Wolverhampton Wanderers v Wigan Athletic – Match Preview

Two sides sucked into an early relegation battle meet at Molineux on Sunday with both Wolves and Wigan desperate to start putting points on the board and move away from the drop zone.

Wanderers currently lie a place above the bottom three with two points separating them and 18th placed Blackburn. Mick McCarthy’s men have slid down the table at an alarming rate after a run of two point from eight games causing fans to turn on their boss in the 2-2 draw with Swansea a fortnight ago. The home support voiced their anger at McCarthy’s substitutions with his side staring down the barrel at a 2-0 defeat but to his credit Wolves pulled it back at the death displaying a resilience that had gone missing since their last win on the 21st August against Fulham. They’ve sorely missed the goalscoring exploits of Steven Fletcher who is still out with a calf injury with Kevin Doyle, deployed up front on his own, failing to deliver a regular source of goals. Matt Jarvis has also seen a dip in form and confidence and looks a shadow of the winger that terrorised Premier League fullbacks last season and earning an England call up. Their record against Wigan at home is a shameful one having lost in the previous two meetings and coupled with their poor form at Molineux, which has seen them take only four points from a possible 15, the omens look good for Sunday’s visitors.

Latics boss Roberto Martinez will be praying his side can continue their fine form against Wolves having lost only once against them since 2009. However in a mirror image of their opponents they too have been on a slippery slope despite starting the season strongly going three games unbeaten. Seven defeats in a row since their last win against QPR at the end of August has sent them hurtling to the bottom of the table. Martinez has yet to feel the pinch from owner Dave Whelan but the Wigan faithful will be concerned that their side show no signs of putting an end to their slump in form. Their away form is terrible with just one point gained from their five fixtures although they’ll be confident of getting something at Molineux which has been a happy hunting ground in the past. The frustrating thing about Wigan is that they have the players capable of winning games with Hugo Rodallega, Victor Moses, Ben Watson, James McCarthy and Franco Di Santo all capable of producing better than they currently are. November is a massive month for the club and they’ll to start picking up points quickly starting at Wolves with a December fixture list containing games against Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United that could make it a very unhappy Christmas at the DW Stadium.

Key Players

Jamie O’Hara – Wolves are crying out for some creativity in midfield and O’Hara is the man tasked with providing it. His performances have fluctuated this season but when he’s confident and playing without fear he can do serious damage to teams. Expected to play just behind Doyle on Sunday which could prove to be a role he thrives in.

Hugo Rodallega – With goals hard to come by for Wigan at the moment they need Rodallega to get his shooting boots on if they are to pull away from the foot of the table. Back from injury and still regaining his sharpness it will be his constant running and willingness to pressurise a fragile Wolves defence that could provide a path to goal for others.

Prediction: 2-2

  • Jamie O’Hara and Karl Henry are leading the team on work rate, covering 122.75 m and 127.22 metres per minute on the pitch respectively
  • O’Hara has been impressive all over the pitch, winning 92% of tackles and getting 57% of shots on target
  • Wigan have three of the top ranked players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index in Maynor Figueroa (48 attempted, 85% won), Ben Watson (38 attempted, 82% won) and Mohamed Diame (34 attempted, 82% won)
  • Watson and Figueroa are also in the Barclays Premier League’s top 5 interceptors having made 30 and 25 respectively

 


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