What chance festive cheer?

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Tis the season to be jolly and clearly the FA were having a laugh when they served up Wigan Athletic’s Christmas fixture list. Nevertheless, we sometimes need to take a step back and realise what it means for a club like ours to be facing three of the biggest clubs in the world. So let’s take one game at a time, take nothing for granted, sing our hearts out for the lads and give 110% plus other cliches.

Where Saturday’s opposition are concerned I always like to think they gave us our first, harsh lesson in Premier League life. Wigan Athletic won hearts and minds on our very first appearance in the Premier League by holding the mighty Chelsea at bay only for Hernan Crespo to pop up in the last minute and bang home a screamer. The lessons being: 1. You can’t afford to switch off for a second and 2. That’s what a hundred grand a week gets you.

And as ever, the gap is still there and widening even further between the haves and have nots and Chelsea may not be top dogs any more but that is because other clubs have got richer not because they are worse off. They still possess a galaxy of stars capable of hurting any team in the country, let alone the minnows of the pond like us.

Now that the expectations have been set, that is we should expect nothing from the game – it is time to rouse the rabble again and start to believe we can get a point or three. There’s something about those 5.30 kick offs that always seem to bring out the best in the crowd. Maybe it’s the extra hour or two in the pub pre-match coupled with fans having a Christmas drink but the DW always seems much more boisterous, so we have our part to play in trying to raise a bit of Christmas cheer.

The team and particularly the back four will also have to carry on from where they left off at The Hawthorns by defending like Trojans. This will be made all the more difficult if Antolin Alcaraz is out, as the lad is class if he can just be a bit careful where he puts what comes out of his mouth. Victor Moses, fresh from his goal at West Brom should have nothing to fear running at the ageing and media weather beaten John Terry. If we can realise we are underdogs and that we will have to battle for the whole game, then who knows? Maybe we can get revenge for that 6-0 drubbing last year?

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