If you want games in hand in a relegation battle you know you would choose home ties against a mid-table team which have nothing left to gain points for. You don’t choose the current Champions and the team looking to cement a place in next seasons Champions League.
Yet it is an away trip we must face, and one that none will relish. This weekend three points is a massive must if we want to stay in the Premier League. With the likes of Aston Villa, Sunderland and Newcastle all winning in recent week, they are starting to build a gap between us. Currently that stand at three points, yet we have two games in hand to catch them.
We can only play the cards we have been dealt with, and we must continue that now. Last season we managed to pull it off, beating Liverpool, Manchetser United and Arsenal in our last few games to clinch survival. Why can we not do it this time against Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham?
Manchester City is the first focus, and any thoughts of getting a win would seem the thoughts of a very optimistic person. All though City have had bad form towards the end of this current season, they have hardly been dire, and in their last two games they have dominated two matches against Manchester United and Chelsea.
Will we follow? I would like to think the lads can step up to the cause and find that extra level to their game. Last year they did it as I said above, and there is no reason they can’t do it again. Why couldn’t Arouna Kone find a way to get past Vincent Kompany, and why couldn’t Shaun Maloney lose their midfield marshals of Yay Toure, and Gareth Barry.
You expect neither of the above to happen; as the chances are very unlikely. Unless the City players all decide not to bother turning up, the chances of fatigue for them are slim. City can simply replace one superstar with another, and with Jack Rodwell and Micah Richards both back from injury expect to see them.
It’s hard to see a weakness in the side. To find one, we will have to make it ourselves. The team Wigan will field against Manchester City looks like a mystery. With three games in the space of a week, Martinez has hinted at resting players; the manager obviously feeling that we are more likely to beat West Ham at the weekend then win at Manchester City.
Wigan’s line up then could see a few faces that haven’t featured in a while. James McArthur and Roger Espionza I feel could fall into the midfield; with the possibility of Franco Di Santo leading the charge with Arouna Kone. Of course this is all speculation, but Roberto knows what he is doing. Resting players away from home against a team we are unlikely to beat is a sensible option, rather than playing players till they drop.
Tonight’s game will really not give us any hints towards the clubs future. If we lose, then we lose against arguably the best team in the league and none will think any more of it. Win or draw and that would be a massive bonus, but all the work for our survival all still has to be done.
Still plenty of games left with points to pick up.