Manchester United goes into their game at the DW Stadium in Wigan on Apr. 11 with an eight-point lead over second-place Manchester City. A win over the 19th-place team in the English Premier League could more or less put an end to the 2011/12 title race if City loses or draws in their home game to West Brom.
United widened their gap on City over the weekend with a 2-0 win at Queens Park Rangers while City lost 1-0 at Arsenal on a late goal. United is in first place with 79 points from 25 wins, four draws and three losses. They have a league leading 78 goals and plus 51 goal difference.
Wigan is mired down in 19th spot in the table with just 28 points from six wins, 10 draws and 16 losses. They’re level on points with Blackburn and QPR, bit have the worst goal difference of the three at minus 27. They were beaten by Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on the weekend in a game that featured a few controversial calls by the officials.
Mike Riley, the chief referee, has personally apologized to Wigan manager Roberto Martinez over the calls, but that doesn’t help them in the points department. Points are what they need desperately not apologies and if they don’t get a few more between now and the end of the season they’ll probably end up getting relegated to the Championship League, which is actually where they belong anyway.
Martinez said his team was robbed at Chelsea after the London side scored two goals that appeared to be offside. Maybe so, but any time that has won just six games out of 32 has a hell of a lot more problems than bad refereeing. Perhaps Martinez should look in the mirror before blaming others for his team’s woeful season. Martinez went overboard when he said assistant referee Dave Bryan’s performance was disgusting.
Martinez hasn’t been able to beat United in five tries and Wigan has lost all 14 matches they’ve played against them since they made it to the Premier League. It’s no wonder since they rarely go out to attempt to win against United, preferring to “park the bus” in front of their net instead. However, it looks like Colombian striker Hugo Rodallega will likely miss the game due to a bad knee. He’s been out for a month and could return next week. Forward Victor Moses should be able to play and midfielder David Jones is questionable.
United will be without captain Nemanja Vidic, who’s out for the season, as well as Darren Fletcher, Anderson, and Michael Owen. Tom Cleverley, Chris Smalling, and Nani are supposedly fit enough to dress.
Wigan has a win, three draws and a loss in their last five home games While United has won four and drawn one in their past five on the road. Wayne Rooney will be the man to watch for United as he leads the team with 22 league goals. Incredibly, Moses four league goals tops Wigan and their 30 goals for are the worst in the league. These numbers tell you all you need to know about Martinez’s managing style, or lack of it.
However, nothing can be taken for granted in sports, but there’s a great chance that United wins this game by a couple of goals.
Sportsbook William Hill’s latest odds have Wigan winning at 8/1 with a United victory at 4/11 and a draw at 7/2.