Arsenal vs. Wigan Athletic
May 14, 2013 at 7.45pm (UK)
Arsenal host Wigan Athletic at the Emirates today in what is to be the most important Premier league match in the season for both the teams. After Chelsea and Tottenham picked up 3 points in their respective games over the weekend, the pressure is right back at the Gunners and failing to pick up all three points could leave them sweating on the final day as they will have to wait for Spurs to lose points. Arsenal’s destiny for the Champions league spot is in their hands now and they will have to overcome the relegation battling FA cup winners Wigan to do that.
Wigan, who defeated Manchester City to lift their maiden FA Cup trophy will be heading into the game with all the confidence in the world knowing that only a victory could save them from relegation. The latics will have everything to play for and as their manager suggests, staying in the premier league will be best for the Club who will play in Europe next season, thanks to the FA Cup triumph.
“Wigan Athletic is an incredible story,” Martinez said. ”Paul (Jewell) started everything, getting the team promoted to the Premier League. Now it’s eight seasons and now we need to make sure the ninth season is round the corner, because we need to use European football in our favour.
“I mean, it doesn’t matter who the manager is, there’s a bigger picture than that.”
As it stands, the Gunners are at 5th place 2 points behind Spurs with 67 points with a game in hand. 6 points from the remaining two games could see them qualify for the Champions league no matter what Spurs do in their last game.
Team news and Injury news:
Arsenal expect the return of their injured goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski and full-back Kieran Gibbs back with the team but it still remains a doubt whether they will be included in the starting line-up. Striker Olivier Giroud will continue to serve his three match ban which leaves Podolski as the option to start up-front with the likes of Cazorla and Walcott in the wings.
Meanwhile for Wigan, McManaman will be the key man who can make like difficult for the Arsenal wingbacks who are a liability against pacey wingers. However, the fatigue levels of the players could also play a key part of the game as the Latics are physically and emotionally drained out due to the intensity of the cup final. Midfielder Jean Beausejour and defender Adrian Lopez are still a doubt for them which is a big loss and Martinez will have to find out a way to cope for that.
Possible starting lineups
Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Ramsey, Arteta, Rosicky; Walcott, Cazorla; Podolski
Wigan: Robles; Boyce, Scharner, Alcaraz; McArthur, McCarthy, Watson, Espinoza; McManaman, Kone, Maloney
Prediction: 2-1 win for the home side.
We leave you with the head to head stats between Arsenal and Wigan.