Arsenal v Wigan Preview, Team News, Likely Line-Ups & Predicted Score
Arsenal welcome Wigan Athletic to the Emirates tonight for a vital clash at both the top and bottom of the Premier League table. Here’s a preview for the game.
Arsenal welcome Wigan Athletic to the Emirates tonight for a vital clash at both the top and bottom of the Premier League table.
We head into the game sitting fifth after Tottenham’s late win over Stoke on Sunday and only victory will see us climb back above our rivals into that all-important fourth spot with Spurs currently holding a two-point advantage.
However, it’s in our own hands. The task for Arsenal is simple; beat Wigan and Newcastle and we finish in the top four. With Spurs entertaining Sunderland on the final day, anything less than six points from our final two games and I fear we’ll finish fifth.
But first things first and that’s trying to overcome a Wigan Athletic side who come into the match on a high after beating Manchester City 1-0 in the FA Cup final on Saturday. It’s difficult to predict how the cup final win will affect their players tonight. No doubt the game will have been an energy-sapping affair, both physically and mentally, but the confidence of lifting the FA Cup may well counteract any tired legs.
The visitors are also desperate for a win as anything less than three points at the Emirates will all but see them relegated to the Championship. Mathematically a draw could still see them safe, but they’d have to overturn a huge goal-deficit to Sunderland on the final day, which is highly unlikely.
So Wigan are going to have to come and have a go, which should hopefully lead to an open and entertaining game and that could play right into our hands, as our superior quality should be able to exploit the gaps more effectively.
Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski is back in the squad after overcoming a rib injury thats kept him out for the last four games, but Wojciech Szczesny is expected to retain his place after only conceding once since returning to the side.
Kieran Gibbs is also back in contention after recovering from a hip complaint and I’d expect him to come in and replace Nacho Monreal at left-back. The Spaniard had a tough time against QPR 10 days ago and Gibby’s pace down the flank could be important tonight.
Striker Olivier Giroud completes his three-game ban so Lukas Podolski may get another chance up front. The German has failed to impress in his last two games through the middle but hopefully he can find his feet this evening.
Jack Wilshere is set to have a ‘small’ operation to remove a pin in his troublesome right ankle at the end of the season and is only going to be called upon if required over the last two games. So expect him to be on the bench and only introduced if things aren’t going well.
While I’d prefer to see Santi Cazorla play in the middle behind the striker, I think we’ll see Arsene Wenger stick with him on the left and Rosicky in the centre and Theo Walcott on the right.
Roberto Martinez is expected to keep faith with the majority of the side that won the Cup final. The only possible change could see match-winner Ben Watson start ahead of Jordi Gomez.
Midfielder Jean Beausejour and defender Adrian Lopez are both also pushing for recalls though and Martinez may opt to make a few more changes to freshen things up.
The outcome of the game could be decided by how Wigan react to the cup final. Arsenal have had 10 days off since beating QPR while Wigan played Swansea last Tuesday night followed by the gruelling game at Wembley on Saturday evening, so there is no doubt we should be the fresher of the two teams. Hopefully this should be enough to see us win this one. Arsenal 2-0 Wigan
What would be your starting eleven for the game and what’s your score prediction? Get involved in the comments section below.
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