What: English Premier League
Who: Wigan Athletic vs West Ham United
When: Sunday 15th May, 2011, at 16:00 UK Time
Where: DW Stadium, Wigan, England

Wigan’s Cup Final

When Wigan manager Roberto Martinez expressed his post-match thoughts to the waiting press following the Latics’ hard-fought draw away to Aston Villa, he described the upcoming fixture with West Ham as a “final within a league competition.” And with three points separating the relegation rivals, and only six points left to play for, defeat is not an option for either side.

Wigan have been here before and their recent form demonstrates they have the ability to stay up. They won a crucial ‘six-pointer’ away at Blackpool and have picked up creditable draws against Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Aston Villa. 

Martinez’ side have been playing good football too, but the lack of recent clean sheets could concern the Spaniard in this key fixture. It is now six games since the Latics managed a clean sheet and, worryingly Wigan have lost their last two meetings with West Ham.

Final chance for Avram Grant

The vultures have been circling around West Ham manager Avram Grant all season with constant speculation about his future; at one point it appeared former Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill was on the verge of replacing him. But the Israeli has thick skin and remains bullish about his team’s chances of survival, “Nothing is over until it is over”, Grant explained in his pre-Wigan press conference.

The Hammers found themselves in a similar position four years ago when Carlos Tevez infamously scored the goals to secure West Ham’s Premier League status. Tevez is long gone, but Grant needs one of his players to perform similar heroics.

And that man could be Scott Parker. The England midfielder had been in sensational form for West Ham before picking up an injury and missing the last four games. His expected return, should he be fit, would be a big boost to the Hammers’ midfield and help Grant’s side win the battle in a crucial area of the pitch.


Recent form


Sunderland 4-2 Wigan (23/04; Premier League)
Wigan 1-1 Everton (30/04; Premier League)
Aston Villa 1-1 Wigan (07/05; Premier League)

West Ham:
Chelsea 3-0 West Ham (23/04; Premier League)
Manchester City 2-1 West Ham (01/05; Premier League)
West Ham 1-1 Blackburn Rovers (07/05; Premier League)

Key absences

Wigan: Mohamed Diame (doubt)

West Ham: Junior Stanislas, Gary O’Neill, Mark Noble, Scott Parker (doubt); Matthew Upson (doubt); James Tomkins (doubt); Keiron Dyer

Players to watch

Wigan – Charles N’Zogbia: The former Newcastle United player has hit form just at the right time, scoring three goals in the Latics’ last four matches. With the Frenchman likely to move in the summer, he will be hoping to leave the DW Stadium on a high note. One concern for Wigan could be N’Zogbia’s ability to last the 90 minutes; the winger has been suffering from a dead leg.

West Ham – Thomas Hitzlsperger: The German international is now a fixture in the Hammers’ engine room following absence through injury for the majority of the season. Der Hammer salvaged a draw for West Ham with a trademark 20-yard strike in their last outing against Blackburn Rovers. West Ham supporters will be hoping the former Aston Villa midfielder takes his shooting boots to the DW Stadium.

Match Prediction

West Ham will attack from the start knowing that not even a draw is good enough. Wigan need to get the balance right as a point should still leave matters in their own hands come the final day. This season has been high on thrills though and West Ham could well claim the spoils to ensure the Premier League relegation battle continues to be ultra-competitive until the very last matchday.

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