Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Saturday December 18 2010
Latics face Villa in a crunch game this afternoon whilst Latics boss Roberto Martinez faces a slight crisis as his squad is ravaged with injuries and suspensions.
Tom Cleverley, Franco Di Santo and Gary Caldwell are all racing to be fit, whilst Hendry Thomas and Maynor Figueroa will sit out the game as they serve one match suspensions.
Following last weeks creditable draw against Everton at Goodison Park the Latics are looking to make it three games undefeated and build a little run as they battle through this time of adversity. But with the DW Stadium suffering from heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures the biggest battle may be getting the game on.
Villa halted a terrible run of defeats by beating West Brom last time out and they will be hopeful building on that result, but with news that Ashley Young is out and suggestions of unrest in the camp it will be interesting to see if Houllier can get his side up for this one.
Fingers crossed that the game beats the weather and that the Latics beat the Villa
Latics boss Roberto Martinez:
'I don't think you can look too much into the recent performances of Aston Villa, and certainly not into the negative press they've received lately'
'What is clear is that Gerard Houllier is a Manager with huge experience and with any new project things are going to take time to get them just how you want them.
'When you look at the position Villa find themselves in it's not a realistic one and I've no doubt they'll be in the top-ten come the end of the season.
'They have players who'll demand concentration from our defence, players like Stewart Downing, Marc Albrighton. Ashley Young and as we all know Emile Heskey, all of whom bring a real goal threat.
'But for us we're playing at home and as always we'll look to take responsibility, continuing the good football we're playing at the moment.'
Villa assistant boss Gary McAllistar:
'We won't go there to defend and try and nick a point, we'll be going there to win. Wigan play an open game so it should be a good match.
'No disrespect to Wigan but it is not a footballing area. It is most definitely a rugby league area and Dave Whelan has done an amazing job to build that club to where it is.
'There has been big investment and all credit to the guy. They have done well to get to the Premier League.
'Roberto plays in a certain way. All the teams he's managed all try to get the ball down and pass it and it won't be any different against us. We're aware of that.'
Emmerson Boyce, James McCarthy and Victor Moses are definitly out injured, Hendry Thomas and Maynor Figueroa are both suspended, Franco Di Santo is highly doubtful, Gary Caldwell and Tom Cleverley will undergo fitness tests
Al-Habsi, Stam, Gohouri, Alcaraz, S. Caldwell, G. Caldwell, McArthur, Watson, Diame, N`Zogbia, Cleverley, Gomez, Rodallega, Boselli, Di Santo, Mustoe, McManaman, Pollitt, de Ridder
Latics prize asset
Asley Young, Luke Young, Petrov, Delph, Wiemann and Sidwell all injured, Dunne and Ireland look set to be left out of the starting line up
Friedel, Guzan, Lichaj, Beye, Warnock, Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Clark, Ireland, Bannan, Pires, Albrighton, Hogg, Herd, Downing, A Young, Reo-Coker, Carew, Agbonlahor, Delfouneso, Heskey.
Former Latics favourite
Latics and Villa have met 13 times previously
Latics have 4 wins, Villa 6, draws 3
Last Six Meetings
16/03/2010 - Premier League - Latics 1 Villa 2
15/08/2009 - Premier League - Villa 0 Latics 2
31/01/2009 - Premier League - Villa 0 Latics 0
26/10/2008 - Premier League - Latics 0 Villa 4
03/05/2008 - Premier League - Villa 0 Latics 2
29/12/2007 - Premier League - Latics 1 Villa 2
Jon Moss (Leeds)
Why not take a look at our excellent 'Meet the Ref' article
Jon Moss Card Watch 2010/11 Games - 18, yellows - 32, reds - 3
Head says 1-1 draw
Heart says 2-1 Latics win
As always going with the heart
Wolves v Latics
Latics v Arsenal
Date:Saturday December 18 2010
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