Less than 48 hours after beating a local rival and fellow title contender, a Fabregas-less Arsenal travel north and west to Wigan looking to exorcise demons of last season’s embarrassing capitulation. For Arsenal, the name of the game is keeping the energy and momentum of yesterday’s win going. If we can do that, then Wigan will be in trouble. But as we saw last April, nothing should be taken for granted with this group of players.
Theo spoke about moving onto tomorrow’s match:
‘We can’t dwell on this result. We could be disappointed if we win against Chelsea and then lose at Wigan.’ said Walcott.
Wigan manager, Roberto Martinez, had this to say on the Arsenal, Chelsea result:
‘It didn’t surprise me at all,’ said Martinez. ‘We know what Arsenal are capable of and last night they looked really impressive.
‘The way they moved the ball, the pressure they put on and the quality in the last third; that was Arsenal at their best.
‘They are magnificent to watch and if they can carry on at that level, you could see a very special side for many years to come.’
Wigan Team News:
Hendry Thomas and Maynor Figueroa return from suspension for Roberto Martinez, but Emmerson Boyce (hamstring), Franco Di Santo (ankle), James McCarthy (ankle), and Victor Moses (shoulder) will not play any part in tomorrow’s proceedings. Wigan beat relegation rivals Wolves on Boxing Day with a dominating performance. A late Steven Fletcher consolation made the 2-1 scoreline flattering for Wolves. Coming back to the DW, Martinez, like Wenger, will want his men to preserve their momentum.
Player to watch: Hugo Rodallega
The Colombian international will be another physical test for Johan Djourou. Rodallega will look to quickly hold it up for the likes of N’Zogbia. If you win the aerial battle, Wigan become very incompetent in attack.
Arsenal Team News:
Fabregas has been left in North London after receiving his fifth caution of the season. Other than that, the squad will remain the same. Rosicky or Diaby will come in for the captain, and Wenger will probably rotate in Arshavin, Eboue, Chamakh, or Bendtner. This is probably a good game to give Bendtner a run out. Caution should be taken before making too many changes, but changes need to be made for this one.
Possible Starting XI: Fabianski, Eboue, Djourou, Koscielny, Gibbs, Song, Wilshere, Rosicky, Arshavin, Walcott, Bendtner
Player to watch: Nicklas Bendtner
This is the perfect opportunity for the Big Dane to prove himself. He wants more playing time, so he needs to show the boss what he can do.
Match Facts & Stats
The Latics have only won twice at home this season but are undefeated in their last five games at the DW Stadium (W2, D3)
Wigan are the least potent side in the division, scoring only 15 goals in 18 matches.
Arsenal’s away record of 17 points from nine matches is bettered only by Manchester City. The Gunners have won four of their last five away matches.
Lee Probert is the head official for this one.
I believe Arsenal will continue their good away record this season. Wigan won’t be able to muster enough attack to get a result.
1/1 (Sat) – Birmingham (a) – Premier League
5/1 (Wed) – Manchester City (h) – Premier League
8/1 (Sat) – Leeds (h) – FA Cup