Wigan - The Story So Far
Well, Wigan are on course for a good finish after beating Sunderland at the Stadium of Light 2-1. Latics opened the scoring with a crisp finish from Ben Watson. Despite Grant Leadbitter's finish, Charles N'Zogbia then restored Latics' lead with a great finish, a run which went for 70 yards before Charles beat Fulop for a fine finish.
That's 38 points for the Latics now and I do believe that is safety despite what other people have suggested is not safety. The magical 40 will be more of a comfort zone admittedly but that was such a big win for the Latics yesterday and I think we're out of relegation troubles now and looking towards an even greater prize... Europe.
Soon, the Latics have their next home game fixture. Struggling Hull City. Only one person I can think of will be looking forward to coming back to the JJB from Hull and that's our old bud, Killer, who'll be happy to renew old acquaintances, but it'll be business as usual for the lads as they try to nullify a rejuvinated Latics side. Win this game and we're well on course for Europe and safety more or less guaranteed.
The season so far has been a bit of a mixed bag.
We started poorly but then we got a fine victory (our biggest in the premier league since promotion) with a 5-0 victory at the KC Stadium. Amr Zaki proving he was a really fine striker. Valencia, Heskey and an own goal from Ricketts then summed up the afternoon. A disappointing draw with Sunderland followed and a good point at White Hart Lane was the next point Latics picked up. A fine victory over mega rich City followed this with Valencia providing the goal of the season so far from a player in a Latics shirt.
Things were going OK until a miserly October where we didn't register a single point.
After that, a memorable afternoon followed at Fratton Park - Amr Zaki found his goal scoring boots and Emile Heskey snatched the victory with a late winner. It was a real boost for the Latics.
Stoke put up firm resistance to snatch a cheeky point from our JJB fortress before Titus Bramble had the last laugh at Tyneside with a wonderful equaliser from a Daniel De Ridder corner.
Next, was my all time personal favourite of the season so far - a win over Everton. I was not forseeing this but it sure brightened up my day as I heaped lots of misery over my Everton supporting mate at work. My how the tables had turned there.
An important victory against West Brom was next since it ended our hoodlum of back to back victories which seemed to elude the Latics. Admittedly the result was harsh on Brom, who were clearly the better side, but Latics character showed out in the end, making it a deserved victory.
After an encouraging display against Arsenal, Wigan beat Blackburn at the JJB. This was to mark the end of Paul Ince's era at Blackburn and Sam Allardyce was drafted in quickly as his replacement. Big Sam's effect might just save them yet.
Another good home win for Wigan followed - this time Ryan Taylor beat Shay Given again with a splendid free kick and Amr Zaki followed up with a good penalty against Newcastle. Carroll responded but it was a comfortable win for the Wigan faithful in the end.
Wins were not hard to come by and Wigan proved this with another Amr Zaki penalty which downed Bolton.
After a disappointing Carling Cup defeat to Tottenham, Wigan got their own back when Maynor Figueroa beat Tottenham at the death with a splendid header. It was Wigan's first win against Spurs in the Premier League and deservedly so as well. No debut goal for Jermaine Defoe. My brother in law would not be pleased.
Wigan got a draw against Liverpool when Emile Heskey and Wilson Palacios departed the JJB. Heskey went to Villa and Palacios to Tottenham. So far, Tottenham not really getting what they hoped from Wilson - is this another case of when a Latics player moves on, its usually not as successful? One wonders if Wilson may regret his move and the same thing could arguably be said about Emile.
A great point at Villa Park and a good point against Fulham followed. Following that, a good point against Middlesbrough summed up a good few weeks.
Wigan were very unlucky to lose to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge but my mate couldn't resist rubbing it in. I shall remember this for when we finally beat them.
Afterwards, it was like a war at the JJB when Wigan lost to West Ham - a spectacular Cole strike proved the difference.
A break followed for the Latics and they returned full of energy and endeavour to beat Sunderland most recently at the Stadium Of Light. A great victory which should mean safety more or less.
Overall a good season so far with a few disappointing blips but some good wins and encouraging showings from the boys in blue and white.
This is how I see the rest of the season going:
HULL (H) - Wigan Win (41 Points)
EVERTON (A) - Everton Win (41 Points)
ARSENAL (H) - Draw (42 Points)
BLACKBURN (A) - Blackburn Win (42 Points)
BOLTON (H) - Wigan Win (45 Points)
WEST BROM (A) - Wigan Win (48 Points)
STOKE (A) - Stoke Win (48 Points)
PORTSMOUTH (H) - Draw (49 Points)
Safety is well within our grasp and I think we've done it with our victory over Sunderland!