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Premier League

  • 4 December 2010
  • • 15:00
  • • The DW Stadium, Wigan
  • Referee: M. Jones
  • • Attendance: 15100
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Wigan Athletic - Stoke City Preview: Victor Moses ruled out for up to three months as Hugo Rodallega remains suspended

Wigan Athletic - Stoke City Preview: Victor Moses ruled out for up to three months as Hugo Rodallega remains suspended

TEAM NEWS

Wigan Athletic

Roberto Martinez's side are facing somewhat of a crisis up front with Victor Moses, Franco Di Santo and Hugo Rodallega all unavailable for selection ahead of the side's vital clash at home to Stoke on Saturday.

19-year-old Moses dislocated his shoulder in Wigan's 2-0 League Cup defeat to Arsenal on Tuesday and Di Santo has been struggling with an ankle injury since October. Rodallega is serving the last of a three-match ban.

However, Gary Caldwell and Mauro Boselli may be in contention for the Latics following injury fears and Martinez will be looking for three points to potentially lift his side out of the relegation zone as the congested festive fixture list approaches.
 
Possible starting XI: Al Habsi; Stam, Gohouri, S Caldwell, Figueroa; Thomas, Diame; N’Zogbia, Gomez, Cleverley; Boselli.

Stoke City

Knocks to both Andy Wilkinson and Jermaine Pennant during last week's 1-1 draw with Man City may leave Stoke with an entirely new right hand partnership when the side visit the DW Stadium.

Wilkinson has been struggling recently with knee trouble and Pennant was hauled off for Tuncay at the Britannia Stadium last Saturday with Tony Pulis deeming him unfit to continue the game, within which Stoke could go five games unbeaten.

Long-term absentees Salif Diao and Mamady Sidibe are definitely ruled out for the clash against Roberto Martinez's side but Tony Pulis has announced that Sidibe, who has been sidelined with a snapped Achilles tendon since August, is nearing a return to the first team fold. Marc Wilson will also miss out through suspension, after collecting his fifth yellow card of the season against Manchester City.

Possible starting XI: Begovic; Wilkinson, Huth, Shawcross, Collins; Walters, Whitehead, Delap, Etherington; Fuller, Jones.

Winter woes for Wigan

Throughout the coverage of West Ham's defeat of Wigan last weekend, the column inches were dominated by the Hammers turning the corner in their 'save our season' game. Less prevalent, were reports of Wigan's demise, and despite being largely dominant in the opening exchanges at Upton Park, the Latics gave up ground to their relegation rivals.

Playing well for little reward has become an unwanted annual trademark of teams within the Premier League and it would appear that Roberto Martinez's free flowing side have become the latest to suffer at the hands of this cruellest of curses.

With only one win in six and the worst home scoring record in the division, Wigan are going to have to learn how to collect three points, even if at times it isn't under the prettiest of circumstances - something that is arguably their opponents' greatest attribute.

In-form Potters aiming for five unbeaten

Tony Pulis' side have hit a run of form that has seen them gain 10 points in their last 12 games, rocketing the Potters to eighth in the table, following a stuttering start to the season.

Matthew Etherington's late equaliser against Manchester City last weekend was the least that Stoke deserved, in a match that the home side largely dominated and typified Pulis' sides effective combination of brawn and brain.

The fallacy that Stoke are purely a long ball team is just that and you can't help but feel that Wigan are going to have to be at their best to stop a side who are more than deserving of their current eighth placing in the league.

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Players to watch

T. Cleverley

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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After winning a penalty for Mauro Boselli to only go and miss it and then scoring his first Premier League goal in last week's defeat to West Ham, Tom Cleverley was a bright spark on what was an otherwise miserable day for Roberto Martinez's side. Comfortable on the ball, a fine passing ability and the confidence to run at the opposition, the young Manchester United loanee may just be the creative key to unlocking Stoke's defence.

M. Etherington

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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Wigan have only conceded 8 per cent of their goals from set-pieces so far this season, so Stoke, who are typically brilliant in attacking from set-pieces, will look towards Matthew Etherington to provide an injection of pace and creativity as a viable 'plan B' in case Rory Delap's long throw-ins and crosses from out wide aren't breaking down the home side.

Editor's Prediction

Wigan haven’t been at their best this season, showing signs of a sloppy defence and a lack of flair going forward. Stoke are the opposite, with a rigid system set out to stop other teams playing as well as using their key strengths up top and on the wings. Despite that, I can’t separate these two sides.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Wigan Athletic

Stoke City

Wins
2
3
0
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Wigan Athletic FC WIG
Wigan Athletic FC Wigan Athletic
Draw
Stoke City FC STO
Stoke City FC Stoke City
23%
31%
46%

Top 3 Predictions

Wigan Athletic FC WIG
1 - 2
Stoke City FC STO
Wigan Athletic FC WIG
1 - 1
Stoke City FC STO
Wigan Athletic FC WIG
0 - 2
Stoke City FC STO

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