So 3 to go, the DW’s turn to host Newcastle United, a team who we recently did an article on about their chance of making the Champions League. Like recent matches this match pitches Wigan with a team in the top 6 of the Premier League, other than Chelsea and a Linesman sponsored by Specsaver, Wigan have come away each time with 3 points, yes 3 points.
Newcastle currently sit 4th in the Premier League, yes 4th, that’s right, you heard it correct! They have 4 matches to go, have a top 4 finish in their own hands and a potential to play in the Champions League next season. Their last 6 games they’ve won them all beating the likes of Bolton (thanks), Stoke and Liverpool along the way.
So why the cynical mocking of Newcastle being where they are. It’s not a dig at Newcastle themselves they are a very good team, it the league they are in & how it’s marketed. They have been the form team of late, but have done it very quietly without any media attention. So much so, when Wigan recently beat Arsenal, the Talk Sport pundit completely forgot Newcastle, saying the Arsenal defeat will play in to the hands of Chelsea and Spurs for the Top 4 battle. It’s this marketing of the usual ‘media elected’ teams by the media outlets that’s probably played in to Newcastle’s hands, so why everyone watches Arsenal, Spurs & Chelsea battle it out, no one saw that Newcastle were better.
Previous matches between the two, saw Newcastle beat Wigan in October 1-0 with an 81st minute goal by Cabaye. This will be the 12th time in the Premier League between the two, with Wigan winning 4, Newcastle 5 and 2 draws. Wigan’s last victory over Newcastle was Boxing Day 2008 when Wigan won 2-1 with Ryan Taylor (now @ Newcastle) & Amir Zaki (now @ Zamalek) getting the goals for Wigan. Of course football wasn’t invented in 1992 so Wigan & Newcastle have played before in a 2005 clash in the Carling Cup.
Also & for you Historians in 1954 ,Wigan played Newcastle twice in the space of 5 days in an FA Cup 3rd Round match. Wigan who were then a Non League side & Newcastle of the First Division, drew 2-2 @ St James Park, with Livsey & Lyon getting Wigan’s Goals. The replay a few days later saw Newcastle pip Wigan 3-2 @ Springfield Park in front of 26,000, Newcastle then went on to lose 3-2 to West Brom in the 5th Round, with West Brom then going on to beat Preston in the Final that season.
The ref for Saturday’s match will be Mike Dean, who has reffed 3 matches previous this season for Wigan, with matches against Bolton, WBA & Sunderland, 1 win & 2 defeats in those 3. No controversy surrounds matches Mike’s took charge off for, which makes a nice change.
Teams for Saturday, well we have mentioned Hugo’s Knee sponsored by Savlon before, he could feature along with Di Santo who are both waiting on Injuries, Crusat still looks like he’ll miss this match with his calf strain along with teammate Stam.
As for Newcastle they have 3 who are looking at later fitness tests in Cabaye (foot), Obertan (knock??) & Guthrie (Shin), 5 others have longer term injuries with Vu?ki?, Lovenkrands, Ameobi, Taylor (Steven not our Ryan) & Marveaux.
Well as for the result, I’m not naive in thinking this will be an easy match for Wigan even if you look at our recent form & who we’ve beaten. Newcastle are a good team with a striker on top form in Cisse, believe he has 11 goals in 10 matches since his arrival in January. As the teams all around Wigan are also winning, I’d simply love a 1-0 win, but love only gets you so far. Reality a dour 0-0 will also do just to get that next point and stay out of the bottom 3. Head says Newcastle continue their march and Wigan watch for results in other matches @ Sunderland, Spurs, Chelsea & West Brom.
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