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Match Preview: Wigan Athletic vs Tottenham Hotspur

Crunch week? We may not be down to the wire just yet, but boy do we need to win this one. Aston Villa slipped up on Monday night away to United but they have much easier tie at home to Sunderland this weekend. They could pull six points clear of us with a win.

Shaun Botterill

A lot of things could be decided this week, that is the relegation options. If both QPR and Reading fail to win, then they will be officially relegated this week, while if they win, and both us and Villa win. Then they still would be relegated. So in terms of the bottom two, they aren’t going to win out this weekend.

Wigan though need to start thinking about where they want to be next season. If the players really care and want Premier League survival, then they have to win games regardless of the opposition, we managed to do it last season.

Playing Tottenham though is a different story. This is a Spurs team which are chasing the top four and are on full march. An exceptional second half performance rendered them 3-1 winners over Manchester City, and showed Wigan what being clinical can get you; three points.

That was the opposite of our performance against West Ham last Saturday, when after bombarding the Hammers goal; we were unable to make the break through. Arouna Kone’s recent good form in front of goal, now appears to be a past dream, can he re-spark it? That will be one of the two key things on Saturday. Can Kone find the net and get the goals for Wigan, and can Gary Caldwell returning to the starting line up in a blaze of glory. The Scotland international has to come back to playing and make everyone wonder why we doubted him.

Some time on the side-lines to rest and simmer on that may be the kick he needs. Gary is a player who loves to play and a man for the team. Getting his chance now to show he can do it will be a big thing for him; I just hope he can recapture that spirit from last season.

Wigan then will line up without Antolin Alcaraz. That is likely to be the only major change from the game against West Ham United. Jean Beausejour you would imagine will come on to play in the wide left position, with Maynor Figueroa taking up his place in the back three. That means Callum McManaman will continue his run in the side.

Tottenham have some good team news. It looks like Aaron Lennon could make his return to the side for the game against us. The winger has struggled to remain on the pitch this season due to injuries. Lennon is a player who over the years has always caused Wigan problems. Yet you don’t have to look much further for problems that Gareth Bale in the Tottenham side.

The winger come striker has had another fantastic season, and rumours of a departure to Real Madrid are increasing in strength. There is so much the winger can do, it’s better to say what he struggles at; which is adaptability.

Bale as the lack of experience to be able to see the areas during the game where he could affect it most. He plays where he likes to, not where he would be most effective on the pitch. So to keep him quite block off his area of the field. Saying that the Welshman only needs one chance to run at someone or get a shot off and you could be looking at a goal.

If anyone is going to make it hard for Wigan to win this weekend it will be that man, and we are meeting him at the wrong time. He is in excellent form having scored 23 goals and assisted 9 this season for Tottenham. He will be a player that will take a lot of stopping come Saturday.

But stop him we must, and this isn’t just to go out and secure three points. This is because we have to keep in line with the pulling away pack. Otherwise we could be left at the back of the survival field with only four games to go. Time is ticking away, and this year it isn’t our friend.

Keep the Faith!