This clash focusses on two of the Premier League strugglers for the 2012/13 campaign, with both Wigan and Aston Villa experiencing disastrous seasons. In the case of Wigan, the result has been fatal with the Latics preparing for life in the Championship after suffering relegation earlier this week. Aston Villa have just escaped and the competitive nature of the bottom half means that they could actual finish in the middle reaches of the table if results go their way this weekend.
Nobody can still believe the events over the past seven days, with Wigan going from FA Cup victors to a relegated Premier League outfit in a matter of days. It remains to be seen if such an event will ever happen again but unlike previous campaigns, the Latics simply couldn’t respond from their early season slump to pick up sufficient points and remain in the top flight. While fans will still be jubilant following their Cup exploits, that joy is sure to be short-lived when reality sinks in that the DW Stadium outfit will be playing Championship football next term – most likely without their talented manager Roberto Martinez. The Spaniard has all but confirmed he will leave the club and take a new post in the very near future and while he has been part of this season’s relegation, most supporters will remember the fluent football he brought to the club and of course their victory in the greatest domestic cup competition in sport.
The funny thing is that Aston Villa supporters are probably even more disgruntled with their team, even though they have avoided the drop. The club have been battling in and around the bottom three for much of the season and there were times where a lot of people had written off their chances of survival. However, a decent run of form through March and April has preserved their top flight status, although fans’ opinions are still out on Paul Lambert who has really struggled to adapt to the role he was appointed to in the summer.
Wigan have been handed a piece of bad news for the clash with Callum McManaman poised to miss out after damaging his ankle ligaments in the recent defeat to Arsenal. Roberto Martinez at least has something to smile about in relation to Jean Beausejour though, with the defender poised to start after recovering from a hamstring injury. Aston Villa on the other hand will be missing their star man, with Christian Benteke set to be kept out through suspension. Ciaran Clark is another absentee as he struggles with a foot problem, although Karim El Ahmadi and Matthew Lowton are both back in the reckoning following injuries.
This is another Premier League match that could involve another manager set to depart, with Roberto Martinez widely tipped to leave Wigan in the summer. With that, we think the Latics players will put up a decent fight for their manager, especially as they hold the home advantage over an Aston Villa side that have struggled immensely throughout this campaign.