Writer: Nick Simmonett
Date:Sunday February 11 2007
11th Febuary 2007
Arsenal will be expected to extend their unbeaten run in 2007 to 10 games as they take on Wigan on Sunday. In contrast to Arsenal, Wigan have been in terrible form in 2007, winning only one game, a 1-0 victory over Portsmouth at home last week.
There is always that doubt with Arsenal these days, that niggling feeling that we will draw as we have done on so many occasions this season. It`s not so much a risk when playing Wigan, they tend to come out and play football rather than sitting back defending their 18 yard box as though it is their castle and Arsenal are invading it.
Arsenal have lost to Wigan on only one occasion, a defeat in the Carling Cup semi final first leg last season. The Gunners won this fixture 4-2 (as if you don`t remember!) in a dramatic farewell to Highbury, a game in which Thierry Henry got a hat-trick. Arsenal fan`s will be looking for more of the same, Henry got a total of 6 goals against Wigan last season!
For all their effort and valour, Wigan are yet to get a single point from any of the 'big 4` in the Premiership. To date they have played 14, lost 14! Let`s hope that is 15 played, 15 lost after Sunday`s game eh?
Arsene Wenger warned his players that nothing less than 100% will win this game: "One thing is certain, we will not get away with 90 per cent effort," said Wenger. "So we will have to give everything if we want to continue our run. What a shame it would be if we beat Manchester United, then drop points all because we are not focussed enough.
"Wigan have just turned the corner I don`t think they will be in a battle to go down. Without a doubt they have the ability to stay up.
"Of course they have not won for nine games and you always have a doubt in your mind. But they have just beaten Portsmouth so that shows that they have the quality to beat strong teams.
"I must say whenever I watch them I don`t think they are going to lose, because they always play well, but perhaps they have just lacked a little bit of confidence which happens when you have a bad run."
Diaby and Baptista return for Arsenal while Johan Djourou also returns after a thigh injury.
Hleb and Ljungberg are set for a return to training but Gallas and Eboue are still injured.
6 goals against The Lactics last season, another brace today? Who knows but he has been in great form while Wigan have been leaking goal left, right and centre.
Emile Heskey and Leighton Baines have recovered from calf injuries.
'Keeper Chris Kirkland will also play after missing the England game with a shoulder problem.
I know, I know, couldn't score in a brothal but he's a powerful player and you know what powerful players usually do to Arsenal.
3-1 to Arsenal. I can see Wigan going a head just before half time, another super halftime team talk from Wenger then an Henry brace and a late goal from Cesc to seal it for Arsenal.
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Date:Sunday February 11 2007
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