Wigan – Arsenal Preview

vs.

WIGAN ATHLETIC – ARSENAL FC
Barclays Premier League – Round 29
JJB Stadium, Newtown, Wigan

9 March 2008 4:00pm GMT

OUR SQUAD (as of Friday): Almunia, Clichy, Senderos, Gallas, Sagna, Denilson, Fabregas, Flamini, Hleb, Adebayor, Bendtner, Gilberto, Van Persie, Toure, Lehmann, J Hoyte, Traore, Song.

MISSING: Diaby, Walcott, Rosicky, Eduardo, Djourou

FORM: Wigan have won only two of their last seven matches. However, they have won their last two home matches. They’ve only scored three times in their last five matches but have only conceded three as well. They are currently sitting in 14th place with 27 points ahead of Sunderland on goal difference. They are also only two points clear of the last relegation spot currently held by Reading. Arsenal have only one win in their last five matches in all competitions and have drawn their last two league matches after winning four straight. Arsenal currently have a 12 game unbeaten run in the league.

STATS: In 8 of their 19 wins, Arsenal have won by two goals. They have the 3rd best away record in the Premier League behind Chelsea and Manchester United. Emmanuel Adebayor currently sits two goals behind league-leader Cristiano Ronaldo with 19. He is averaging one goal for every 116.2 minutes. Wigan have an equal home record to Tottenham and a better home record than Portsmouth and West Ham.

INJURIES: Robin van Persie seems set to see his first action since January 9th. He has only made three appearances since October 8th. Kolo Toure and Alex Song are probable for Sunday’s match. Theo Walcott injured his thigh during a closed-door friendly against the Colorado Rapids of MLS. Abou Diaby injured his calf during the match at Milan on Tuesday. Tomas Rosicky remains out due to his hamstring injury but Wenger has said that he is “10 to 12 days” away.

TEAM NEWS: In response to the comments by Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger said, “What is important for me is to play in a fair way and in a way that people will enjoy. A trophy is what you can show, but the way you play, the way you behave – these are also important. To win trophies is important, but that is not the only thing in sport. Moral integrity is important. For me sport is more than just winning trophies.” Liam Brady, head of youth development and Arsenal legend, has agreed a two-year deal to join Giovanni Trappatoni’s staff with Ireland as an assistant. The club agreed to let Brady do double-duty as they were confident he would still be able to carry out his duties at Arsenal. Arsenal are one of the teams interested in Havant & Waterlooville 12 year old, Ryan Gates. He has scored 95 goals in 40 games for H&W’s youth setup and has attracted attention from Portsmouth, Southampton, and Reading, who appear to be the frontrunners. However, his father has said that he is “totally gobsmacked” by Arsenal’s interest and will tour the facilities of all the interested clubs. He then said, “whoever have the best facilities are the club we will go with.”

by Natsteel @ TGF

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