There has never been a better time for Wigan Athletic to give Bolton Wanderers a drubbing. The ‘auld enemy’ lies bottom of the table after seven matches with 21 goals conceded. They have lost 11 of their last 12 Premier League matches.
Whether Latics go on to beat Bolton resoundingly, or to even beat them at all, is going to depend on their approach to the game. To play the ‘cat and mouse’ stuff that Wigan supporters have seen too often in the past couple of years would surely play into Bolton’s hands. Despite the propaganda that comes from Coyle, Cahill and company their confidence has to be at a low point and we cannot afford to show them too much respect. Let’s have an attack-minded lineup and get at them from the start!
Wigan Athletic’s season really needs a kick-start. As has happened so often in the past two years, the team has promised but not delivered. A dynamic performance in this game could prove to be a turning point for the season. Wigan Athletic have the talent. It is the belief that they need.
On the injury front it appears that neither Antolin Alcaraz nor Hugo Rodallega will make this game, despite rumblings about the latter having a chance. There are doubts about the fitness of new signing Albert Crusat. It has been disappointing not to have seen more of the diminutive winger who can give many more options to the attack. It looks like Steve Gohouri will come back into the centre of the Wigan defence following his suspension. This will allow Maynor Figueroa to return to his better position of left back. Although Figueroa has played most of his 70 plus games for Honduras in the centre of defence he has not looked the part in that position against the powerful forwards that grace the Premier League. So it would be Boyce and Figueroa at full back and Gohouri and Caldwell in the centre of defence. The central midfield trio is likely to consist of Watson, McCarthy and Diame, but one cannot rule out the possibility of one of Jordi Gomez, James McArthur or David Jones stepping in there. Let’s hope that Martinez puts on an attacking front three. Moses and Di Santo are obvious choices, with either Shaun Maloney or Albert Crusat (if fit) providing the best offensive options. There is the alternative of playing the more defensive minded Ronnie Stam, or even Jordi Gomez, wide on the right. A bold move would be to play three attack-minded forwards, with Shaun Maloney in the “hole” as the third central midfield player.
Bolton are going to have several players out with injury. This could include their excellent goalkeeper, Jussi Jaaskelainen. Whatever lineup they put forward one can expect the usual Bolton level of effort and commitment, together with their threat at set pieces.
Prediction: a good win for the Latics, hopefully a thumping. There has never been a better time to play Bolton in the Premier League. Victor Moses is due to get on the scoresheet and a goal from a defender is long overdue.