach and now he`s here everything seems to be running smoother. Unlike Scolari he arrived with a fine pedigree in club management, in Europe. Like I said, it`s still early days but we`re very optimistic.

As to your own situation, I wish Martinez well, he did some fine work at Swansea but has been handicapped by Steve Bruce pillaging your club since he moved to Sunderland.

Hopes and priorities

worbo – I have already said that we are going through a transitional phase and I would class staying in the division a priority which I feel we will achieve comfortably and gain a mid-table finish once more, Martinez has some quality players at his disposal and they just need to gel together and we will be fine

A hope would be a cup run; the Carling Cup is gone, so a day out in May at Wembley in the FA cup final would be a fantastic finale for all Latics fans this season, also another hope for me is that all our supporters get behind Martinez, it`s a hard enough job without having the fans getting at you.

merlin – It doesn`t seem to matter what paper you pick up every journalist seems to think that it`s the ‘Holy Grail` (Champions League) or bust this season but if you talk to the majority of the supporters they`d quite like us to establish our domestic superiority with another Premier League title win, anything else would be a bonus especially if we did manage to beat Real Madrid on their own patch in the Champions League Final.

What do you think of us then?

worbo – Chelsea look stronger than ever this year and there appears to be a real togetherness amongst your players, in Ancelotti you have certainly got one of the worlds top managers and it looks like you will go on to have another great season.

I think that the Champions League trophy will find its way to Stamford Bridge and quite possibly the Premier League trophy as well, Ancelotti appears to have got you up a level, if that was possible and, from what I have seen, Chelsea are far and away the best in Europe at the moment.

An unsung hero in your side, for me, would have to be Florent Malouda, in a team packed with superstars he consistently gets on with his job, keeps his head down and puts in great performances week after week, can we have him please?

merlin – If you`d have asked us about Malouda this time last year the answer would have been yes! But he`s come on leaps and bounds since Hiddink took over the reins. Hopefully he`ll keep that form going.

Looking at Wigan, I can`t help but feel Steve Bruce has done you no favours. It must have been bad enough him leaving but to watch him take some of your players as well must rankle.

I think you`ll find it a hard struggle this season but there`s no way you`ll go down, there are plenty of clubs that are far, far worse. It may also depend on who Martinez signs in the January transfer window, two good buys could be a springboard for an unlikely FA Cup run!

What should we expect

worbo – The Latics will go 4-5-1, but this isn`t a rigid system and they switch to 4-3-3 or 2-5-3 regularly throughout the game, in centre mid we have two new players that have taken over from Cattermole and Brown, Hendry Thomas and Momo Diame, both are fantastic prospects and both have started off the season really well, along with Titus Bramble they have been our most consistent performers.

We wont attack you with long direct balls but will try and keep possession, knocking the ball around and playing patient football. Hugo Rodallega is a livewire up front and he has two goals so far this season, he is slight in build and around 5` 10″ so we don`t pump high balls to him, he is pacey and hopefully he will be a hand full for Terry and Carvahlo.

Mario Melchiot is still our club captain and right back, I know he is a favourite with many Chelsea fans, he is the same as ever with his marauding runs down the flank, but due to his age, he cant get back like he used to so it leaves us open to counter attacks.

We are poor at defending set pieces and zonal mark leaving opposition players free in the area, very, very nervous for home supporters and we have conceded a few goals from set pieces this season, all headers.

We also play Jason Koumas, right footed, on the left and Charles N`Zogbia, left footed, on the right, this allows them to cut inside and it can be a quite effective tactic, but also we can get caught out by becoming exposed down the line.

merlin – Much has been made of Ancelotti`s diamond formation but it`s not as rigid as some make out. Those in the midfield quartet tend to rotate and sometimes players appear from unlikely positions on the pitch. Our defence is as solid as it has been for quite awhile but there`s still an uncertainty with crosses, some of us feel far more comfortable with Alex alongside Terry.

One area you may notice where we thrive on is pushing the full backs on. Essien provides the cover at the back and both Ashley Cole and Jose Bosingwa push forward, at pace. Ashley has already scored twice this season and Bosingwa has hit the bar from an acute angle. They could be the key to a successful fixture this weekend.

Up front, Didier Drogba may be rested after his ‘horrendous cramp` attack against Spurs so you may find that Anelka will be pushed forward with either Salomon Kalou alongside him or possibly a returning Joe Cole operating in a roving role.

Also, there`s the possibility that you may be treated to a sight of our last major signing, and possibly our last for a while courtesy of FIFA, Yuri Zhirkov.

And finally chaps, whats your predictions

worbo – I would love to predict a win for us but if I am being level headed then a draw is the best I can hope for so I am going to say?????????..1-1 and there goes your 100% start.

Good luck for the rest of the season and we will look after Scott Sinclair for you, he does have the potential, let`s see if he cant fulfil some of that with us.

merlin – I`m going for Carlo Ancelotti to return south still with his 100% Premier League record intact. It`ll be tough and we may have to dig deep to get the winner but I can see us winning by the odd goal in three, possibly late on.

As for Scotty, I believe he`s unable to play due to the loan arrangement but I still insist, given the right coaching, he`ll be a star!

Thanks for the chat merlin, as always its been a pleasure

Book competition

Vital Latics have teamed up with the publishers Aurum Press to offer one lucky Vital member the chance to win a copy of Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelans Autobiography `Playing to Win`

To enter the competition simply answer the following question:

Which team did Dave play an FA cup final with?

A – West Bromwich Albion
B – Blackburn Rovers
C – Preston North End

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