Date:Monday February 8 2010
Wigan entertain Tony Pulis' Stoke City, who have done so admirably since their promotion to the Premier League. Many had them as one hit wonders, but they are truly a great side and fully deserve their Premier League place and the elation that keeps on coming for them. Their team, Tony Pulis and the fans have done Stoke City so proud and you can't help but feel a great respect for them. That is most certainly what they will get at the DW Stadium.
They have some really good players in their side and have cemented their place in the mid-table era. I see Stoke finishing comfortably and were it not for some pretty unconvincing away form, they might even be contenders for Europe as their home form is magnificent and their FA Cup win over Arsenal must've been second time happy, following their 2-1 success over Arsenal last season.
Matthew Etherington, Tuncay Sanli and Ricardo Fuller will be a great handful as well as Rocket Rory Delap with his trademark throws. The rearguard will need to be at their absolute best, but Wigan's defence has improved a bit over recent weeks, despite a poor run of form. Wigan were unlucky to lose to Everton and were the victim of a late goal at the DW as they were at Blackburn.
Intriguingly, Wigan have failed to score against the Potters in the majority of their last few games against them. A drab 0-0 was the last result at the DW Stadium and I feel we could be seeing a repeat of that scoreline at the DW. Wigan are so inconsistent that anything could happen. Despite only winning marginally on the road this season, Stoke have managed to maintain some solidity on the road.
Roberto Martinez may or may not include the new boys in the squad to play Stoke but I feel that he might put either Marcelo or Victor into the starting line up but the fans were told not to expect too much from Roberto Martinez's new signing and in a way, that is fair enough, but I'd like to see what the boy's made of as well as Marcelo Moreno.
Unfortunately they weren't on the pitch long enough at Sunderland to make an impression so if they start against Stoke, either of them, we'll be able to get a fair assessment of what they can do.
For me, this has 0-0 written all over it. I hope I'm wrong and Wigan win, but Stoke are Stoic in the defence and dangerous on the attack, so nerves, I'd imagine, may be a little frayed amongst all Latics faithful.
Wigan need the form, Stoke are fairly resolute on the road, but they have failed to score in a vast majority of their last away games. Wigan swing from one extreme to the next and seeing as hardly many goals get scored against these two sides, I'm going for another drab 0-0 home draw, which wouldn't be terrible. We'd still be on a point a game basis, but as long as we survive, I'd be so pleased. I think we will, but it'll be a tough slog.
Wigan 0 Stoke 0
ROB'S FINAL THOUGHT
I hear Erik Edman has left the club - when he played under Bruce, he showed a lot of promise - some time later, he showed that he had gone way beyond the quality needed in the Premier League. A shame, but I wish the lad well and hopefully, he can finish his career on a high. Good luck, Erik!
Date:Monday February 8 2010
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