x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Ominous signs of EPL relegation for Wigan

Last week, our columnist Andrew Cole predicted that Wigan Athletic would go down this season, along with Birmingham City and West Ham United. It is becoming hard to find a convincing argument for Roberto Martinez's team.

The defeat to Aston Villa was Wigan's fifth at home this season and is one reason they face a fight to stay up.
The defeat to Aston Villa was Wigan's fifth at home this season and is one reason they face a fight to stay up.

Andrew Cole, The National columnist, last week predicted that Wigan Athletic would go down this season, along with Birmingham City and West Ham United.

It is becoming hard to find a convincing argument for Roberto Martinez's team.

West Ham - due to their awful start to the season and constant speculation about Avram Grant and his future as manager of the club - have drawn most of the attention at the bottom of the table. But Wigan have become entrenched in the relegation battle, too.

The main reason is simple: they have the worst form in the Premier League as well as the worst home record (two wins and 12 points from 13 games) and the worst goal scoring tally (20 in 24 games).

What Wigan's situation shows, if it is not an obvious fact in football, is the importance of victories, as opposed to draws. Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City have both lost more games than Wigan (11 each compared to 10) yet, before last night's game between Liverpool and Fulham, they sat seventh and ninth in the table. Wigan were in 18th. That is down to not being able to turn draws into wins.

The three teams that Cole chose to go down share the worst win tally - just four apiece.

Blackburn and Blackpool both have the same kind of resources as Wigan and all three have conceded at least 37 goals this season. Yet Rovers - since Steve Kean took over as coach - and Blackpool both play attacking football. They have both lost more games than Wigan, but their win tally is at least double.

The other factor taking Wigan down is their home record. Tuesday night's 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa was their fifth loss at home this season, from 13 games and they have only won two at the DW Stadium. In a table based solely on away form, Wigan are 12th.

One ray of hope for Wigan - seventh place to bottom was separated by 10 points before last night so their situation is escapable, if they can start scoring.

However, they need to turn things around fast. Their next two games are West Bromwich Albion (away) and Blackburn (home). These are must-win games because Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea are five of their following six opponents.

 

twoods@thenational.ae