Arsenal face Wigan tonight in the Premier League after a weekend which provided lots of exciting matches and controversial decisions.
Manchester United were helped on their way to all 3 points at Old Trafford by a brilliant dive from Ashley Young, while Juan Mata scored a highly debatable goal as Chelsea thrashed Spurs 5-1 at Wembley.
This game offers us the chance to (at least artificially) move 8 points clear of Tottenham and 10 points clear of Chelsea. As mentioned above, our two North London rivals played each other last night in the FA Cup Semi-Final and therefore missed out on this weekend’s Premier League action. Newcastle also did not feature over the weekend, so a win over Wigan would see us move 8 points clear of them too.
On paper, tonight’s game does not look to be particularly difficult. Arsenal have won 9 of our last 10 game to climb into 3rd place in the League, while Wigan are right there at the other end of the table fighting off relegation. We have also won all of our 9 home games against Wigan in all competitions. However, matches are not played on paper – something which Wigan proved last week with a 1-0 win over United at the DW Stadium.
Kieran Gibbs could return after a groin complaint which forced him off 10 minutes into the second half vs Manchester City, while Gervinho looks to have recovered from a slight ankle injury and will be included in the squad. Abou Diaby and Francis Coquelin are still short – the midfield duo are yet to return to full first-team training.
Laurent Koscielny is serving his second game his 2-match ban after picking up his 10th yellow card of the season. He will be back in the squad to face Chelsea in the early kick-off on Saturday.
Predicted Starting XI
I expect only 1 change from the team that won against Wolves in mid-week. Tomas Rosicky was rested on Wednesday but will probably replace Aaron Ramsey. After scoring against Wolves I think that Yossi Benayoun will be given his 3rd consecutive start. Wenger is currently deciding on whether to keep the Israel captain past the summer.
Arsenal 3-1 Wigan The Lactics won’t go down without a fight and I fully expect them to grab a goal. That said, I am aware United suffered a shock defeat last week, but I don’t think that the Wigan players have it in them to cause an upset for the second week in a row.