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Premier League

  • 29 December 2010
  • • 19:45
  • • The DW Stadium, Wigan
  • Referee: L. Probert
  • • Attendance: 17014
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Wigan Athletic - Arsenal Preview: Cesc Fabregas suspended as Gunners look to build on Chelsea win

Wigan Athletic - Arsenal Preview: Cesc Fabregas suspended as Gunners look to build on Chelsea win

TEAM NEWS

Wigan


The Latics come into this game on a high after their crucial victory over relegation rivals Wolves on Boxing Day lifted them out of the bottom three. Roberto Martinez’s men are currently five games unbeaten at home and will be hoping to build on that against the in-form Gunners.

Honduran duo Hendry Thomas and Maynor Figueroa both return to the squad following their one-game suspensions for the Wolves match.

Emmerson Boyce and Franco Di Santo are both near to a first team return but remain doubtful for this match, but James McCarthy and Victor Moses are both definitely ruled out with injury.

Possible starting XI: Al Habsi; Gohouri, G Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa; Diame, Thomas; Cleverley, McArthur, N’Zogbia; Rodallega.

Arsenal

Cesc Fabregas is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season against Chelsea, so Tomas Rosicky may start.

Manuel Almunia will not be able to feature due to his ankle injury, and defender Kieran Gibbs and Thomas Vermaelen are not due to return until the New Year.

Robin van Persie's return to fitness is a huge boost to Arsene Wenger, and he could start again alongside Marouane Chamakh.

Possible starting XI: Fabianski; Sagna, Squillaci, Koscielny, Clichy; Rosicky, Song, Wilshere; Nasri, Van Persie, Chamakh.

Gunners have the edge despite last season’s DW upset

Arsenal have dominated the clashes between the two sides, with 11 wins from the 14 meetings in all competitions.

However, Wigan did win the last meeting at the DW Stadium, 3-2 in April, which ended Arsenal’s title hopes last season. The Gunners were 2-0 up with 10 minutes to go but goals from Ben Watson, Titus Bramble and a last minute winner from Charles N’Zogbia sealed a famous victory for Martinez’s men.

This game will be the first meeting in the league between the two sides this season but they did meet in the League Cup in October when Arsenal won 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium.

North-west a happy hunting ground for Gunners

The north-west has often been thought of as Arsenal’s weak point but this season they have shown that this is no longer the case after three wins and a draw in the region.

They have beaten Blackburn, Everton and Manchester City, and earned themselves a draw against Liverpool on the opening day, but they were beaten by Manchester United on their last visit to the region.

Wigan have struggled against London sides this season and have only taken three points from a potential 12 against sides from the capital. Despite beating Tottenham at White Hart Lane they have slumped to defeats against Chelsea, Fulham and West Ham, conceding 11 goals and only scoring two.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
26Ali Al HabsiGoalkeeper
-Ronnie StamDefender
5Gary CaldwellDefender
32Antolín AlcarazDefender
2S. GohouriDefender
23Tom CleverleyMidfielder
21Mohamed DiameMidfielder
8Ben WatsonMidfielder
20H. ThomasMidfielder
-Charles N'ZogbiaMidfielder
20Hugo RodallegaStriker
12Mike PollittGoalkeeper
13Steven CaldwellDefender
15Jordi GómezMidfielder
-Mauro BoselliStriker
15Callum McManamanStriker
16James McArthurMidfielder
3Maynor FigueroaDefender
21Lukasz FabianskiGoalkeeper
3Bacary SagnaDefender
6Laurent KoscielnyDefender
18Sébastien SquillaciDefender
27Emmanuel EboueDefender
7Tomas RosickyMidfielder
24A. DiabyMidfielder
15DenilsonMidfielder
10Andrey ArshavinMidfielder
29Marouane ChamakhStriker
17Nicklas BendtnerStriker
1Wojciech SzczesnyGoalkeeper
22Gael ClichyDefender
5Johan DjourouDefender
11Carlos VelaStriker
10Jack WilshereMidfielder
8Samir NasriMidfielder
14Theo WalcottStriker
Players to Watch
Hugo Rodallega
Hugo Rodallega
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 20
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Wigan’s potent goal threat has got a huge part to play if the Latics are to avoid relegation this season. His goal against Wolves was his fifth of the season and set his side on their way to a vital three points, he will go into this match hoping to score in consecutive games for the first time this campaign.
Samir Nasri
Samir Nasri
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 8
Games Goals YC RC
2 0 0 0
Nasri has been the stand-out midfielder in the Premier League during the first half of this season, providing Arsenal with lots of creativity and flair. He has also contributed 12 goals in all competitions, which makes him the club’s top goal scorer just ahead of striker Marouane Chamakh.
Prediction
Despite their poor start to the season, Wigan’s home form has been very good in recent matches, but Arsenal should be too strong for Roberto Martinez’s men. The Gunners have one of the best away records in the league and they should record their sixth victory on the road at the DW Stadium.
Editor's Prediction
Wigan 1

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