Date:Saturday January 22 2011
After a disappointing point against Fulham, Wigan travel to the Emirates Stadium, embarking upon 'Mission Impossible,' attempting to return from this ground with three points, but that's a tall order since Wigan have never walked away with as much as one from this stadium and goals from Wigan at this ground have been non-existent.
That said, Arsenal have not dealt Wigan too many heavy defeats here and Wigan almost did get a point at this ground when Steve Bruce was instilled as the new manager and the Latics' hearts were broken when two late goals settled the contest.
Wigan's record at this ground, I do believe will change one day. It doesn't have to, but I think it will but that day won't be today - it hurts me to say this but Arsenal have just far too much quality to worry about what Wigan might have to offer - however Arsene will be wary as they have slipped up two of the last three times these teams have met.
Hugo Rodallega and Charles N'Zogbia will be eager to show what they can do and it should make for an interesting, but not necessarily high scoring game. If Fabianski is in goal, Wigan will have a chance to get something as he is notable for his errors but in fairness he has done better of late.
One thing which might work in the favour of Wigan Athletic is that Wigan are refreshed and Arsenal came out of a difficult encounter with Leeds this week. Some might question me for saying it was difficult, but football games, no matter how glossy the final result, still remain difficult.
Hopefully Wigan can go to the Emirates and give it their all - as long as they do that and leave the Emirates with a sense of pride, I will be a happy man.
NEVER SAY NEVER!
Wigan have a poor record against Arsenal at their ground and even though of late Arsenal have found Wigan at the DW Stadium and before that the JJB Stadium a challenge, this is an entirely different proposition. I expect a home win for Arsenal today, but this game won't make or break out season and we're heading into silly season as there's going to be what some might class as surprise results occurring.
Arsenal 2-0 Wigan Athletic
ROB'S OTHER PREDICTIONS
Aston Villa Vs Man City - I think Man City will provide stern opposition to Aston Villa and I think it could be quite an emphatic scoreline at Villa Park for the visitors. Villa just don't have the players to match City all over the pitch.
Aston Villa 1-3 Manchester City
Manchester United Vs Birmingham - Can you see Birmingham stopping Manchester United's unbeaten record? No, I can't either. The Red Devils are unbeaten all season and I see an emphatic win for Alex Ferguson's side today.
Manchester United 3-0 Birmingham
Blackburn Vs West Brom - West Brom had a morale boosting win over Blackpool recently but I don't see them getting anything at Ewood Park, but I expect a low scoring affair as it will be tough though for Blackburn.
Blackburn 1-0 West Brom
Blackpool Vs Sunderland - This is tricky and with the departure of Darren Bent, will it have affected the squad? It might not be a good time to be playing Blackpool and I see a home win, albeit only just.
Blackpool 1-0 Sunderland
Bolton Vs Chelsea - When your European aspirations are at stake, the last thing you want to be doing is playing Chelsea but Chelsea will know the only team to beat Bolton at the Reebok this season surprisingly are Liverpool, which seems a far cry from seasons ago when Liverpool were in the top four and during one season, almost won the title. Chelsea will be a stern test for Bolton and I think they will be the second side to leave the Reebok with all three points.
Bolton 0-1 Chelsea
Everton Vs West Ham - Everton's record at home over West Ham hasn't been that good in seasons past and Grant will see this as an opportunity to get some more points on the board - Everton have been shaky at home this season and Grant will want to take full advantage of that. Here, I see a draw.
Everton 2-2 West Ham
Fulham Vs Stoke - Fulham are heading in the right direction after a lucky point at the DW Stadium. Stoke are a resilient side under Tony Pulis and Stoke have signed Carew. They've more goal potency now and are difficult to beat. I'm going to go for a Stoke away win.
Fulham 0-1 Stoke
Wolves Vs Liverpool - Can Wolves do the double over Liverpool? I don't think they're that good. True they won at Anfield and also at home against Chelsea and came within a whisker of a point at Eastlands but I think Liverpool know they need to perform and get a result here. However they are poor on their travels so the result here is a draw.
Wolves 0-0 Liverpool
Newcastle Vs Tottenham - Tottenham are so-so travellers in the league though they do have a tendency to leak goals. Every now and again, Newcastle dish out a hammering to some poor, unsuspecting team. just ask Aston Villa and Sunderland, but I don't see that against Spurs. This is a difficult one to predict but I'm going for the narrowest of home wins.
Newcastle 1-0 Tottenham
ROB'S FINAL THOUGHTS
A win at the Emirates (no the alarm clock hasn't gone yet!) and a win for Huddersfield would be the perfect Saturday. Even if Wigan cannot get a result at Arsenal, they have a chance to put it right in their home game against Aston Villa. After that, its a dose of the FA Cup where Wigan travel to Bolton. Lets hope we can go one better than our most recent visit with Rodallega getting the winner!
Date:Saturday January 22 2011
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