While Aston Villa have all but safeguarded their premiership survival for this season after Saturday’s 2 – 1 win at Blackburn, the fight goes on for Wigan who’s dramatic fall from grace continues. Both clubs were entrenched in the top half of the table earlier in the season, but miserable form from the Christmas period to date has seen them both flirt with the drop zone.
Martin O’Neil’s Villa will be without midfielder Gavin McCann, who starts a two match suspension, and giant striker John Carew is again missing through injury. While Carew has been impressive in his short stay at Villa, O’Neil’s Scottish imports of Petrov and Maloney have been disappointing to say the least, with Maloney struggling to improve on a place on the bench. When you consider that Gareth Barry is the clubs top scorer this season, with 8 premiership goals, this puts everything into perspective.
Wigan captain Arjan de Zeeuw looks set to miss out again with yet more back trouble, while it seems top scorer Emile Heskey will be patched up and sent out to battle. While Wigan’s record at Villa has been good, Wigan have been in free fall of late and their disappointing away record does not bode well. Who would have guessed that Jewell’s men would have been battling for premiership survival after their impressive start to the season?
Even though both teams have not been at their best of late, you would expect Villa’s win at Blackburn to settle some nerves within the club. There is no doubt that Villa have some quality players, although we have yet to see the likes of Petrov and Maloney shine. Wigan need a gutsy performance to bring away any points, and while the odds are stacked against them they do have a chance. However, on balance you have to go for Villa who should use their home advantage to push home a win.
Forecast : Home Win