Date:Thursday February 3 2011
Unfortunately, Wednesday night was not a good night for Wigan Athletic, with West Ham and Birmingham City picking up decent results. On the plus side, Wolverhampton Wanderers went down 1-0 to Bolton Wanderers in injury time, thanks to a Daniel Sturridge strike.
On Tuesday night, Wigan Athletic managed a good draw with West Bromwich Albion, which could be a disastrous result for the home side. Some have been saying its a good result for them but you need to win your home games. A point away from home is always a good point.
Now, Wigan Athletic are in one of their most difficult positions of the season yet a great opportunity awaits on Saturday afternoon and three points against Blackburn will make things look rosier than they have been of late for the home side, yet the home side boast the joint worst home record in the division but that has to change at some point.
Going into this game, Wigan are without the influential Gary Caldwell. On his day, he is a rock but on other days, he makes questionable mistakes. His absence means that Emmerson Boyce could deputise at Centre Back alongside either Steven Caldwell, Adrian Lopez or, if he's fit, Antolin Alcaraz.
Also, Maynor Figueroa may be an absentee which means Steve Gohouri may deputise at Left Back as he is generally questionable at Centre Back. I see a possible back four of Ronnie Stam, Emmerson Boyce, Steven Caldwell and Steve Gohouri, though I hope Alcaraz is fit by then.
We need to start with Victor Moses and Charles N'Zogbia and a midfield of Mohamed Diame and James McCarthy and up front, start with Hugo Rodallega and Franco Di Santo. Ease Conor Sammon in gently. I can see Sammon on the substitutes bench for this game.
As for Blackburn, their away form is very much a mixed bag though they have had some good results on the road so we will need to be careful as Blackburn have been picking up some good results of late.
Nevertheless, this is a game in which Wigan Athletic cannot afford to lose under any circumstances.
This is going to be a very difficult game to predict. Wigan so badly need to win the game and its a derby as well so that doesn't make things much easier. Wigan I hope will give this game their all as they tried hard to do on Tuesday night. I think that this weekend, Wigan could get that rare home win with the home side digging deep to grind out those elusive three points in what has been a difficult campaign for the home side.
Wigan 1-0 Blackburn
ROB'S OTHER PREDICTIONS
Stoke City Vs Sunderland - Stoke City are a good side under Tony Pulis but Sunderland are also a good side as well. Pulis' side have been a shade hit and miss this year but I think they'll get a win against Sunderland today.
Stoke 1-0 Sunderland
Aston Villa Vs Fulham - Fulham are a resilient side under Mark Hughes and I see Aston Villa being stretched to the very limit by Fulham. I see few goals in this encounter as Fulham are a good, defensive outfit.
Aston Villa 1-1 Fulham
Everton Vs Blackpool - Blackpool are having a slight wobble in form - their last two home games are evidence of this. They need to return to winning ways but once panic sets in, things begin to happen. Still, I can't see the Tangerines going down, nor would they deserve to. I do see Everton edging a tough encounter.
Everton 2-1 Blackpool
Man City Vs West Brom - After a somewhat confidence boosting point against Wigan, the last thing West Brom would want to do is face Manchester City at home. I only see one outcome in this game and could add to the Baggies' woes.
Manchester City 4-0 West Brom
Newcastle Vs Arsenal - Newcastle lost Andy Carroll this window and without a competent striker to replace him, they might find themselves a shade lightweight in attack. Arsenal on the other hand are in great form and I only see one outcome at St. James' Park.
Newcastle 0-3 Arsenal
Tottenham Vs Bolton - Bolton are a better side this year under Owen Coyle but White Hart Lane has only fallen victim to one defeat this year at home and that was to Wigan Athletic. Therefore, I cannot see Bolton getting much joy out of this encounter.
Tottenham 2-0 Bolton
Wolves Vs Man Utd - Wolves are very much up against a race to stay in this league but suffered a detrimental defeat to Bolton on Wednesday night. To score in injury time is a cruel blow and to face Manchester United next is now what Mick McCarthy wanted. Wolves have beaten Manchester United before which was at the time a shock result but I see no such thing happening at Molineux on the weekend. A comfortable win beckons for Sir Alex Ferguson's team.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-3 Manchester United
West Ham Vs Birmingham - This game may make or break either team's season in the Premier League. West Ham win and they can virtually tell themselves survival is indeed possible. If they lose, its another devastating blow. If Birmingham win, they can see the same light as West Ham but if they lose, it could be a bitter blow for the Midlands club. This is a time where both clubs need to be careful but I see a narrow home win for West Ham.
West Ham 1-0 Birmingham
Chelsea Vs Liverpool - The most interesting game of the weekend, by far. The reception for Fernando Torres will be interesting. I think it could be rather hostile but nevertheless, Chelsea must win this game to keep in touch with league leaders Manchester United. I think Chelsea will win this game but it will be a hard match. On a side note, watch Torres score.
Chelsea 2-0 Liverpool
ROB'S FINAL THOUGHT
Wins for Wigan and Huddersfield will be the toast of the weekend.
Date:Thursday February 3 2011
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