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LFC

Can Wigan Athletic Avoid Relegation For Yet Another Season?

arouna kone Can Wigan Athletic Avoid Relegation For Yet Another Season?

Since their promotion in 2005, Wigan Athletic have survived in the Premier League by the skin of their teeth on a regular basis. From the days of Paul Jewell, through the era of Steve Bruce to the current day manager Roberto Martinez they always find a way to move away from the drop zone at the right time.

This season looks to be taking the same pattern based on recent form. Wigan seem to be picking up wins whilst certain teams above them, such as Aston Villa, Sunderland, Stoke, Norwich and Newcastle, struggle to find a way to win important games. This has allowed the Latics to catch up to their rivals thus creating a sense of panic in each of these clubs camps. Sunderland even sacked their manager due to the fear of being relegated. Wigan have a history of sticking by their managers and this could once again pay off as they look to continue this astonishing run of avoiding relegation comparable to that of Southampton and Coventry in the 1990s.

Let’s take a look at some reasons that could be key to Wigan’s survival plans, including a closer look at some of the key players in their system.

If Wigan are to stay up then they will have to retain possession in order to build a sufficient number of attacks. This is vital in a relegation battle as chances don’t come at a premium when you are at that end of the table. Their main man who can provide this ball retention is James McCarthy. This season he has a brilliant pass completion percentage of 88% with 57.9% of these passes going forward. This is even more impressive when you take into account that he has attempted a total of 1736 passes this season. Other players who can do this job include James McArthur and Jordi Gomez. Gomez also provides a good attacking threat from midfield when he plays too.

Wigan will also need to create a decent amount of chances if they are to have a chance of scoring enough goals to stay up. Their key man in this area is definitely Shaun Maloney. When Maloney hasn’t played this season, Wigan have lost each game. Not only does he boast a brilliant passing percentage of 90% but he has also created the second most chances at the club with 43 chances created. This is even more impressive when you look at the number of chances he has created in the final third of the pitch. Jean Beausejour is the only man to create more chances than Maloney for Wigan; he is a constant outlet when they attack down the left. He provides great balance and has a licence to maraud forwards more than most full backs due to Wigan system of three centre backs.

Every team fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table needs a goal scorer, in Wigan’s case it is Ivorian Arouna Kone. He has proven a huge success this season, scoring double the amount of goals anyone else has at the club with 10 goals. His explosive pace and poaching abilities have seen him become a key man in the Latics’ team since joining the club from Levante last summer. He is one of more clinical strikers in the league as he doesn’t have as many chances as a lot of the strikers at bigger clubs but he still gets his fair share of goals.

If Wigan are to survive not only will these three men will have to continue their excellent form but they will have to stop conceding so many goals as they have conceded a mighty 56 goals already this season. One of their best defenders, Ivan Ramis is injured but Antolin Alcaraz has recently returned from a lay off and the timing couldn’t be better for the club as they were starting to run out of options in that area. There is no doubt if they can stop leaking goals, they will have a fantastic chance of staying up due to the clinical fire power they possess in their attack.

Their last two results suggest they are hitting their top form at the right time as they seem to do every season. There are teams just above them in free fall and Wigan look as though they can win the important games at key stages of the season. Their experience of relegation battles and their ability to stand by a manager could be pivotal in their survival bid.

Let me know what you think! Can Wigan survive in the Premier League yet again? Who do you think will get relegated this season?

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About Tim Simon

Freelance football writer and student from Manchester, England. Long time Premier League fan and expert who loves nothing more than a technically gifted left-footed playmaker. You can follow me on Twitter @TimSimon90
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6 Responses to Can Wigan Athletic Avoid Relegation For Yet Another Season?

  1. Sammy says:

    QPR, Reading and either Sunderland/ Aston Villa to get relegated for me. Can’t really decide between those two as Sunderland, though they may be above Villa currently, are really bad; while Villa are quite unpredictable but capable of producing good results from time to time.

    Yes, I think Wigan can survive again, definitely. It appears to be like a tradition for them to do so. But this time, I feel that their survival will come in a closer manner than last season.

  2. jtm371 says:

    QPR Reading and Sunderland are going down.RM will escape regulation once again.

  3. Dave says:

    Wigan have a tough schedule ahead and because they are still in the FA Cup it won’t be as easy as in past seasons for them to stay up. Not saying they won’t but it won’t be easy.

    This weekend’s clash with QPR away will be crucial. A loss to QPR will not help as they have Millwall in the FA Cup the following weekend followed by Manchester City in midweek (April 17), then West Ham away on the 20th, followed by Spurs at home on the 27th. They will also be playing another midweek game to make up for the game scheduled during the FA Cup semis. They are not out of the woods yet.

  4. Dinorah says:

    I think they’re a shoe in to escape relegation again. Very little doubt in my mind. They manage to do really well under all the pressure and they’ve beaten some pretty good clubs towards the end of the season before.

    • Steven_K says:

      True, but they did not have the FA Cup distraction before. They are favorites to get to the final and given the way they can sometimes play they won’t be heavy underdogs against either City or Chelsea.

      Not only will they be thinking about the FA Cup but with more games to play and makeup games in midweek could take its toll on injuries.

      Definitely not a shoe-in to escape relegation. Close call once again.

  5. Chris says:

    Wigan fan here. They should escape relegation quite easily, especially if they beat QPR next. But the most important game of the season with the exception of maybe Aston Villa (last game of the season) is the Milwal Semi-Final. As long as Chelsea stay in the top 4 and we win that game, Wigan will be in Europe next season. More prestigious, more stars and yes, more pressure. It may not be the best thing for Wigan but it’ll be damn entertaining :D

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