Can lightning strike twice?
Having recorded the best home record of the 2009-10 Premier League season, the visitors travel to White Hart Lane in the knowledge that they’ll be hard pushed to return north with a result; but for Wigan Atheltic, even a defeat to Tottenham could prove to be an improvement on last season’s capitulation.
The Latics shipped a whopping nine goals on their last visit to Tottenham, in match where Jermain Defoe bagged five in one of the biggest ever league victories. And on current form, Roberto Martinez’ side will be fearing the worst ahead of Saturday’s clash.
Spurs overturned a 3-2 away defeat to Young Boys with a convincing 4-0 rampage at the Lane on Wednesday to progress to the group stages of the Champions League, a result which followed an impressive 2-1 away victory away to Stoke City.
Wigan on the other hand shipped six at home to reigning champions Chelsea at the weekend; a result which followed a shuddering 4-0 home defeat to newly promoted Blackpool.
All in all, conceding ten goals in two games without reply is bad enough, but having seen the manner in which Spurs tore into big-spending Manchester City in the first 45 minutes on the opening day of the season, the primary concern for Martinez will be whether his side can withstand similar pressure.
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A statement used to quell the hyped expectations of early season form, and a crutch for those dwindling near the bottom. But nonetheless, the manner of Wigan’s defeats thus far this season are a real cause for concern for the Latics boss.
However, in Dave Whelan, Martinez has a grounded chairman; one who is seemingly reluctant to kick the stool from under his manager’s feet after just two matches. Afterall, the Latics almost shocked Chelsea in 2005 in their first match in the Premier League, with only a stoppage time Hernan Crespo strike enough to separate the sides.
Nevertheless, a run of such disastrous magnitude can only be ignored for so long; and having funded his club’s rise to the top-flight of English football, the Wigan chairman is unlikely to just sit back and watch his side free-fall back to the Championship.
A win may be out of the question, a point may be a tough ask, but a spirited performance would go a long way to halting Wigan’s demise.
Death by Defoe | Spurs destroyed the Latics in ten-goal thriller last season
Having completed ninety minutes on Wednesday, Ledley King is unlikely to feature on Saturday, William Gallas could be handed his first run-out; although Sebastien Bassong is the most likely man to deputise.
Croatian playmaker Luka Modric is still sidelined with a hamstring injury, while last season’s hero Defoe, who was seemingly set for surgery, could well feature. However, Heurelho Gomes may well be rested after coming off in the victory over Young Boys.
Possible Starting XI: Cudicini; Corluka, Dawson, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Huddlestone; Palacios, Bale, Crouch; Keane.
Martinez will be without two first-team players for Saturday, and worryingly, both are from his defensive contingent.
Honduran full back Maynor Figueroa is sidelined for the foreseeable future with a knee injury, while Scotland international Gary Caldwell will also miss out with a thigh problem.
Possible Starting XI: Kirkland; Stam, Gohouri, Alcaraz, Boyce; McCarthy, Thomas; Diame, N’Zogbia, Boselli; Rodallega.
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