Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Wednesday December 29 2010
Latics face Arsenal tonight with both clubs fresh from excellent victories against rivals at their respective ends of the Premier League
Roberto Martinez welcomes back both Maynor Figueroa and Hendry Thomas from suspension whilst Arsene Wenger loses Cesc Fabregas to a one match ban.
Looking back at the last game it could be argued that the Latics victory over Wolves was far more significant than Arsenals beating of Chelsea.
We could have been coming into this game rock bottom of the pile and low on confidence but with the three points gained at Molineux it not only lifted the club out of the bottom three (albeit temporarily), but also showed the Latics to be a much better side than their one dimensional opponents.
With confidence high Martinez will be encouraging his side to pull out a result similar to the 3-2 win in last seasons corresponding fixture, a stunning Charles N`Zogbia last minute goal on that day gave the Latics three points and Premier League survival.
Wenger has stressed to his players, if they do have title aspirations then, it`s no good beating Chelsea only to lose to Wigan, so we can expect an exciting game with both sides looking for the win.
Whatever happens tonight seasons aren`t decided in December, but it would be great to go into the New Year with a fantastic win and a jump up to 15th in the table, here`s hoping.
Latics boss Roberto Martinez:
'The game against Chelsea shows the kind of form Arsenal are in at the moment
'I'm sure they have many players who were ready to play against Chelsea and are used to playing a lot of games in a short space of time.
'They know how to deal with these situations and so I don't think it'll have too big a say on the game.
'Right now they are reaching their peak and we'll have to be at our best to compete with that, but in a period that is full of fixtures in a short space of time we're looking at the game as an ideal opportunity to continue our own form and put more points on the board.'
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger:
'The win over Chelsea keeps us in touch with the top teams, and also what is very important as well is that it can strengthen the belief we will have our say in this championship
'The most consistent team will make it in the end, and that is what is at stake. Let's see if we can turn up with a fantastic performance now on Wednesday night.'
Maynor Figueroa and Hendry Thomas return from suspension but James McCarthy, Victor Moses, Emmerson Boyce and Franco Di Santo are all still out
Al-Habsi, Gohouri, G. Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Thomas, Diame, Watson, Cleverley, N'Zogbia, Rodallega
Sat just in front of the back four, Thomas will be pivotal to Latics success against the Arsenal midfield
Courtesy of Bernard Platt/Wigan Athletic
Fabregas suspended, Wenger sure to make changes for Arsenals 2nd game in 48 hours
Fabianski, Sagna, Koscielny, Djourou, Clichy, Song, Wilshere, Walcott, van Persie, Nasri, Szczesny, Diaby, Rosicky, Squillaci, Arshavin, Chamakh, Bendtner.
Expect the youngster to start tonight and his pace will test Latics back four
Latics and Arsenal have met 14 times previously
Latics 2 wins, Arsenal 11, draws 1
Last Six Meetings
30/11/2010 - Carling Cup - Arsenal 2 Latics 0
18/04/2010 - Premier League - Latics 3 Arsenal 2
19/09/2009 - Premier League - Arsenal 3 Latics 0
11/04/2009 - Premier League - Latics 1 Arsenal 4
06/12/2008 - Premier League - Arsenal 1 Latics 0
11/11/2008 - Carling Cup - Arsenal 3 Latics 0
Lee Probert (Gloucestershire)
Why not take a look at our excellent 'Meet the Ref' article
Lee Probert Card Watch 2010/11
Games - 15, yellow`s - 46, red`s - 4
I'm going for a 1-1 draw, but hoping that we can snatch a victory
Latics v Newcastle United
Bolton v Latics
Date:Wednesday December 29 2010
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