Premier League Betting: Wigan v Arsenal - Fan v Fan Preview



Wigan perspective: Paul Farrington, Wiganer.

Team news

It’s crisis point at the moment in the DW Stadium physio room, particularly when you look at our defence. We’re missing no fewer than four first choice centre backs in Gary Caldwell, Ivan Ramis, Antolin Alcaraz, and Adrian Lopez. In their absence, full backs Figueroa and Emmerson Boyce are likely to team up with midfielder Dave Jones at the heart of our defence. It also looks like we’re going to be without influential midfielder James McCarthy due to an ankle injury picked up at Norwich last weekend.

Form

Not good. Despite all the early season promise following our barnstorming end to last season, we’ve spluttered through the first half of the campaign and are slowly grinding to a halt. Looking at the league table is an unpleasant experience at the moment; we have slid into the bottom three with little sign of a return to form.

Head-to-head

Our games with Arsenal are usually interesting affairs for a variety of reasons. Back in our inaugural season in the top flight we managed to get past the Gunners to reach the Carling Cup Final, and we were the opponents for Arsenal in the last ever game at Highbury. Another notable contest was the victory for Arsenal at the DW Stadium in the same season, when Thierry Henry stunned the home crowd with a perfect free-kick. Thankfully Henry has long since left and with the Van Persie hangover seemingly ongoing, the Latics are hopeful of a result.

Best bets

Over 3.5 goals at 2.50. Both ourselves and Arsenal like to play open and expansive football. Hopefully we’ll manage to come out on the right side of a large scoreline on Saturday.

Maynor Figueroa to score first at 42.00. He loves to score the spectacular goals, especially for the television cameras. ‘Figgy’ is always worth a punt.

Both teams to score at 1.60. With our makeshift defence we will struggle to keep the Gunners out. At the same time I always fancy us to put up a good fight and manage a goal of our own.

Score prediction: Wigan 1-3 Arsenal (11.00)

Predicted side


Arsenal perspective
: James McNicholas, Gunnerblog.

Team news

After Arsenal's impressive 5-2 win over Reading, I suspect Arsene Wenger will opt to to keep the same team.  Traditionally, managers like to rotate over the Christmas period, but the cancellation of our Boxing Day fixture against West Ham gives Arsene Wenger license to select the same players who served him well at the Madejski. That means Theo Walcott is likely to continue through the middle, with Olivier Giroud on the bench.

Form

Concerns over our patchy form have been alleviated by our five goal haul against the Royals, but it's worth remembering there was a worrying ten minutes when a four-goal advantage has halved and familiar jitters began to creep in. Wigan will have noted that and will be keen to get at Arsenal whenever they can.

Head-to-head

This fixture has produced some classics - most notably the 3-2 victory for Wigan in 2010, when Arsenal crumbled in the final few minutes. In this game last season, Arsenal hammered Wigan 4-0, but Wigan emerged victorious in the reverse fixture - an upset that helped spare them from relegation.

Best bets

Theo Walcott to score first at 7.50. Considering the likelihood he'll play through the middle, these are very attractive odds indeed for Arsenal's top scorer.

Over 3.5 goals at 2.50. Wigan and Arsenal are both attractive, attacking teams with occasionally error-prone defences. Goals are never guaranteed, but I think we'll see plenty at the JJB.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to score at 4.0. The young winger spoke after the Reading game of his frustration at not getting on the scoresheet. He's yet to score a league goal this season, but I fancy him to get off the mark on Saturday.

Score prediction: Wigan 1-3 Arsenal (11.00)

Predicted side