Match Preview: Wigan Athletic vs Stoke City

Crouch the man to watch

Now in amongst all the chaos that is the European deadline day, we still have a game this weekend to build up to, and it isn't going to be an easy one. The typical cliche to say now is that none of games in the Premier League are easy which in all fairness is true, whoever you face they pose a threat. Yet Stoke City have such a unique threat, that is why to me they are one of the best Premier League teams.

Stoke were known for being the long ball specialists. Its how they got into the Premier League, then midfielder Rory Delap undid everybody with the long thrown. But those days are long behind Stoke. They are now a well established Premier League team which is motoring of all the extra money they make of the TV.

The outcome is that they have bought better players and now play the quality passing football we love to see. Yet they haven't forgotten how to play it rough when they need to. This makes Stoke one of the most unpredictable teams in the Premier League, as you don't quite know what style of play you will come up against.

Our record against Stoke has been varied to say the least. Last seasons away draw and home win was the best we have had over them in one season. The win came at the start of our sprint to safety last season, and it was the best I have seen a Wigan team play our new brand of football (that was before the Manchest United, Arsenal and Newcastle United games).

Now if we can replicate such a performance again, then we really could cause Stoke some problems. This game for me will be a mid-table six pointer. Both team aiming for the same positions as they look to challenge for a cheeky Europa League spots. That is what both sets of fans hope anyway.

So far the opposition have drawn twice only scoring one goal, in two games against Reading and Arsenal. They were on course for a win against Reading till a late penalty said otherwise. While keeping a fresh Arsenal squad quiet was good work. But Stoke haven't sprung into life.

That doesn't mean to say that they won't and when you have a player like Peter Crouch to contend with up front anything can happen. The tall striker is one of my favorites, he is a worker and for someone so tall has great feet. Which is all the making of a great striker, especially for a Stoke side that love to whip balls in and around the box all day, everyday. Its no wonder he bagged fourteen goals last season.

This season he is already up and running having scored against Swindon, in Stokes 4-3 defeat to the league one side in the Capital One Cup. I imagine that Crouch will be looking to add to that this weekend, while Stoke themselves will want to get their first three points.

Wigan on the other hand want their first home win of the season, and if the team can come together then hopefully we can do it. It is likely that Jean Beausejour will not play has he continues his recovery. So that basically means that same side will start, that is what I imagine anyway.

Yet the bench could change, with the likes of Ryo Miyaichi and Callum McManaman putting in impressive performances, they both deem places this weekend.

For once Martinez has a good headache with so many players looking in good shape after the last two matches.

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