Wigan Athletic v Bolton Wanderers – Match Preview

An early relegation six-pointer takes place at the DW Stadium on Saturday as rock bottom Bolton travel to face Wigan who are also going through a rough patch.

Roberto Martinez’s side started the season in fine form winning one and drawing two of their first three but have lost their last four games – their longest losing streak since 2008. Scoring goals has been a major issue in the early stages of the season with the loss of Charles N’Zogbia hitting the Latics hard. The Frenchman was the main creative influence last season as they narrowly escaped relegation and without him they look clueless in the final third. Victor Moses has impressed despite his lack of an end product whilst Franco Di Santo has struck majority of their goals scoring three times in the league. It’s something that needs to be seriously addressed by Martinez who has built his side on the basis of playing attractive football. Whilst their passing game might be pleasing on the eye a change in philosophy might be needed to guarantee Wigan extend their six-year stay in top division. Despite the need to get points on the board home fans shouldn’t expect a glut of goals with the two out the last three meetings at the DW ending goalless whilst neither side has scored more than once in eight out of the last nine.

Considering their current plight I doubt Bolton fans would turn away a gritty 1-0 win with the club rooted to the foot of the table having lost their last six games in a row. Beleaguered boss Owen Coyle has yet to receive any criticism from the stands whilst the board has yet to indicate a change is being considered. Just six months ago the Trotters were competing in the FA Cup semi final and the future looked rosy. The 6-0 thrashing from Chelsea was hard to swallow even for Coyle’s most ardent supporters and it was certainly a wake up call for the Bolton faithful. It’s staggering how quickly a teams fortunes can change in such a small space of time and they’ll need a huge lift at the DW on Saturday. Whilst they have played all of the ‘big five’ so far the display against Norwich caused the warning signs to blare out and they need to start picking points if they are to move away from the bottom. Summer signings Chris Eagles and David N’Gog have yet to perform to expectations whilst Gary Cahill has suffered an alarming dip in form. They’ll fancy their chances against Wigan though and are unbeaten in their last seven in all competitions. There is also the matter of who plays in goal with Jussi Jaaskelainen looking shaky between the sticks whilst Adam Bogdan will need to shake off the psychological aspects of conceding six against Chelsea. The Bulgarian was at fault for a number of the goals and Coyle has a huge decision on his hands.

Key Players

Maynor Figueroa – A tower of strength at the back for Wigan this season the Honduran is a vital member of Martinez’s defence. The left back has been a consistent performer for the Latics during his time in England and his experience will come in handy as they try to see off Bolton on Saturday.

Kevin Davies – Captain and heartbeat of Bolton Wanderers the big frontman is needed more than ever to get the club out of this deconstructive rut. Davies has been one of the better players for the Trotters in their winless run but needs to start finding the net more often to match his bruising displays up front.

Verdict: 0-0

  • At the other end of the pitch Maynor Figeuroa continues to dominate the tackling charts having won an incredible 35 tackles this season, 9 ahead of his next rival Sunderland’s Lee Cattermole and 97% of all tackles attempted.
  • Figeuroa has also contributed 16 interceptions, the 4th highest of any player in the league, and done so while only giving away 4 fouls.
  • Bolton suffered a 5-1 defeat at the hands of Chelsea in their last game, and in so doing covered more ground than they have in any other game this season (122.1km). Darren Pratley covered the most distance for them with 12.6km.
  • Ivan Klasnic remains Bolton’s top ranked player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index in 58th place. The striker’s early goals this season came from getting 100% of all shots at goal on target so far, and Bolton fans will hope he can return to scoring form.