Villa v Wigan – Squeaky-bum time!
Despite our pretty impressive form of late - only losing to the two Manchester clubs and Arsenal - we still find ourselves sitting 17th in the Premier League; just three points above Roberto Martinez and his Latics side who have a game in hand.
April 25th, 2013
Many clubs like Norwich City, Newcastle United and even Stoke City may be looking over their shoulders but for me there is one relegation spot remaining with two clubs who could take it – Villa or Wigan.
Wigan received a massive blow this week with the news that defender Antolin Alcaraz would be ruled out for 3 weeks and, following the stats I am about to reveal, you can see why the Latics’ fans are worried that the Paraguayan centre-half will be missing.
Roberto Martinez’s men have won 44.4% of games with Alcaraz in the team, while only managing a 16.7% win ratio without him. They concede an average of 2.04 goals without, but just 1.22 with him.
So with those stats alone you can see why some of their supporters may be worried. Now let’s take a look at the remaining games from both clubs.
Paul Lambert’s men face Sunderland (h), Norwich (a), Chelsea (h) before a potential relegation decider on May 19th against Wigan.
In contrast Martinez and his side will take on Tottenham (h), West Brom (a), Swansea (h), Arsenal (a) and then the decider. Oh and let’s not forget – they have a FA Cup final sandwiched in there against Manchester City.
At the beginning of the month I personally stated 7 points would be a good return from this month, and with us sitting on 4 at the moment that would mean we need to beat a rejuvenated Sunderland side on Monday night. By this time, should Villa pick up a victory and Wigan fail to beat Spurs on Saturday, that would give Paul Lambert’s men a comfy six-point gap before they take on Norwich at Carrow Road.
I feel Wigan’s downfall could be (and I hope) the fact they play 4 times in the space of 10 days – including the FA Cup Final – while Villa find themselves the luxury of a game each weekend.
This fight is by no means over and there will no doubt be more twists between now and the end of the season, but I have my fingers crossed that Villa will survive to go with my ticket for the DW Stadium on the final day of the season.