Wigan Athletic V Birmingham City – Match Preview By Nat

Posted on April 4, 2008 
Filed Under Previews By Nat

Opposition: Wigan Athletic
Competition: Premiership
Venue: JJB Stadium

Stats/Form: Wigan go into this game on the back of two successive defeats with one win from their last six. Blues have also struggled to win of late with just one win from their last four.

Blues and Wigan have only met nine times in the league, with two wins apiece. The other five matches were drawn although Wigan’s last win against Blues came in the penultimate game of the 1991/92 season in the Old Division Three.

Last time out: 08/04/2006 Wigan 1 (Johansson) Blues 1 (Dunn)

Memories: To be honest, because of the fact that I am in my mid-teens, I am struggling to think of too many memories of clashes with Wigan. The only one that sticks out in my mind is when we played them at St Andrew’s on the second day of 2006. At this time it was becoming clearer and clearer that we were in serious danger of slipping out of the Premiership whilst Wigan, on their very first sojourn into the top-flight, were riding high in the league. As the kick off loomed there was a feeling of dread amongst Bluenoses that we would get turned over by a team that was in only its third season of being above the third tier of English football.

The game kicked-off and Blues showed signs that this was, once again, going to be another sluggish performance whilst Wigan looked as if they were settling comfortably. About ten minutes in, Blues won a free-kick about thirty yards out. The out of form Jermaine Pennant swung his boot at the ball and off it went into the Railway Stand, cue much derision from the Blues faithful. Another ten minutes passed when a ball was floated into the box more in hope than expectation. It reached the far post where the previously derided Pennant leapt like a salmon and nodded home. The goal seemed now to add zest to Blues’ play and we missed several opportunities before deservedly increasing our lead on the stroke of half-time, when after a goalmouth scramble, Mario Melchiot poked the ball into the net.

After showering the players with praise as the referee blew the whistle to conclude the first half, the fans settled to watch a predictably but perhaps important drab second-half. The game petered out into a 2-0 win for Blues. At the final-whistle, Blues fans cheered a rare victory knowing that there was still a harrowing fight against relegation, which would eventually be lost, to come whilst our Lancashire opponents finished the season comfortably embedded in mid-table.

Final Score: Blues 2 (Pennant, Melchiot) Wigan 0

Team news: Wigan welcome back ex-Bluenose Wilson Palacios from suspension but are without both Jason Koumas and Michael Brown. Blues have Franck Queudrue and Liam Ridgewell unavailable through suspension whilst James McFadden and Olivier Kapo are both unavailable through injury.

Possible line-ups:

Wigan (4-4-2, R-L) : Kirkland, Melchiot, Bramble, Boyce, Kilbane, Valencia, Palacios, Scharner, Taylor, Heskey, King

Blues (4-4-2, R-L) : Maik Taylor, Parnaby, Kelly, Jaidi, Murphy, Larsson, Johnson, Muamba, McSheffrey, Forssell, Zarate

Pre Match build up:

Wigan key man: Antonio Valencia

Since arriving at Wigan following his performances in the 2006 World Cup, Ecuadorian international Valencia has made steady progress. His pace and penetration have made him a valuable weapon for the Latics, and with creative maestro Jason Koumas out of tomorrow’s game, Wigan may look to Valencia to provide ammunition.

Blues key man: Mauro Zarate

This kid is potentially world class, there is no other way of putting it. His recent performance against Manchester City was a joy to behold, as he terrorized the Mancunian backline and ended the game a hero after putting away two marvellous goals which ultimately won Blues three precious points. He could provide the bit of magic Blues will need to win the game tomorrow.

With both teams desperate for points to try and pull themselves away from danger, you can bet your life on this being a close game. However I think the fact that Blues are buoyed by their win against Manchester City last week whilst Wigan have struggled of late, may give the Brummies the edge, A close one but a Blues win for me.

Wigan 1-2 Blues

Ladbrokes Odds: Wigan evens Blues 11/5 Draw 11/5.


One Response to “Wigan Athletic V Birmingham City – Match Preview By Nat”

  1. Kev on April 4th, 2008 8:21 pm

    Great article Nat.

    I can go back to the early 80’s in an FA cup game v Wigan – 3rd round I think, anyway they were non league then if I remember properly.

    We won 4-0 with Keith Bertchin getting a couple. Also the cameras were there filming him for a documentry.

    Also some one climbed up one of the roofing ladders in the cop and sung que sera sera (sp?).

    The police came to get it and the cop were singing, “you’ll never get our ladder!” Anyway they did, so they then sung “bring back, bring back, bring back our ladder to us to us!” Happy days – I still miss the cop.

    I think it’ll be a draw tomorrow btw.

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This section of the site covers the blog portion of J&S from 26th April 2006 - when the site returned after a catastrophic hosting failure causing the loss of over 500 articles - to 28th April 2008 - when I decided to have a prolonged rest from the site.

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