Date:Saturday February 26 2011
Wigan Athletic, having gained an impressive 1-1 draw in their last game at Liverpool, now face a mountain to climb when they host Manchester United at the DW Stadium. The Latics have never gained as much as a single point against Sir Alex Ferguson's men and despite the fact they've played in mid week, very little can stand in the way of Sir Alex Ferguson's title hopefuls, their loss at Wolverhampton Wanderers aside.
Sir Alex Ferguson's men now have the momentum behind them to win the title and should they win at Chelsea during the week, the title will almost be guaranteed to be theirs but first, they need to take on the Latics and be assured of all three points. I think that it will be too much of an ask for Roberto Martinez and his team to get a result here, though a result would leave me feeling on top of the world. Its just too much to ask, I think.
Nevertheless, Roberto Martinez has managed to spring some unexpected surprises on the top flight top four managers in the past, having secured memorable wins over Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal. Also, Roberto has managed to acquire some good draws over Liverpool (twice) and also Arsenal. He needs to get that bandwagon going again today so that Wigan have a chance of bearing Manchester United.
Worryingly, Wigan have scored just once in their last seven fixtures against Manchester United and that was courtesy of a Hugo Rodallega goal in their 1-2 home defeat when Steve Bruce was in charge. We almost got our first point then had it not been for a late Michael Carrick strike. It seamt at that time that we were the tool for Manchester United winning the title. Thankfully that won't be the case this time but I do think United will win the title.
I do think that Wigan will give it their all because its a big occasion with Manchester United coming to town and they'll want to produce a performance good enough to try and get something out of the game. Manchester United know they'll have to watch the tricky Hugo Rodallega and Charles N'Zogbia and if he plays, the clash between Nemanja Vidic and Hugo Rodallega will be very intriguing as there's been past history between these two players.
Wigan need the points to be assured of staying up and Manchester United need the points to move a mammoth number of points away from their nearest rivals - surely at this stage that can't happen otherwise the title contest is over. However, that's not to say it won't happen. One thing is for certain - this game will not decide the season for Wigan and their horror run has already produced one creditable result at Anfield - can the same be done here?
This is a difficult one to call because as many are expecting Manchester United to beat us fairly comfortably, I just have a feeling, albeit a very small feeling, that this might not be as straightforward for Sir Alex Ferguson's team as one might expect. I know we haven't scored against Sir Alex Ferguson's team for a good while, but I do think Manchester United may find themselves in a tight battle.
Wigan 1 Manchester United 2
ROB'S OTHER PREDICTIONS
Aston Villa Vs Blackburn - Blackburn's poor away form, their last being a great 4-3 win for Wigan at the DW Stadium, means that I think Blackburn will fall by the wayside in this one. I do think it won't be easy for Aston Villa. Aston Villa 2-1 Blackburn
Everton Vs Sunderland - Everton are a bit of an enigma this season - they've been poor by their standards and I think that Steve Bruce's team will be beaten only marginally.
Everton 1-0 Sunderland
Newcastle Vs Bolton - Bolton got a good 2-0 victory over Everton and are having a decent cup run - to win at Wigan and Fulham which aren't easy places to go must be of a very pleasing nature to Coyle. Bolton have a spring in their step now and I think they will leave St. James' Park with a point.
Newcastle 1-1 Bolton
Wolves Vs Blackpool - How MASSIVE is this game? Blackpool thwarted Tottenham at Bloomfield Road - Wolves will be aware of this but they're not showing a great deal for me at the moment. I know Adam is absent and all, but I still think they'll come away with the points in a crucial relegation clash. If Wolves lose this...
Wolves 0-1 Blackpool
West Ham Vs Liverpool - Liverpool haven't been great away from home and West Ham have become more desperate to acquire points. I think this will be a tight encounter and that it will end in a draw.
West Ham 1-1 Liverpool
Man City Vs Fulham - This won't be tight - it will be a glut of goals from Man City here - their 5-0 demolition of Notts County will not inspire Fulham. I see a very comfortable victory for Roberto Mancini's team.
Man City 3-0 Fulham
Stoke City Vs West Brom - West Brom need to leave the Britannia with a victory - of course I don't think they probably will. However, with Roy in charge now, they're going to give it all they've got. Its a tough one to call this actually, but I think Stoke might just win this game.
Stoke 2-1 West Brom
Chelsea Vs Man Utd - If Man Utd win at Wigan, the title is all but theirs. However if there's a shock, there's all to play for at Stamford Bridge. This is a massive game for Chelsea and one I think they'll win - they need to.
Chelsea 1-0 Man Utd
ROB'S FINAL THOUGHT
Wins for Wigan and Huddersfield will do me - Come on Wigan and come on Terriers!!!!
Date:Saturday February 26 2011
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