Arsenal plays Wigan in Monday Night Football.
Its is a long season. And the progress of Arsenal Football Club, through the tortuous campaign of Premier League football, proves that more than any other team. First they were rubbish, then they were amazing, then they were rubbish. Now they’re amazing again.
Public opinion has followed a similar course for Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger. First he was an idiot, then a genius, then an idiot. Now he’s a genius again.
It’s hard to keep track. But as we stand Arsenal have a five point gap on Tottenham. They sit third and look well placed to cling onto that all important position and secure Champions League football for the 2012/2013 season.
There are still questions to be asked of this side, and if the current trophy drought continues these questions will only intensify, as they have at points during the season.
Wigan enjoyed a miracle exit from relegation on the final day of last season, and although they sit 17th, similar heroics may be required once again.
But perhaps not. Wigan celebrated a David vs Goliath victory against Manchester United, beating the Mancunian side 1-0 at the DW Stadium in a result Wigan Chairman Dave Whelan described elsewhere as one of the best in the club’s history.
A stirring performance against Chelsea in their previous outing also offers some signs that Wigan may have what is required to stay in the top division of English football.
If you sit near the bottom of the table you can be said to have many bogey teams, but Arsenal are perhaps more of a thorn in Wigan’s side than any other. Arsenal have scored 19 goals in their six previous matches with Wigan at an average of 3.16 per game.
And poor Wigan are the only Premier League side to have played at least five times at Arsenal without ever taking even a point.
But Roberto Martinez’s men have proven they are capable of turning expectations, and past history, on its head. There are fewer and fewer games in which any more vital points can be secured for survival.
Arsenal come into the game in scintillating form. Wigan come in willing and able to fight.
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