I’ve just sat down to throw together a half cocked preview of tonight’s game at Stamford Bridge and, to my dismay, the first phrase that came to mind was ‘this is another one of those games’.  It should hardly come as a surprise to find myself thinking that way, and I wouldn’t be the only Latics fan who has mentally written off any chance of the lads returning from West London with anything other than a few signed shirts and assorted other goodies from the Chelsea superstore.

I’ll let you into a secret on that front later on, but for the time being let’s stick with the state of the self appointed ‘best league in the world’.  The word league, in itself, implies competition and here we are approaching a fixture where even the most blinkered of my fellow fans won’t rate Latics’ chances.  Perhaps that’s not too much of a surprise given the relative positions of these two sides but when you can get 14-1 on a Latics victory (and 4-1 on the draw) then you have to wonder what’s going on.

It’s not just the teams at the bottom of the table that carry this lack of expectancy, in recent weeks we’ve seen Liverpool beat teams that are (allegedly) challenging with them for fourth place, at a canter, but get summarily dismantled by Man Utd.  They may start each season with the hope of winning the league, but come May it invariably becomes apparent that they stood as much chance as the proverbial snowball.   

So, if one of the biggest teams in the world (in terms of support, finances and past record) and recent European champions stand no chance of winning the Premiership, then what chance do the rest of us stand?

Not that I’m saying that Latics would, or should have a chance of winning the League, if things were different.  Nor am I offering any solutions, but it has to be wrong that, even before kick off we’ve moved on to thinking about which Spurs side is going to turn up at the JJB on Saturday.

And now for that secret. 

I’ve had a sneaky feeling, for the last few days, that we might just get something out of this game.  Not that we’ll win it mind, if I thought that we could beat a team who haven’t lost at home for four years then I’d be in the Doctor’s waiting room rather than on the 9:13 to Morecambe, but a draw isn’t beyond the grasp of imagination, is it?

There’s some logic behind this flight of fancy, United’s win yesterday puts pressure on the Blues, who also have to play Everton on Thursday.  Now it’s easy to see which of those games presents the bigger challenge and I’m relying on the possibility that the imbalance of the League might actually work in our favour. 

It would only be human if a few of the Chelsea players had chalked up the three points from tonight’s game and if enough of them have taken their eyes off the ball, well, you never know.

It’s not a complex theory, but it’s the only one I’ve got and if it allows me to cling onto just an ounce of the romance that there should be when Little Wigan take on the big boys then I’m sticking to it.    

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