Date: Saturday, October 22nd, 2011
Referee: Neil Swarbrick.
Roberto Martinez brings his Wigan squad up to Tyneside this Saturday, as Newcastle United will look to continue their undefeated record in all competitions so far this season.
There is no live UK broadcast of the match, but due to the wonders of the internet, you may likely be able to find a link here
Wigan’s form so far this season has been dreadful. They started the season with a 1-1 draw at home to last seasons Championship winners, Norwich City, followed by another share of the spoils against the newly promoted Swansea City. Franco Di Santo helped Wigan record their first victory of the season in their third Premier League match against QPR at the DW Stadium, but after that victory, they went on to suffer four straight defeats. Their most recent encounter was versus another struggling side – Bolton Wanderers, but they suffered yet another defeat, losing 3-1 in front of their own supporter(s). Away from the DW Stadium, Wigan have played four, drew one and lost three. In that process they have scored one, and conceded eight.
Defensively, Newcastle United have so far this season made a total of 170 tackles, with a success rate of 73.53%. Wigan have made less tackles, with a total of 154, they however been more successful, with a 76.62% success rate. Though Wigan have won more tackles, they have also made more defensive errors with a total of 7 to Newcastle United’s 2. The defensive error statistics for both sides could well have been a lot higher, had ex-Magpie and ex-Latic, Titus Bramble, still been among the ranks of either side!
Interestingly, Wigan have made more accurate passes than the Magpies with 2771 to Newcastle’s 2460. Wigan have a ‘pass success’ percentage of 78.48%, whereas Newcastle United have a success rate of 72.91%.
Newcastle have so far created more chances than Wigan, with a chance being created on average every 9.54 minutes, compared to Wigan’s average of 11.19 minutes. The Magpies so far have scored 11 goals in the Premier League, 10 of which have been converted inside the box, from 81 shots on goal. This means Newcastle United score a goal on average every 69 minutes.
Meanwhile, Wigan have scored 6 goals so far, with 2 converting from inside the box. Their ‘minutes per goal’ average currently stands at 127 minutes, with this being accumulated from a total of 68 shots on goal.
Newcastle United Vs Wigan Athletic – History
Wigan haven’t tasted victory at St James’ Park in the Premier League since their promotion to the top flight in 2005. Newcastle United have won three and drawn two since the 2005 – 2006 season, with the most recent encounter ending up as a 2-2 draw.
Last seasons match consisted of Wigan racing two goals ahead, thanks to ex-magpie Charles N’Zogbia‘s brace, only to be pegged back courtesy of Shola Ameobi, and a last minute equaliser from Fabricio Coloccini. The previous St James’ Park encounter was another 2-2 draw during the 2008 – 2009 relegation season. That game saw Michael Owen open the scoring for the Magpies, and with Wigan eventually equalising, Obafemi Martins restored the lead for Newcastle a few minutes before the end of the ninety. As the match came to a close, Wigan won a corner deep into stoppage-time, and of all people, Titus Bramble equalised for the Latics. What’s the likelihood of more stoppage-time drama this Saturday afternoon?
Squads and injury news
On the Newcastle side, only Mike Williamson will definitely be out as he continues ro recover from his foot/ankle injury. However news is going around that Newcastle United’s Captain Fantastic, Fabricio Coloccini has a doubtful toe, keeping Tyneside in suspenders until the teamsheet comes.
Meanwhile, the ‘Latics’ of Wigan don’t seem to have any concerns at all on the injury front.
Newcastle United (from): Tim Krul (G), Steve Harper (G), Rob Elliot (G), Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Ryan Taylor, Davide Santon, Tamás Kádár, Shane Ferguson, Gabriel Obertan, Cheik Tiote, Yohan Cabaye, Jonás Gutiérrez, Sylvain Marveaux, Dan Gosling, Haris Vučkić, Mehdi Abeid, Demba Ba, Alan Smith, Leon Best, Shola Ameobi, Peter Lovenkrands, Sammy Ameobi, Nile Ranger.
Wigan Athletic (from): Ali Al-Habsi (G), Mike Pollitt (G), Lee Nicholls (G), Maynor Figueroa, Gary Caldwell, Patrick van Aanholt, Adam Buxton, Adrián López Rodríguez, Ronnie Stam, Antolín Alcaraz, Emmerson Boyce, Steve Gohouri, Mohamed Diamé, James McCarthy, Ben Watson, Victor Moses, Hugo Rodallega, Jordi Gómez, Albert Crusat, James McArthur, David Jones, Hendry Thomas, Nouha Dicko, Franco Di Santo, Shaun Maloney, Conor Sammon.
It’s been difficult deciding what I think Pardew will line up with this Saturday. I think it’s very likely that Hatem Ben Arfa or Davide Santon may be included in the match day eleven, but it’s probably more likely that Pardew will keep faith with the same team that drew 2-2 with Tottenham last Sunday.
I think we’re likely to see the same kind of game plan that we’ve seen in most of our matches, this being to get the ball out wide early. Jonas has been in terrific form recently, and has looked a real threat down the left-hand channel. His opposite wingman Gabriel Obertan, has looked very poor when going forward, usually slowing the pace of the attack down by not having a clue what to do with the ball when he receives it. Obertan however did track back fairly well against Tottenham, and gave some better cover to Danny Simpson, than he did against previous opponents Wolves.
Wigan will likely line up with a five man midfield, and try and play proper football by keeping possession, and being patient with their build up play. Wigan’s game plan will be to try and stop Newcastle finding any rhythm in the midfield, and also to frustrate the crowd, as most of us will be expecting victory on Saturday, due to our fine form, coupled with Wigan’s dreadful past few results this season. The onus will very much be on Newcastle to break down their opponents on Saturday, though I hasten to add that Martinez will set his side out to play, and not just sit back and absorb Newcastle’s attacks.
Saturday provides an excellent chance for Newcastle to extend their unbeaten record in the Premier League this season, and in Pardew’s words be “halfway to the magic 40″. Early prospects do point towards a home victory, but these are the type of games that can really frustrate. There are no easy games in the Premier League, and the players must go out on the pitch on Saturday, with the same mentality they had against Tottenham last Sunday. If Pardew can illustrate the importance of that, then hopefully the Magpies will prevail and have picked up the three points come Saturday afternoon.
Howay The Lads!