Okay December was always going to be a killer month, in the end we came out of it with 6 points with unlikely points against Chelsea & Liverpool. As TNS’ Bernard said on November’s Brewery Trip, “why can’t we get points in December?” & well Bernard we did, 6 in all.
So to January, another year, this time 2012, can this new year see Wigan gain an 8th season in the Premier League? The month of January is never good for Wigan, the Premier League always opening the window that always brings a cold draft for Wigan, but that aside let’s have a look at the opposition?
3rd January – Sunderland at Home – A match I remember in our first season & our first ever Premier League points from a Jason Robert’s penalty. As for other matches, we have played Sunderland outside of the Premier League; the first league match was in 1987 in a 4-1 defeat at Roker Park. The return match @ Springfield was a 2-2 draw March 88 with Cook & Senior scoring.
Last season saw a 1-1 draw @ the DW with Alcaraz scoring & the return in April deep in the relegation dog fight a 4-2 defeat after being 2-1 up. In between these matches we’ve played 5 seasons in the Premier League & 2 in the Championship, so all in all, the match up pretty even with Sunderland, with 5 wins for Wigan, 7 draws and 4 wins for Sunderland.
7th – Swindon Away in a distraction of the FA Cup – We’ve played Swindon a few times on our travels in the league, through the last meeting was back in January 2003. Again like Sunderland we have a very even record with Swindon with 3 wins each and 4 draws.
Of course a lot of you will remember the Division 3 play-off defeat to Swindon in May 1987, losing 3-2 on aggregate with all 5 goals coming at Springfield Park through Thompson & Lowe. Remember those days….
16th –Manchester City at Home – We get to play the barons of the Premier League on the 16th, did you know the first time we ever played City ironically enough was in FA Cup 3rd Round in January 1971 when we lost 1-0 @ Maine Road. Before we get back to the league & something I wanted to get off my back for years. We also played City in May 1999 in a Division 2 playoff match, which we lost 2-1 on aggregate, but I’d like to say the Goat scored with his hand…… The Goat of God as they called it.
Back to League football, with City its pretty much Wigan being the jam in a Swiss Roll. The first 4 league matches, 1 point & 1 goal, the last 5 league meetings, 1 point and again 1 goal. Luckily for Wigan it’s the 7 games in-between, which included 4 wins on the spin and a total of 17 points. Okay of late it’s not been good and when you see their players we can only dream, but hey anything can happen? Head to head with City it’s been 4 draws, 5 wins to Wigan and 7 wins to City.
21st – Queens Park Rangers Away – Our 2nd match this season after a good 2-0 home win in August with Di Santo banjoing a couple off defenders backsides for our first win of the season. So to previous matches with QPR, all in the space of 4 seasons from 2001 to 2005 when in Division 2/Championship. Nothing of note, Tony Dinning (Remember him) getting 1 in a 2-1 defeat in September 2001 and Andy Liddell (hallelujah) getting 1 in a 1-1 draw in January 2002. All in all pretty even against QPR (bit of a theme), 3 draws and 2 wins each in 7 previous games.
28th – FA Cup 4th Round – Well we can only dream, it depends on how much focus Bob wants to put on an 8th season?
31st – Tottenham Hotspur Away – So to our final opponents in January, hopefully we’ll be going for our 12th point in the month and by this match be on 24 points (I wish). Other than the league, we’ve only played Spurs once before in the FA Cup a 3-1 third Round defeat 3 years ago. As for the league not much luck for plucky Wigan, and yes we all remember that score line in November 2009, with their 9-1 win. We have though won @ White Hart Lane in August 2010 with Hugo getting the surprise win after conceding 10 in the first 2 matches. Head to head it’s just 2 wins for Wigan, 5 draws and 6 wins for Spurs.
As for a lasting memory of any of these matches, it will always be Kevin ‘Killer’ Kilbane towering header in the 3-3 draw in April 2007, I’m sure he jumped 8 feet to nod that one in.
So from all of us here @ TNS, let’s see what January brings, have a Happy New Year and thanks for all the support in our first year of 2011, let’s hope 2012 brings us an 8th Season in the Premier League, all the best.
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