Wigan V Newcastle - Titus Bramble's Revenge!
Wigan were deservedly beaten 3-0 by Arsenal after a somewhat lacklustre performance. Having steadied the ship in the first half, Wigan crumbled as Arsenal got a goal just before the break and after the break, more or less it was one way traffic. Wigan had good chances themselves but failed to capitalise. That said, they had a decent penalty claim turned down. Wrongly, as it happened, but nevertheless, Arsenal's determination and strength were the worthy winners on a very disappointing Carling Cup tie night.
Never mind. Time to move on to a nice, easy game up at St. James' Park and if you believe that, you must be crazy. Newcastle are a better team than what is suggested. For some reason of late, they have struggled to get it together but Joe Kinnear is putting a bit of belief back into the Newcastle side and I think it is only a matter of time before they become a difficult team to beat, home and away. With the players they have, its very difficult to imagine why they've been rather inconsistent.
Under Kinnear, though, Newcastle are really doing themselves justice at home but their away form needs work and Latics know they walk into a battle zone as they take on Joe Kinnear's Newcastle side. Also, add to that Joey Barton's return and it should make for an interesting game.
Barton has been making the headlines yet again after controversial incidents so he'll need to be watched and well marshalled to ensure that his temper doesn't get the better of him on the pitch. Its a shame because Joey is a good player yet he lets his personal affairs engulf him to the point of violent acts and that must be upsetting for those who look up to him and it must be upsetting for him, too, as he must find it a struggle to try and control himself despite his very best efforts yet his harshest critics are always going to leave themselves in the firing line and others that don't.
Robin can see Titus Bramble gleefully rubbing his hands with pleasure at the prospect of the former Newcastle man taking on the team of which he spent five years with - time for a bit of revenge? You bet, Titus will be thinking. He'll be eager to put on a show and when Titus puts on a show, he's almost unplayable.
Rob's Prediction Newcastle 1 Wigan 1
I just have a sneaky feeling Wigan might be able to take something from St James' park despite their improving home form. They can't keep this up forever. Something's got to give and I do think the Latics will give the Newcastle team a run for their money.
Player To Watch: Amr Zaki The Egyptian has dried up somewhat and he'll want to put on a show to try and improve his worth to the team as well as his army of known admirers.
Rob's Final Thoughts
Even if Wigan don't bag a win or a point, its not the end of the world. We're better off than we were last season and we can easily build on the points we have so far but we do need to be active within the transfer window come Jan.
Also, Robin thinks that Joey Barton will be a headline grabbing player again this weekend - he always seems to be within the reach of newspaper put ups and put downs.
UP THE LATICS!
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