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Wigan V Arsenal Preview

Wigan
vs.
Arsenal

JJB Stadium

09/03/08

16:00

On Sky

It'll be quite a come-down for Arsenal when they visit Wigan on Sunday, after their historic win against AC Milan at the San Siro.

Although I find it hard to believe, Arsene Wenger insists his side will go into this game with as much hunger and desier as they took into the game against Milan.

Both teams have massive reasons to win the match. Wigan sit just two points and three places outside of the relegation zone with ten games to go.

For Arsenal it's a chance to go four points clear and slam all the pressure squarely on the shoulders of United and Chelsea.

Arsenal will have been boosted by the shock defeats of United and Chelsea. It'll no doubt damage the confidence of both teams, something Wenger will be delighted about with both teams snapping at the heels of Arsenal.

Arsenal may have made Milan look more like Milwall on Tuesday, but their form recent form gives us nothing to shout about. They've won only two of their last six games. Both were 2-0 wins, one over Milan, the other over Blackburn. There's also been a 4-0 stuffing at the hands of United at Old Trafford. Draws against Milan, Birmingham and Villa complete's Arsenal's last six results.

Like Arsenal, Wigan have won only two of their last six. Wins over West Ham and Derby has given them six prescious points in recent weeks. Boro, Chelsea and Sunderland have inflicted defeats of the Lactics in the last few weeks and they have just the one draw lately. A 0-0 with Manchester City.

Vital Quotes:

When asked if he would settle for a draw against Arsenal on Sunday Steve Bruce replied: 'We would take that now I am sure, especially after the performance that they produced at AC Milan in midweek.

'I was sitting watching and thinking it's as a good a performance as I have seen from a British team abroad.

'But that is the beauty of being in the Premier League - you get your moments against them.'




Wenger says that both teams have plenty to play for. The Arsenal boss also stated that he LIKES the fact that some places like Wigan have a poor playing surface: 'It will be a big test because they play not to go down. We expect a big commitment.

'They are under pressure like we are under pressure, so we are both in the same conditions.

'I've heard from reporters that their pitch is not like the Emirates. But I like England because to be champions here you have to go from Milan to Wigan - and win the game.

'It's a completely different kind of game but you have to find always a response to what you face.

"That's real quality for me.'

Wigan Team News:

Wigan have a full squad to choose from after Ryan Taylor (ribs) and Kevin Kilbane (foot) returned from injury.

Player to watch: Paul Scharner

The Austrian defender has been leading by example in recent weeks. He grabbed a goal against Derby a couple of weeks ago. He's also been in fine form at his own end of the pitch. He'll need to be on the very top of his game to stop Arsenal.

Arsenal Team News:

Arsenal have been boosted by the possible return of Kolo Toure (calf) and Alex Song (medial ligament) from injury.

However, Theo Walcott (thigh) and Abou Diaby (calf) have joined Tommy sick note and Eduardo on the injury list.

Robin Van Persie played an hour in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Colorado Rapids. Wenger was concerned about how tired Van Persie was, and says he will look at things on Sunday morning. Wenger said: 'Robin played an hour and he looks OK. But it [the Wigan game] looks early for him, he finished the game very tired so I will have to analyse that.'

Player to watch: Mathieu Flamini

The Frenchman didn't recieve enough praise for his epic performance in Milan. He seemed to pop up from nowhere and nick the ball.

Before the Milan game Wenger said that he would stick to his usual zonal marking policy. He just forgot to mention that Flamini's zone was the entire pitch!

Wigan will offer a scrappy game, something Flamini will be well up for. I've no doubt he'll not stop running as usual.

Match Facts & Stats

Ref Watch:

Rob Styles will (hopefully) take charge of proceedings on Sunday. His card count would suggest he is a reasonable man. He's dished out 3 red cards and 68 yellows in his 21 games this season. An average of 3.57 cards per game.

Match Prediction:

My own opinion, yet alone that of fans in general, is divided about this game. On the one hand we've just become the first English team to beat Milan in their own back garden, and put in one of the best footballing performances I have ever witnessed. On the other hand, Wign is quite a come down, and it'll be hard for the players to motivate themselves as they did in Milan. That combined with the facts that Wign are fighting for their Premiership survival, and the piss-poor pitch at the JJB means that Wign will be in with a shout. That said, I'm going to back Arsenal. 1-0 to The Arsenal. Adebayor to grab the only goal of a scrappy match.


Writer:Nick Simmonett
Date:Saturday March 8 2008
Time: 9:11PM

Comments

0
The return of Toure is not a boost. Senderos is doing well. Toure's last two games have conceded 8 goals. He was comical against Egypt and terrible against manure. Wenger, pls dont feck with our defence. I reckon we would have lost to Milan had Toure played 180 mins.
Will-i-am10
08/03/2008 21:41:00
0
Its a boost...cut Toure some slack dude...he was injured in the ACN..he is still a much better defende than Senderos
number14
08/03/2008 22:08:00
0
Oh ***** .... the kiss of death from Simmo, he's worse than Lawro that ****!!! Lol
Rocky7
08/03/2008 22:16:00
0
Noooo Simmo, not a win prediction, surely ! I'm actually a bit worried about this game - the lads have failed to turn up against some smaller sides this season, although we have done well enough to draw some of those games. This side (even with injuries) is good enough to beat Wigan - but do they want it ? I hope the answer is yes.
prits
08/03/2008 22:44:00
0
Oh no, Simmo predicts a win... Please, please let's grab 3 points there. I don't care if it's a deflected goal or the uneven pitch that makes the ball roll right into the net. A win, we need a win!!
Lou the Gunneress
09/03/2008
0
Don't worry we'll win but it is not going to be easy and we might have to wait till the last 10 min for the winning goal. As for toure letds give him more time to recover as he was injured during the last games at the african cup and at OT. Am I the only one on this forum to worry about this alleged comment by Eduardo that Taylor never visited him in the hospital as reported. If that is the truth then the english press has to eat one huge humble pie as they are the main movers behind the propaganda that Taylor is the victim here and has done everything in his power to put things right including a VISIT to eduardo in hospital. If one the other hand that he did visit then who is starting the rumors that he did not and to what purpos? The press again?
Armory
09/03/2008 00:23:00
0
Theres no way Senderos should be dropped after his preformances agaisnt Milan. Yes Toure is our starting center back alongside Gallas, but I dont think Toure should have the divine right to be in the XI when fit. Just take what happened to Chelsea in the CC final. They gave Lampard and Terry the start coming back from injury over the in form Ballack and Alex and they payed for it.
gunnerkid107
09/03/2008 00:31:00
0
I think Arsene's attitude will have rubbed off into the players. If Arsene says it will be a hard game, they better believe it. After all he's got right, they should. I expect them to be focussed on the task and I expect a good, efficient job. 2-0. Ade and Cesc.
ArsenalRob
09/03/2008 00:42:00
0
Well we can't stuff this game up because we don't have a 5 point gap to fall back to now....i have no idea what the result will be, it will depend on how the players respond from the Milan win.
AB_Arsenal
09/03/2008 02:02:00
0
3-0 for Arsenal... Ade, Flam and Hleb to score ... :-D
KnightOfARSENAL
09/03/2008 02:25:00
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