Date:Saturday November 22 2008
Wigan have a mediocre record against Everton - to be fair its pretty even but nevertheless Everton have really gone from strength to strength through the seasons. Interestingly, they are fragile at Goodison Park but on the road, they've got some decent results. Kind of like Wigan Athletic really.
On Monday, Everton will turn up at the JJB for a game where Wigan will be looking to take something from but, being the bearer of perceived bad news, I don't see us upsetting Everton I'm afraid.
Their quality on the pitch will be cause for concern but Steve Bruce always seems to have a plan and he will urge his players on to try and improve their home form - they'll hope Everton have an off day come Monday evening, but Everton will be buoyed by recent results on the road.
Add to that Wigan have some worrying injury news - three players are on the sidelines with injuries quite possibly - Amr Zaki, Mario Melchiot and Jason Koumas. Three very creative outlets are a doubt for Monday's clash with Everton and that may just put a dampener on events as Everton will seek to exploit this but they aren't without some injury concerns of their own.
I fear come Monday evening Wigan Athletic will be in the relegation zone and then we have a critical home game against West Brom but I think that should Wigan suffer a defeat here, they'll come out all guns blazing come their next home game against West Brom as they will need the points to climb the table.
Let's not forget that Wigan Athletic have been in good form of late, picking up five points out of a possible nine, so that's not a bad return by any stretch of the imagination so there's a possibility they could pick something up against a tough Everton side.
I don't like Wigan's recent record against Everton though and I personally believe that Everton will be too strong for a potentially weakened Latics side - its a shame because Wigan have deserved more from their fixtures this season and without reward so if the worst should ever come to the worst, that'll be one of the reasons why. If we fail to beat Everton and should we fail to beat West Brom, I think the question marks will be looming over Steve Bruce's future suitability as Wigan's boss. Dave Whelan won't mess around if he's serious about keeping Wigan up but fair play to Bruce, at least he's looking a bit ambitious come the January transfer window. Work needs to be done there.
Back to the Monday night fixture, for me, I think that Everton will nick this one quite comfortably in the end. Everton are a good away team, though, it has to be said so I'm not going to focus too much on this game as much as I am on the West Brom game, a game in which we must try and take something from.
Rob's Prediction Wigan 1 Everton 2
I'm going for exactly the same result from last season - I think Wigan will give this one as much as they can but Everton will sneak it. As said, it will be a shame but there will be another home fixture to look on to in a few days after.
Rob's final thought
I would be delighted if Wigan got anything from this very tough encounter if only to get one over on my Evertonian colleague at work.
For me, seriously now, there are a few worries that are crossing my mind. We're not winning our home games and although our form on the road of late has been decent, if we can't win our home games, no prem stay for a fifth year, I fear.
If we don't beat Everton, that won't be a major factor for me but if we can't beat West Brom, that'll be a disaster in the making I think.
Is Zaki the sensation we all first thought he may be? I have my doubts now. Also, we seem short on goals from over the park.
We need to invest heavily in all three areas come January, defence, midfield and attack if only to try and get more goals around the team.
UP THE 'TICS!
Date:Saturday November 22 2008
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