Everything you need to know ahead of Latics’ Barclays Premier League clash with Fulham at the DW Stadium on Saturday
Wigan Athletic v Fulham
Barclays Premier League
Saturday 22 September 2012, kick off 3.00pm
DW Stadium, Wigan
Franco Di Santo is looking forward to seeing an old friend at the DW Stadium this weekend, but will be saving the pleasantries until after the match, whilst James McCarthy is hoping Latics can pick up their first home win of the season and Roberto Martinez gives us his thoughts ahead of the match. [Click here] to login and watch now.
All tickets are buy one get one free for this fixture but the offer will only be available until 5.00pm on Friday 21 September. Tickets will be available on the day for home and away fans, with away supporters able to pay on the turnstiles.
Latics failed to take a point from Martin Jol’s team home or away last season, and will be aiming to record their first home win over the Cottagers since October 2005 when Pascal Chimbonda’s late header sealed victory for Paul Jewell’s side. Six years later Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele scored the goals in the latest meeting between the two sides in Wigan, both have since moved joined Tottenham Hotspur after a summer of rebuilding for Jol.
League meetings between the two sides stretch back to 1986, when the first meeting took place at Springfield Park when Chris Thompson and Bobby Campbell scored to secure a 2-0 win for Ray Mathias’ team.
Overall it’s Latics who have the better league record between the sides when playing at home, winning six of the 19 encounters, drawing eight times and losing five, both teams have scored 19 goals in this fixture.
Antolin Alcaraz will have a late fitness test to see he can recover from a groin injury picked up on international duty with Paraguay last week. The defender missed last weekend’s match at Old Trafford with the injury and Latics’ last home game against Stoke City through suspension. Everyone else is fit and available for selection.
Fulham on the other hand have a number of injury concerns with no less than six players fighting to be fit in time for this weekend’s match. Bryan Ruiz could return from a hamstring injury in time but is doubtful, along with Mohamadou Diarra (knee), Kieran Richardson (thigh), Ashkan Dejagah (hamstring), Philippe Senderos (ankle) and Simon Davies (neck).
Last Six Meetings
21/04/12 – Premier League – Fulham 2-1 Latics
29/10/11 – Premier League – Latics 0-2 Fulham
15/01/11 – Premier League – Latics 1-1 Fulham
30/10/10 – Premier League – Fulham 2-0 Latics
04/04/10 – Premier League – Fulham 2-1 Latics
Three head-to-head battles that could take place and have a big impact on the outcome of the game:
Ivan Ramis v Dimitar Berbatov
Two new signings who have settled into life at their new clubs with ease. Latics’ Spanish defender has adjusted well to life in the Barclays Premier League with a host of confident performances at the back, growing stronger in his role by the week and coming close to a first goal against Manchester United last weekend with a header that went narrowly wide. He’ll be pitting his wits against one of the league’s best strikers who has found form with his new club and netted twice last week against West Bromwich Albion at Craven Cottage. Signed from last weekend’s opposition, Dimitar Berbatov has a good record against Wigan Athletic, scoring eight goals against Latics in the Premier League during his time at Tottenham Hotspur and Man Utd, Ramis and the home defence will have to stay sharp to prevent him adding to that total on Saturday.
James McCarthy v Steve Sidwell
James McCarthy’s impressive start to the season led to him making his first start for the Republic of Ireland recently in a World Cup Qualifier against Kazakhstan, a landmark that indicates the progression made by the 21-year-old since joining Latics. Starring roles against Southampton and Stoke City were a crucial factor in the team’s results, controlling the midfield in possession and working tirelessly off the ball to win it back. Steve Sidwell spent much of last season pushing for a starting place in the Fulham team, kept at bay by the impressive Moussa Dembele who has since moved to Spurs. He too has begun the new season in style scoring two goals, a penalty against Norwich City on the opening day and pouncing upon Hugo Rodallega’s header that hit the crossbar last weekend to nod home again. He scored his first Aston Villa goal here back in 2008 in a 4-0 win.
Arouna Kone v Brede Hangeland
The Ivorian striker slammed home his first Latics goal on his full debut against Southampton in August, and has since formed a threatening partnership with Franco Di Santo – the two combining against Stoke City in the last home game for Latics’ second goal. A great chance befell the 28-year-old at Old Trafford last weekend but the finishing touch was just lacking; he’ll hope to put that right against the Cottagers. To do so he’ll have to get the better of one of the Premier League’s toughest centre-halves, Brede Hangeland. The Fulham skipper joined from FC Copenhagen in 2005 and has since made 163 league appearances for his club, scoring eight goals, one of which against Latics back in April 2010. Dominant in the air and with an excellent reading of the game, the Norway international with prove stern opposition for Kone.
Referee: Lee Probert
Assistant Referees: Darren Cann & Matthew Wilkes
Fourth Official: Mark Halsey
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