After our fine demolition of Southampton, last weekend, we`re back on the road this Saturday facing a difficult looking trip to the DW Stadium to take on a Wigan side that, on their day, are capable of beating anyone. Hopefully, West Ham will be able to carry the confidence gained from thrashing Southampton and put on the kind of performance that we did in the second half last weekend. But, if we play like we did in the first half, this could be a problematic fixture.
Ahead of the game, the likeable Wigan Athletic boss, Roberto Martinez, has praised Sam Allardyce and the manner in which he goes about his business, remarking to the media,
“What you don`t see with Sam is the approach he has with sports science. You don`t expect that from him straightaway, but you find out when you dig deeper.”
“You can also see that he brings in incredible experience of the game. He is very curious and looks for the different percentages to use to help the players.”
“It`s why he`s been so successful with foreign players. Look at the side he had at Bolton, with Youri Djorkaeff, Fernado Hierro, Jay-Jay Okocha and Ivan Campo.”
“You have to be something special to understand those cultures and get them to play together. That is the hardest part, making a team out of that.”
“I don`t think he would have a problem working anywhere in the world.”
“There are not many dressing rooms that have been so multicultural. It is a real skill for a manager and Sam has done that in a great manner.”
Is he trying to lure us into a false sense of security?
Wigan Team News:
Roberto Martinez enters this fixture with two key players out injured and a third rated as very doubtful.
The two confirmed as being out are Antolin Acaraz (groin), Albert Crusat (Knee) whilst he player rated as doubtful is their winger Ryio Miyaichi (groin)
Player to watch: Franco Di Santo
The Argnetine striker, formerly on the books of Chelsea, has taken an eternity to blossom but he is slowly proving the doubters wrong and will be keen to perform well.. If on form he could be a real handful.
West Ham Team News:
Sam Allardyce takes his squad north without the injured Ricardo Vaz Te, Jack Collison, Matthew Taylor and Guy Demel.
However, the squad is boosted by the return of Joey O`Brien who has recovered form a hamstring injury,
Player to watch: Andy Carroll
Fast becoming an Upton Park favourite, we`re now just waiting for the robust, pony-tailed striker to notch his first Hammers goal, could the DW Stadium be the venue for such a thing?
Match Facts & Stats
If we look at Wigan`s home form, we find that the Latics have yet to win at home this season but in fixtures against West Ham, at the DW Stadium, they`ve won the last two against us.
But West Ham will be hoping to prevent it becoming three in a row, against us, by extending a start to the season that has seen them claim 14 points from the 24 available, which equates to a best start to a Premier League season since the 99/00 campaign when we had 16 points.
The officials selected for this match are:-
Referee – J. Moss
Assistants – R. Ganfield, G. Beswick
Fourth Official – G. Eltringham
I`m feeling brave, I`m feeling bold and I reckon if we can keep things tight early on and if we play to our full potential we can get something from this fixture. However, and I stress this point again, we need to play like we did in the second half last week if those ifs are to become dead certain, a narrow win to the Hammers and Andy Carroll to get the winner.
Our next fixture is against the current title holders, Manchester City, at Upton Park next weekend.