Date:Saturday January 15 2011
Mark Hughes' Fulham have seen a reversal in fortunes of late, having beaten Peterborough emphatically in the cup and also having picked up a decent away win at Stoke and a massive win over West Brom at the Hawthorns.
Many fans vented their frustration at Mark Hughes' appointment at Craven Cottage, but surely and slowly, Hughes believes the bad streak is over and that the Cottagers are on the up. However, Fulham have not won at the DW Stadium in several years.
That said, history has a habit of being rewritten at times and Fulham's record has to change at the DW at some point. Wigan and Fulham both need to pick up points in order to claw away from the relegation zone and this, I would say, is an important game but not vital to our chances as we still have many games left where we play teams in and around us and the one I've targeted more important than any other is Birmingham.
Wigan have had a mixed bag of late, with a stunning win at Wolverhampton, considering they beat Chelsea. Some might say that Chelsea were poor but they're only as good as they play and Wolves deserve respect for their magnificent wins over Liverpool and also Chelsea.
Then, Wigan had a poor result against Newcastle which disappointed manager, team and fans alike, but the players were desperate to see that poor result right and went to Bolton full of confidence but found themselves behind to a Rodrigo goal before Ronnie Stam ghosted in from an excellent Steve Gohouri cross and converted past Jussi Jaaskalainen.
Worrying for Wigan though is that they have won just two games at the DW Stadium and their greatest threat in this game could well be Clint Dempsey, whose scored against Wigan in five of the last six games, so he'll need some watching.
Good news though is that Charles N'Zogbia returns from a suspension for a clumsy tackle on Jack Wilshere, though there was a hint of controversy about the incident in the first place in Wigan's 2-2 draw over Arsenal. Other players are close to returning and there's a possibility that Emmerson Boyce may play today.
The human body has only so many nerves - and most of mine have been frayed by excitement and disappointment where football is concerned and today is no different. Fulham have not won at Wigan for years but never give a poor account of themselves and I see Fulham getting something today and I think a draw is a sensible prediction, though this match could swing any way in fairness. As long as we don't lose, it'll be ok, but if we do, there's still hope.
Wigan 1-1 Fulham
ROB'S OTHER PREDICTIONS
Chelsea V Blackburn - I see Blackburn scoring first and Chelsea coming back to win in a hard fought battle. Blackburn will want revenge for their 5-0 drubbing of late as well at the bridge. 2-1
Man City V Wolves - Wolves have had some terrific results of late, which will give them a lot of hope for staying up this year. However, Mancini's Manchester City are a devilishly potent outfit but have been known to have a soft spot. I see an emphatic win here. 4-0
Stoke City V Bolton - Stoke are a very impressive football team and Bolton have blossomed under Owen Coyle. There won't be much to separate the teams but I see Stoke perhaps winning this by the narrowest of margins. 1-0
West Brom V Blackpool - Blackpool have had a great season and the same looked likely for West Brom at a time but their form has withered of late and its worrying for Roberto Di Matteo as his side could get sucked into a relegation battle - he needs to win this game. I see a draw. 1-1
West Ham V Arsenal - Cue a famous West Ham victory at Upton Park because that's what I see. Arsenal were disheartened by their loss at Ipswich, but Ipswich were superb and Arsenal were a team who didn't frankly deserve to wear the shirt, considering their calibre, no disrespect to Ipswich. I think Arsenal will have been caught out cold and West Ham could catch them out once again. 1-0
Birmingham V Aston Villa - Birmingham need to beat Aston Villa to move away from trouble - but history isn't on their side as Aston Villa have a great record at St. Andrews and they themselves need to move away from danger. It'll be a tight affair, but Birmingham don't lose too many at home, just two losses all season. I see a battling draw. 2-2
Sunderland V Newcastle - I'm looking forward to seeing what Steve Bruce has got in store for the intercom after the game as he promised he would do something special if his side beat Newcastle, but Newcastle have a decent record on the road and having recently and it pains me to say, having beaten Wigan, they'll be full of confidence for this one. The double over Sunderland would be sweet for Alan Pardew. I think that it'll be an away victory for Newcastle despite Sunderland's home record. 0-1
Liverpool V Everton - Everton go to Anfield at the wrong time of the season as Liverpool suffered a defeat to Blackpool and Liverpool really need to fix their poor form and fast if they are to have any chance of making Europe or indeed the top four - its not impossible to do that but it is unlikely. Europe is not however but they need to get their act together and I think they will against Everton, albeit a very tense game with the odd red card thrown in for good measure. 1-0
Tottenham V Man Utd - Who is going to end Manchester United's unbeaten run? I don't think that Tottenham will. Tottenham have been beaten in the league just once this season and it sweetens me to say that team was us who got our revenge on them for last year's atrocity. Man Utd will be too tough for Tottenham to get a result over. However, I think that they could draw. It promises to be a good match, though. 1-1
ROB'S FINAL THOUGHT
Wins for Huddersfield and Wigan please and also £100,000 on the super six would be good.
Date:Saturday January 15 2011
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|15. Aston Villa||38||10||11||17||-22||41|
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