Wigan - Arsenal Preview: Second win on the trot could see Gunners jump into third
Arsene Wenger's side could leapfrog Chelsea if results go their way over the weekend, while the injury-hit Latics need at least a point to move out of the relegation zone
By Husmukh Kerai
Boyce, Caldwell, Figueroa,
Stam, McCarthy, McCarthur, Beausejour
Gomez, Kone, Di Santo
Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs
Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski
Roberto Martinez's Wigan squad has been reduced to its bare bones with no fewer than eight players sidelined.
Irish midfielder James McCarthy (ankle) is likely to miss the match with an injury sustained against Norwich last week, but Latics are hit hardest at the back with Piscu (hamstring) likely to be out for 10 weeks and Antolin Alcaraz (groin) ruled out until the New Year.
Ivan Ramis and Gary Caldwell are both doubts for Saturday's game, so Wigan's three-man backline could feature midfielder David Jones again.
Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, has no fresh injury concerns after Monday's win against Reading.
Olivier Giroud (back) could push for a start after his cameo appearance in the 5-2 win, but that position could be reserved for contract rebel Theo Walcott who impressed at the Madjeski.
Andre Santos (stomach) is still struggling, while Abou Diaby (thigh) has been ruled out until after Christmas.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Wigan have only won one of 11 games this season when they have conceded the first goal.
- The Latics have let in at least two goals in their last seven Premier League matches.
- Martinez's side have won only two of their last 18 Premier League games played in the month of December
- Arsenal have scored at least two goals in their last four away matches against Wigan in all competitions.
- The Gunners have only won twice in their last seven games in all competitions.
- Thomas Vermaelen (pictured) has scored in each of his three Premier League appearances against Wigan. He is 9/2 to score anytime with bet365.
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Top 3 Predictions
Wigan Athletic 1-3 Arsenal FC
- 20.49 %
Wigan Athletic 0-3 Arsenal FC
- 9.33 %
Wigan Athletic 0-2 Arsenal FC
- 9.05 %
|Premier League (EPL)||14 May 2013||Arsenal FC 4 - Wigan Athletic 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||22 Dec 2012||Wigan Athletic 0 - Arsenal FC 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||16 Apr 2012||Arsenal FC 1 - Wigan Athletic 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||3 Dec 2011||Wigan Athletic 0 - Arsenal FC 4|
|Premier League (EPL)||22 Jan 2011||Arsenal FC 3 - Wigan Athletic 0|
|21 Dec 2013||Reading 1 - Wigan Athletic 2||ENG2|
|15 Dec 2013||Wigan Athletic 3 - Bolton Wanderers 2||ENG2|
|12 Dec 2013||NK Maribor 2 - Wigan Athletic 1||EL|
|7 Dec 2013||Millwall 2 - Wigan Athletic 1||ENG2|
|4 Dec 2013||Leeds 2 - Wigan Athletic 0||ENG2|
|26||Ali Al Habsi||Goalkeeper|
|9||Franco Di Santo||Striker|
The striker arrived from Levante in the summer and has bedded in nicely at his new club, quickly notching four Premier League goals. However, the Ivory Coast international's form has dried up in recent weeks, with no return in his last six Premier League outings, so he is due a performance.
Expect the little Spaniard to play a starring role in the match at the DW Stadium. His hat-trick on Monday took his goal tally to seven for the season, making him the Gunners' top marksman in the league. While he isn't a certainty to be on the scoresheet, Cazorla will invariably pull the strings for Wenger's side at Wigan.
Two weeks ago you could perhaps expect an in-form Wigan to turn the fragile Arsenal over at home, but with the Gunners' confidence-boosting win at Reading combined Martinez's growing injury problems, it's hard to see past an away win. However, despite boasting one of the league's tightest defensive records, the Gunners are always vulnerable to conceding a sloppy goal through slack concentration.