Wigan v Arsenal, Premier League, April 18, 2010
Both Wigan and Arsenal come into this match following hugely disappointing performances and results in midweek which summed up their respective seasons.
The Latics failed to beat an under-strength Portsmouth side as they continue to inch their way from the relegation zone in a display where they yet again failed to take their chances. Arsenal meanwhile lost the north London derby as their injury hit squad limp to the finish line after another season without the silverware Arsene Wenger promised. (Arsenal are 23.00 to win the league.)
Portsmouth made eight changes to the side that won the FA Cup semi-final but still Wigan could not score and the Latics look set to secure their Premier League status thanks to the likes of Pompey, Burnley and Hull. Roberto Martinezâ€™s side have scored just 14 goals at the DW Stadium this season with only Wolves having scored less at home. (Wigan are 6.50 to be relegated.)
Wigan have won just once in their last 16 games and although they are five points off the relegation zone and will surely stay up, Roberto Martinezâ€™s first season in the Premier League has been largely disappointing.
The dapper Spaniard will probably field a similar side to the one that faced Portsmouth. Relying on midfield invention from the likes of Mohamed Diame, James McCarthy and Charles Nâ€™Zogbia with Hugo Rodallega far and away their main goal threat. The Colombian striker has scored nine goals this season and could well be set for a summer move to a bigger club.
Besides Rodallega, Jason Scotland continued to misfire in front of goal against Portsmouth but Victor Moses has shown flashes of quality since moving from Crystal Palace. Arsenal were rumoured to be among the clubs linked to providing his exodus from Selhurst Park and he could well be fired up against the Gunners.
Depending on how results go on Saturday, Arsenal are expected to be battling for second for the remainder of the season. Arsene Wenger admitted in the aftermath of the defeat at Tottenham that his side â€œwill have to forget the title raceâ€ and besides Sol Campbell and Robin van Persie few players impressed at White Hart Lane.
The current Arsenal injury list is lengthy. Thomas Vermaelen joined Cesc Fabregas, William Gallas, Andrey Arshavin, Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Song who will all be missing for this match and the Gunners squad now looks a little thin.
Van Persieâ€™s impressive cameo means he will likely start at Wigan and Theo Walcott will also be hopeful of his inclusion in the starting line-up after his good form in recent weeks. Sol Campbell took many of the plaudits after an excellent defensive performance against his old club in midweek but he may not be able to play twice in four days leaving Mikel Silvestre as Arsenalâ€™s only available central defender.
Despite Arsenal likely having little to play for and their struggles of late against Barcelona and Spurs, they start as clear favourites in this match. They beat Wigan 4-0 in September and even though they are heavily depleted, the likes of Samir Nasri, Abou Diaby and Nicklas Bendtner usually excel against struggling sides. (Draw/Arsenal is at 4.17.)
Wigan have never beaten Arsenal in nine league games and it would be a major surprise if the Latics emerged victorious, even if they could all but secure Premier League survival with all three points.
101gg predicts: Wigan 0 â€“ Arsenal 3 (8.81)