This time last season (with three games to go) Wigan were recovering after a late 2-1 defeat to Fulham the previous weekend, by thumping a flying Newcastle United side 4-0. On that day we more or less booked our Premier League survival and set down a marker of just who we were.
Now Wigan must do the same, but this time away to West Bromwich Albion. The baggies who’s early season heroics are something of a long forgotten past are striving to reach the upper echelons of the Premier League. Currently sitting in eighth place, the midlands club will look to going upwards and close the six point gap which has opened up between them and seventh place Liverpool.
Steve Clarke has said there will be no thoughts about helping Wigan catch Villa, the baggies would become the only Midlands club in the top flight if Villa are relegated. Instead we can as ever expect a very tough test against a team which landed on its feet this season.
The reason for much of their success has to be pinned down on a few players finding their best form. Captain Chris Brunt (who won’t feature at the weekend due to a knee injury) has been inspired when leading the side for most of the season. While the mix of quality strikers in Shane Long and Romelu Lukaku have proven vital to their push for a top ten finish.
This season has been the first time that Lukaku has had a chance to shine in the Premier League. The Chelsea player on loan at West Brom has been one of the players to watch this year. A mixture of power and pace make him a scary prospect for defenders. So far this season he had scored 14 goals along with four assists.
Lukaku will be a player we will find hard to stop. Yet the same could have been said for Gareth Bale last weekend, and our guys managed to keep him quiet for more or less the entire 90 minutes at the DW Stadium.
How can we expect Wigan to line up though?
It will be a question of how brave Roberto Martinez is going to be. Will he stay with our 3-4-3 formation and recall Gary Caldwell to the back three, playing Ronnie Stamm and Jean Beasuejour outwide; with the two James’s in the middle.
Or does Roberto look to a 4-3-3. Drop Beasujour and Stamm in as full back with Paul Scharner and Emmerson Boyce in the middle of defence; the midfield then a trio of McCarthy, McArthur and Jordi Gomez.With so many injuries it is hard to tell which way this time will go at the weekend. One thing is for sure is how we will line up going forward. Callum McManaman, Shaun Maloney and Arouna Kone will be looking to stretch and break through the West Brom defence.
Can we do it? I believe we can.
Keep the Faith!