Saturday 18th December 2010
Opponent: Wigan Athletic
Venue: DW Stadium
Kick Off: 15:00
Villa will be looking for a first back-to-back league win of the season when they travel to Wigan on Saturday. Gerard Houllier has had yet another week of rumours of unrest amongst certain players to deal with in a week that came off the back of his sides first league win in 6 games against local rivals West Brom. It was thought that most on the news on the injury front was set to be positive but it was announced on Friday that last weeks skipper Ashley Young was out for the game with a strained medial ligament. Houllier is optimistic that he will be back in time for the next game against Tottenham though reports from certain papers have suggested it could be worse. On a positive note, Gabby Agbonlahor will be back in contention after a chest infection kept him out against West Brom. Young’s absence and Gabby’s return could mean that Villa try the dizzyingly attacking tactic of two up-front after a goalscoring return from Emile Heskey last time out but try not to get too excited about the prospect!
Luke Young remains a doubt with a groin injury and faces a late fitness test but a man of the match performance from reserve right back Eric Lichaj last week could mean that Young would have to settle for a place on the bench even if fit. The midfield trio of Stiliyan Petrov, Steve Sidwell and Fabian Delph have all returned to light training with the latter looking to exert himself on an unsettled Villa line-up after 8 months out with knee ligament damage. Ciaran Clark will also be vying for a starting place after a one game suspension though a strong performance from Jonathan Hogg against West Brom could see him join Luke Young as one who will need to fight to regain a starting berth.
Wigan have numerous injury worries of their own as well as suspensions to Hendry Thomas and Maynor Figueroa. Young Man Utd loanee Tom Clevery is doubtful though he may well recover from a bruised rib injury he picked up in the last game. Emerson Boyce, James McCarthy, Victor Moses and Franco di Santo are all definitely missing with the usual suspects of Charles N’Zogbia and Hugo Rodallega posing the majority of the Latics’ threat.
After a successful return from Carlos Cuellar last week he should keep his place above Richard Dunne who has apparently had a major falling out with the Villa management along with Stephen Ireland, Habib Beye and John Carew, who are all reported to have been told to train with the reserves side due to their recent conduct.
In a relatively new fixture, the two clubs have met just 13 times with Villa winning 6, Wigan 4 and 3 draws. A good omen for Villa is that in the last 10 meetings between the two sides, just one has ended in a home win, with none in the last 8. Villa have also got a decent away record at the DW Stadium having won on their last 3 trips to Wigan however, the club’s only away win so far this season came just down the road at Wolves.
Despite only winning one of their last 10 games, a 1-0 victory against West Brom, Roberto Martinez’s side are unbeaten at home in their last 5 games. Villa’s record is only slightly better, with both sides enjoying victory’s over West Brom, with last weekend’s win being just their second in 11 matches.
Pointless Stats of the Game: If Villa win it will be the 100th loss for Wigan in the top flight; If Wigan score it will be the 500th goal that Villa have conceded in the Premier League
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