Wigan suspensions could be crucial for Hammers

Wigan Athletic come to Upton Park on Saturday for their relegation showdown missing two key players.

THE trouble with the West Ham board designating that Saturday’s clash at Upton Park is a ‘save our season’ match, is that it heaps even more pressure on the beleaguered players.

It will also give more ammunition to the fans if things go wrong. Saturday saw them hit the manager with irony, sarcasm and more than a little wit.

If things go badly on Saturday, then anything could happen – we will certainly hear some hyperbole, but probably not too many euphemisms!

But when you look at it on paper, there seems little reason to suspect that it will go wrong when Wigan come to East London on Saturday.

Manchester United made the Hammers’ job this weekend a whole lot easier, by not only beating the Latics 2-0, but also seeing two of their players get sent off.

Captain Antolin Alcaraz and striker Hugo Rodallega are two of the star men in Wigan’s team and their absence must surely give the Hammers a golden chance to record their second win of the league campaign.

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Roberto Martinez’s side are another struggling at the wrong end of the Premier League. They have 14 points from as many games, and sit third from bottom in the table.

They have won one away game this season, a magnificent triumph at Spurs, but Rodallega, who scored one of his four goals in that game, will not be at Upton Park on Saturday.

One man who will is Charles N’Zogbia, who has been in superb recent form and grabbed three goals already this term.

His breaks from midfield into the box will be something that West Ham will have to guard against and therefore he is the one to watch.

The likes of Victor Moses and Franco Di Santo may also be a handful, but in truth, this is a Wigan side that really should be beaten on Saturday.

Last season saw an excellent 3-2 win in a real thriller at Upton Park, as Ilan, and Radoslav Kovac the unlikely scorers, before Scott Parker scored the winner 13 minutes from time.

Parker’s availability may be the crucial factor in the destiny of this game. If he is there, it is tough to see West Ham not grabbing a priceless three points, if not, who knows what sort of team might turn up?

Let’s be positive and assume that not only will Parker return, Valon Behrami might be fit too.

Then, maybe West Ham can just about save their season.

Possible team: Al Habsi, Figueroa, Gohouri, Stam, Diame, N’Zogbia, Cleverley, Gomez, Moses, Thomas, Di Santo.


West Ham 1 Wigan Athletic 0