Vital member Phil Blinston (zakidaman) looks ahead to this afternoons game with Stoke and gives us his verdict on how the game will unfold, over to you Phil:
The WIGAN Pre-Christmas Cracker
Phil Blinston (Latics Fan)
Today I`m hoping it will be ‘Wigan` and not Tony Pulis, who ruins the James Beattie Christmas party, by kicking off the festive period with a win, and hopefully Wigan, can carry that form through to the New Year.
Latics have enough quality in the team to win this game, despite the inconstancy in recent weeks. We can take heart from the fact that they know they can play very attractive football and can beat the best in the Premiership on their day. Though Stoke are different, we know they will play to their strengths, and Roberto will have done his homework.
I believe it will be us today that will frustrate Stoke and not the other way around as happened last season. Much more is expected from Stoke City by their fans, and Tony Pulis has introduced new personnel to adapt to the top flight, and his side is currently enjoying the relative safety of a mid-table position, so we are most likely to be considered the underdogs, which will be to our advantage.
More is expected of Wigan, coming off the back of a poor result against a very ordinary Birmingham City side last weekend. It is clear we cannot take anything for granted, but I`d like to see the Latics play a patient game, defend better and catch Stoke on the break.
Against Birmingham, our formation changed to the more conventional 442 in the latter part of the game, and I personally thought we looked more dangerous, but though I don`t see us starting with this formation, I`m sure Roberto Martinez will be looking to be unpredictable.
Stoke at the Britannia Stadium has to be one of the hardest away fixtures for any team in the Premiership. Stoke have also come a long way from the long ball, and the long throw-in strategy that secured their Premier League safety last season, and I think everyone thought Stoke City would be back in the Championship on the first go. To their credit, they have proved all the experts and doubters wrong.
At the DW, around November, last season, Stoke extended their unbeaten run in the Premier League to three games as they frustrated a more adventurous Latics side to secure a goalless draw. As always, Fuller will be a handful, and he has proved he can play at this level. Etherington also offers Stoke more flair on the wing. Prepare to do battle.
I do think the altercation between manager Tony Pulis and striker James Beattie Will affect Beattie should he play, and his mind will be Christmas parties and not football.
Latics – Stoke
15 Played 15
17 Points 20
5 Won 5
2 Drawn 5
8 Lost 5
17 Scored 13
34 Goals Conceded 17
It`s been said, Wigan are like a packet of Revels at the moment. You just don’t know which one is going to come out. The Blue ones will come out today.
Probable Starting 11 : Pollitt ; Melchiot, Boyce, Bramble, Figueroa; Scharner, Sinclair, Diame, N’Zogbia; Scotland, Rodallega.
by Phil Blinston
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