Wigan Athletic: Staying Up or Going Down?

While Manchester City do their best to steal Wigan Athletic’s title tag as the most unpredictable team in the Premier League, the Latics don’t make the task easy for any other teams.

Wigan have conceded a massive 13 goals at the DW Stadium already this season, with West Ham the closest team to them on 7. Though they have played more home games than any other side this season, they’re going to take some catching up. That was even after their first home clean sheet of the season yesterday in a 2-0 win over Wolves. Clean sheets is something Wigan have done well on both away trips this season as they remain the only Premier League side not to concede on the road so far. Shutting out both Tottenham and Birmingham was impressive. They travel to Newcastle after the international break as they look to maintain that record.

Chris Kirkland hasn’t played in goal after two wretched performances to start the season saw Wigan go down 4-0 at home to Blackpool and then 6-0 at home to Chelsea. His replacement, Ali Al-Habsi, on loan from Bolton has kept clean sheets in 3 of his 5 starts this season, conceding just 3 goals. The first Omani player to play in the Premier League was noticeable in their victory at White Hart Lane when he kept Spurs at bay. He didn’t have a single save to make in yesterday’s victory over Wolves.

Three points over fellow relegation contenders was aided when Karl Henry was sent off after 11 minutes in yesterday’s early kick off for a reckless challenge. Jordi Gomez finally got the break through with a well struck free kick that narrowly missed George Elokobi’s head as it flew in off the underside of the bar. Hugo Rodallega later secured all three points with his second goal of the season.

Wigan currently sit in 13th position, two points above the drop zone, although will drop a position today after the Liverpool and Blackpool game is finished, and would drop a further place should Newcastle get something at Manchester City. Their inconsistencies make it hard to predict where Wigan will finish this season.

A side that never secured back-to-back victories in the Premier League last season, Wigan have lost just once in their last 5 Premier League games since a woeful start to the season that had many calling for Roberto Martinez’s head. Points against bottom half sides will be important for Martinez’s side this season, and he must be looking at picking up a few from their next six league games which consist of Newcastle (away), Bolton (home), Fulham (away), Blackburn (away), Liverpool (home) and West Brom (home).

Wigan’s impressive start away from home will inevitably drop at some point and points at the DW Stadium are a must. Having lost 3 of their 5 home games this season is a concern, although getting Chelsea and Manchester City out of the way early on isn’t a bad thing. Their eight points have come without the likes of Hugo Rodallega and Charles N’Zogbia hitting their top form, while there are early signs that new signing Antolin Alcaraz has been a good summer buy. Mauro Boselli has not played in their last three league fixtures after failing to set in during his opening four. Goals remain a problem for this side, and this will hurt them when they’re not keeping clean sheets.

Over there next six games we might have some idea how Wigan’s season is going to go, although in all likelihood we’re going to be no closer to finding out as they remain an unpredictable side like last season under Roberto Martinez.

Wigan Athletic are 11/10 second favourites to be relegated from the Premier League this season.