Wigan Athletic v Fulham – Match Preview

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez will be hoping his side bring a halt to an alarming run of six successive defeats against Fulham at the DW Stadium on Saturday.

Despite starting the season in good form the Latics have plummeted down the table scoring just three times in the current winless run. Goals have been hard to come by in recent weeks with Hugo Rodallega sidelined with injury whilst Victor Moses and Franco Di Santo have failed to hit it off up front. The Colombian returned last week at Newcastle but missed a couple of gilt edged chances before Yohan Cabaye scored a late winner when it looked like a point was secure. They should be buoyed by their display in the North East but ultimately came away empty handed and Martinez will need to get his strikers back on the goal hunt. They’ve scored only six times in the Premier League – the lowest in the top flight this season. Defending needs improve drastically as well with the back line all over the place ad individual errors costing the team dearly in recent weeks. Martinez will be hopeful of having James McCarthy back from injury to pull the strings from midfield after he missed the game last week. The history books do favour the Latics though with Fulham failing to win inthis fixture in 11 games dating back to third-tier encounter in 1992.

It’s been a month since Martin Jol’s side thrashed QPR 6-0 at Craven Cottage with many expecting them to build on that result and kick start their season. It’s been a polar opposite though with back-to-back defeats seeing them plummet to 17th just keeping their head above the relegation zone. A third successive defeat would represent their worst sequence of result in 19 months although it could have been different had Bobby Zamora not fluffed his lines against Everton last week. With the score poised at 1-1 the England striker had a glorious chance to claim victory in the 90th minute only to blast the ball over the bar after rounding keeper Tim Howard. To rub salt into the wounds the Toffee’s scored twice just minutes later to win the game. Dutchman Jol has struggled to get the Cottagers playing consistently and their record against teams in the bottom half has been poor – they’ve failed to win in five attempts. They are unbeaten in the last nine meetings with Wigan but have failed to win in 11 attempts at the DW Stadium.

Key Players

Hugo Rodallega – The Colombians return from injury has boosted a frontline that is struggling to score goals of late. His pacey movement up front will give Wigan an extra edge in attack and with Victor Moses and Franco Di Santo supporting the net should be bulging in no time.

Clint Dempsey – It’s been a topsy turvy season for Fulham so far but Dempsey has continued to show why he is so highly rated in the Premier League. The American will equal fellow countryman’s goal record of 36 in the Premier League should he find the net on Saturday and it’s certain that he will cause Wigan no end of problems from the wing.

Prediction: 1-2

  • Despite their poor run, Wigan have some high performing players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Defender Maynor Figueroa and midfielder Ben Watson are the top two tacklers, having won 39 and 29, 91% and 81% of all attempted respectively
  • Victor Moses continues his unlucky streak in front of goal – no other player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index has had so many shots on target (17) without scoring. Moses has now had 26 attempts at goal in total without a goal.
  • Fulham midfielder Clint Dempsey has troubled goalkeepers more than any other midfielder so far this season, getting 18 attempts on target from 29 efforts overall and scoring twice
  • Damien Duff also continues to threaten the box and has put in 31 crosses so far, the fifth highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.