Tottenham Hotspurs FC v Wigan Athletic FC
Where: White Hart Lane, Tottenham, London.
When: Saturday, 03 Nov 2012.
Time: 1500 hrs GMT.
Referee: Martin Atkinson.
The see-sawing and not so convincing team of Andre Villas Boas in terms of performance host the 15th placed Wigan who are desperate to get some points on the board. The match is important for both the teams for many reasons. Spurs would want to stamp their authority on the EPL table by putting more pressure on the defending Champions City for the 3rd place while they will want to stay clear of Everton & their London rivals Arsenal. As for Wigan, a victory at white hart lane would take some pressure off them and start climbing up the ladder on what has been a dismal start to the season so far.
Manager – Andre Villas Boas
After what was a dismal start to the season and just when the ship was sinking on AVB & his tactics, spurs produced one of the most attacking displays seen for a long time at Old Trafford to get their campaign running. They have never looked back after that win. Scintillating is the word that suits them on the current form for they have got one of the best attacking teams in EPL currently having scored 17 times in 9 matches. On paper they have got the best line up with so much pace on the wings in Bale & Lennon & a squad that has quality in the midfield. But they have conceded 13 times as well, indicating they do have problems at the back especially with the aging Gallas who was responsible for the loss against Chelsea.With six goals in his last four appearances against Wigan, Defoe will be the man to look out for
Bale, Lennon, Defoe are the men to watch for Spurs as these three have caused immense problems to every defense that has come in their path. If only AVB could re-integrate Dawson who was brilliant last season under Redknapp for the aging Gallas, Spurs could be strong at the back as well. Also its high time Lloris is given more opportunities in EPL to gain experience as AVB is building the team for the future.
In all competitions (last 2 months): 6W 4D 2L
In EPL (last 5 matches): WWWWLW
Mousa Dembele is unavailable due to a niggling hip injury. Striker Emmanuel Adebayor is in contention after recovering from illness and a back injury, but midfielder Jake Livermore is a doubt after suffering an ankle injury in Wednesday’s defeat to Norwich. Long-term absentees Scott Parker (Achilles), Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Younes Kaboul (both knee) remain sidelined.
Possible Formation: 4-2-3-1
Wigan Athletic FC
Manager – Roberto Martinez
Despite having a swinging range of fixtures in terms of opposition toughness, many would have felt that they should have beat Swansea being at home. This just tells us how their season has fared till now. With another tough fixture against Spurs, at the most the Latics should go in to the match aiming for a draw, anything less than that would prove to be another step backward in the season. The latics boss feels that they have learnt a lot from their last two games where they have won & lost. “There are lessons to take from our last two away games against Sunderland and Swansea City, aspects of our game that need to improve if we are to get a positive result on the road”. And he demands for the consistency that has been missing, “Now is the time to bring consistency in performances and results which is where our focus is right now.”
Arouna Kone, Franco Di Santo and Mauro Boselli would be Wigan’s main threat going forward as they have scored thrice each in the league so far. Their Midfield has some very good players in Jordi Gomez & Ivan Ramis, who have worked hard throughout the season. If they could contain the Spurs midfield & link up the play with their strikers, Wigan could pull off a surprise here. The latics fans would hope that Figueroa & Gary Caldwell could contain the threat in Defoe to get any positive result from white hart lane.
In all competitions (last 2 months): 2W 3D 4L
In EPL (last 6 matches): LLLDLW
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez expects to again be without winger Ryo Miyaichi, who has missed the last three games with a groin problem and, although Martinez has not yet ruled him out, it is highly unlikely he will be fit. Also on the sidelines are defender Antolin Alcaraz and winger Albert Crusat, who are still out with groin and knee problems, respectively.
Possible Formation: 3-4-3
With just 2 losses in the last 12 matches in the last 2 months, Spurs would be the favorites to take the three points and move ahead with solidity in the table. But their inability to win big by putting matches beyond their opponents reach will be a reason to worry as they have been winning by a narrow margin. While Wigan’s current form is a worrying factor for them, they are quite capable of pulling surprises out of the bag. Wigan could take inspiration from the statistics that they just have a 50% losing streak in their previous encounters with Spurs and take the game to AVB’s flying squad. We could be in for a real treat & uncertainty at London. I would still predict a 3-1 victory for Spurs.