Rob's Preview: Wigan V Man City
Wigan entertain Manchester City at the DW Stadium on Sunday afternoon in the hope of climbing the table, as will Manchester City be hoping for an away win to compound their quest to make an early surge for a top four finish.
That said, Manchester City do not have a good record at Wigan's DW Stadium and Manchester City suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Sunderland recently which suggests that they have not found the right medication for their travel sickness - astonishingly they have yet to score away from home and their results have been far from impressive.
Roberto Martinez has backed Mauro Boselli to find his shooting boots and I'm tipping him to open his account against Manchester City - he almost opened his account at Sunderland. However, he was unfortunate to see the ball surge past the post but his confidence, as Martinez has suggested, is slowly becoming more evident and he works hard at his game and I have faith that the reward will come from Mauro.
More good news for the Wigan faithful is that Emmanuel Adebayor might be out for this game and even if he wasn't, hasn't been the same player since he left Arsenal. He was decent last time he played at the DW but has become inconsistent since his move to Eastlands.
Wigan also welcomed the news that Charles N'Zogbia is staying at the club until next Summer and could be a massive weapon in the fight to avoid relegation, but I think that the club can make some progress this year and finish higher up the table. There is certainly the potential there, but the consistency is sadly lacking, something I think will improve, given time. Another good piece of news is Victor Moses is fit for the game against Manchester City.
Make no mistake, this is City's big test but I think they will come up against a stern test in Wigan Athletic and the team will more than match Manchester City as long as they put in an efficient performance - it depends on which 'Wigan' will play but I think that the team are capable of getting a result on Sunday as Manchester City are distinctly ordinary travellers.
I'm going to be Mr. Popular today and I am going to predict Wigan to earn a very hard fought draw against Manchester City with Mauro Boselli to open his account for the club. You can see his hunger and thirst and despite his poor start, is still good to see. For Manchester City, if they don't get the result they need, there could be an early sack penalty for Roberto Mancini.
Wigan 1 Man City 1
Stoke 0 West Ham 1 - Will be an away win for West Ham. Stoke's encouragement could suffer after their win over Villa and West Ham should take advantage.
Aston Villa 3 Bolton 0 - I think Aston Villa should win this comfortably - Bolton are suffering after their loss to Arsenal and won't be full of confidence.
Blackburn 1 Fulham 1 Fulham have become slightly better travellers yet haven't found the knack of winning away from home and Blackburn are good at home but Fulham remain resilient.
Everton 2 Newcastle 2 This could emulate the cracker of seasons past when Everton drew 2-2 at Goodison with Newcastle and I expect another thriller here.
Tottenham 1 Wolves 1 I think that things won't get easier for Harry Redknapp and Wolves have got better with time - a draw is in the offing at the Lane.
West Brom 0 Birmingham 1 West Brom got a good result last week against Tottenham but Birmingham are tricky customers and the home side's confidence could go the way of Stoke City and end in a loss. West Brom's main weakness will be at home and that will cost them, ultimately. As for Birmingham, well, things keep getting better for them and I expect them to collect an away win.
Sunderland 0 Arsenal 2 I really can't see why Sunderland are tipped to draw with Arsenal - I know they have done in the past but I think Arsenal will scent blood, especially with some crucial games in the top four this weekend. I think this time, Arsenal will prove too much for Sunderland, despite a spirited performance from the home side.
Man Utd 0 Liverpool 1 I think that Man Utd are in a little turmoil at the moment and the injury to Antonio Valencia and home draw to Rangers might affect them - I wish Antonio well. In regards to the game, I think that this could be a shock for Ferguson as Hodgson and Liverpool kick-start their season.
Chelsea 2 Blackpool 0 I think Blackpool could prove a sterner test for Chelsea than what some think but Chelsea are too strong for Blackpool. Then again, look what Hull did to Arsenal. I expect Blackpool to park the bus and go for a point, but nevertheless, I don't think this will be easy for Chelsea and after two wins away from home, there's no doubt they will be wary, especially with what's at stake, but they should win this. I think it will be an interesting game.
ROB'S FINAL THOUGHT
So a win for Wigan and Huddersfield Town will be the perfect weekend for father and son.
Finally, I hope that Antonio Valencia makes good progress with his injury. The latest is that he is and that's wonderful news and could be back within six months.
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