Wigan Athletic tackle Manchester United today hoping to reverse a sequence of results that has seen our illustrious neighbours win every competitive meeting between the two clubs, that`s 12 game`s and 12 wins, let`s make it unlucky 13 for them.
Latics boss Roberto Martinez will be under no illusions about the task facing his side today as Fergusons men embark on a run of games that could well define their season, but by the same token a result is very much needed by the Latics in the fight for Premier League survival.
The return of James McCarthy has given the Latics a massive boost and his form, considering the length of absence, has been nothing short of sensational. It`s no coincidence that since the return to the starting line-up of the young midfield man points have started to tick over and some kind of result against United would be a massive confidence boost to the side as we enter the run-in to the seasons end.
United are in the midst of some tough games, following their Champions League draw in midweek at Marseille it`s us today, Chelsea on Tuesday and Liverpool next Saturday, all away from home.
If United have their eye off the ball and are thinking about Chelsea then we could just snatch this, though knowing the ultra professional way that they approach every game the focus will be about the three points today, but I think the Latics can still spring a surprise and I firmly believe we will get at least a point.
What The Bosses Say:
Latics boss Roberto Martinez:
‘We’ve shown in the past that we’re capable of competing against the best, being ourselves and getting results over anyone.
‘Our performance will have to be perfect, but Man Utd are the only Premier League side we’re yet to defeat and that gives the players extra motivation to get a result.
‘We know we’re playing against a world-class team on Saturday but one thing we have learnt from this season is that the points we’ve earned have all come down to our performances.
‘It means we know how we have to perform in order to compete against a mature Manchester United side.’
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson
“Wigan are a team that we think plays fantastic football and that`s obviously a concern when they`ve re-laid some of their turf. I understand the pitch is ok, it`s not too bad.
“It`ll be a difficult game tomorrow but at this time of year they`re all going to be difficult. It doesn`t matter who you are and when you play them and the important thing for us is to get the momentum going because consistency will win the league.”
Wigan Athletic Team News:
Emmerson Boyce has a hamstring strain and Tom Cleveley is ineligible otherwise its a full strength squad
Al-Habsi, Gohouri, Alcaraz, G. Caldwell, Figueroa, Diame, Watson, McCarthy, Moses, N’Zogbia, Rodallega
Player to watch: James McCarthy
Latics have missed the youngsters drive and enthusiasm as much as anything this season, good to have him back
Courtesy of Bernard Platt/Wigan Athletic
Manchester United Team News:
Ferdinand, Anderson, Park, Hargreaves and Valencia all injured.
Van der Sar; O’Shea, Smalling, Vidic, Evra, Fletcher, Scholes, Carrick, Berbatov, Nani, Rooney, Giggs, Lindegaard, Brown, Owen, Hernandez, Rafael, Gibson.
Player to watch: Nani
Looks to be in good form at the moment and he is Uniteds answer to N’Zogbia but not quite as good.
The Latics and United have met on 12 previous occassions with United winning all 12.
Last Six Meetings
20/11/10 – Premier League – Man Utd 2 Latics 0
30/12/09 – Premier League – Man Utd 5 Latics 0
22/08/09 – Premier League – Latics 0 Man Utd 5
13/05/09 – Premier League – Latics 1 Man Utd 2
14/01/09 – Premier League – Man Utd 1 Latics 0
11/05/09 – Premier League – Latics 0 Man Utd 2
Mark Clattenburg (Consett)
Why not take a look at our excellent Meet the Ref article
Mark Clattenburg Card Watch 2010/11
Games – 29, yellows – 88, reds – 6
Tough one but head says 1-1
Heart says 2-1 Latics win