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Match Preview: West Ham United vs Wigan Athletic

This game is already being touted by the West Ham fans as a chance to get back some revenge from Wigan Athletic. Two seasons ago Wigan made that dramatic come back to beat West Ham United 3-2 and to all but ensure their survival, will relegating West Ham in the process.

Ian Walton

This time round, losing the game for Wigan could seal their relegation. This Latics team has to understand that there cannot be a single slip up in this one, especially with it being away from home. Yet it is away from home that Wigan seems to excel and that has to be the case here.

The next two matches are going to be critical. I believe we need to aim for at least four points if not all six, yet when you go to places like Upton Park and the Hawthorns (next week Latics face West Bromwich Albion) you don’t expect to come away with anything. There isn’t much of a choice left for Wigan.

The mid-week fixtures saw both of these teams play, so on that front we are level. Neither side rested many players in their battles against the top two, and for both it nearly paid off. West Ham United getting a very much deserved point, Wigan coming away with nothing after a late City goal.

Will that show how this match will fall? I don’t think so. The opening ten minutes will be when the game will be decided. If Latics concede early and let West Ham have the better of the play then we will know about it, and will walk away from this game with nothing.

On the other hand, if Wigan can rouse themsleve again to a performance such has we have seen this season against Aston Villa, Reading and Everton. Then we could be in for a treat. It is likely to be the same starting line-up that faced the latter of those three sides, as Roberto Martinez continues with continuality.

It could see a very impressive Franco Di Santo lose his starting place, yet that is too an equally impressive Callum McManaman. It is hard to tell who will play this one. I would expect Callum will to give us that added with on the right, and also the attacking option.

Will there be any other changes? It depends on who is falling foul to fatigue. James McArthur could slip easily into our midfield if one of the three there was tired; while Gary Caldwell is as always and experienced option for the defence.

I say it every week, the team could change, and so far there have only been little tweaks from game to game. It comes down to will there be any again this week?

West Ham though doesn’t need tweaking. After twice taking the lead against Manchester United, Sam Allydyce will be more than happy with his team. The Hammers who now sit on 39 points are now in no real threat of relegation, even so they will be out to get a win against us and make sure of that fact.

The man they will hope can force the goal for them, is the £30 million man Andy Carroll. When Liverpool signed him from Newcastle the questions where why spend that much? The same still applies, but the striker is now starting to hit his best form since his days at Newcastle. He has only scored six do far this season, but it’s what he creates that counts.

Big and strong, he wins the ball in the air and can then play it off to the players around him. Wigan fans saw how well this can work with a certain Emile Heskey when he led the Wigan line. The role of goal creator is one which rarely gets praise, especially when it is holding the ball up when it has come from a long ball forward.

So how will it pan out this weekend? It will be interesting to see and as ever with Wigan games it will be who controls the midfield. We face one of our former players in Mohammed Diame so he will know how we like it through the middle. The rest though is keeping the likes of Carroll, Ricardo Vaz Te and Kevin Nolan quite in attack.

Do that and well we could get something from the game in London.