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Rupert Wyman 1st Oct 2010 - 10:25

Bob's boys could sneak a win

Roberto Martinez first signed for Wigan Athletic as a player in 1995 when the club were in the bottom division in English football and with average crowds of around 4,000. Forward on fifteen years and the Spaniard is a manager under pressure at the club who are in their sixth consecutive year in the Premier League.

The Wigan Athletic story remains a remarkable tale, rising through the leagues and defying the pundits and odds each year to survive.  Martinez or 'Bob' as he is known in Wigan, joined the Latics as one of three Spanish signings dubbed 'The Three Amigos'  and along with Jesus Seba and Isidro Diaz helped the club to promotion in 1997.

The long association he has with the club ensured he was first choice when Steve Bruce abandoned the Latics to manage Sunderland. He brought with him his assistant Graeme Jones, another former Wigan legend. Jones scored 33 goals in 1997 and is a popular figure amongst the faithful.

The popularity the pair have with the fans and Chairman Dave Whelan has helped them survive at the club despite some horrendous performances in recent times including losing 9-1 to Spurs, 8-0 and 6-0 to Chelsea and probably the worst of the lot - an embarrassing opening 4-0 defeat at home to Blackpool this season. If you fancy Wolves to inflict another disaster on Martinez you can get 18/1 on them to win by three or more goals.

Following the home defeat to Chelsea earlier in the season rumours were rife that Martinez was about to lose his job sparking a massive gamble on him being the 2nd manager to leave.  Chairman Dave Whelan came out and backed his manager and insisted he is here for the long term. Bookies and punters alike have taken that vote of confidence with a pinch of salt and he still remains 5/2 favourite to be the next Premier League manager to go.

There have been signs of recovery recently for Wigan with a shock win at Spurs and a creditable draw away at Birmingham but this game should prove whether they have what it takes to survive this season. They are currently odds on to go down at 5/6. Martinez needs to get his side winning games at home to get themselves out of the relegation zone, they are 13/10 to get a much needed three points.

Both meetings between Wigan and Wolves last season ended as away wins with the home side not scoring. Wolves are 11/5 to win and the Draw is 11/5.

The major summer signing for Wigan was Argentinian Mauro Boselli but has failed to score so far and was dropped for the game at Birmingham. Many fans point to the fact that Martinez persists with one lone striker despite a lack of goals. Wigan have scored just two goals in six Premier League games this season and many believe it is time to change tactics and play Hugo Rodallega up front and part of a two man attack rather than on the wing.

Antolin Alcaraz scored Wigan's only goal at the DW Stadium this season, a late equaliser against ten man Sunderland. The Paraguayan centre back is a threat from set-pieces, he scored a World Cup goal against Italy, and you can get 33/1 for him to score first and 12/1 anytime.

I think the lack of goals will continue and a bet on under 1.5 goals in this game is a good bet at 2/1. I would certainly not rule out a 0-0 draw at odds of 8/1.

Wolves have also struggled this season and sit one place above Wigan in 17th place with just five points from six games and are without a victory since their opening day triumph at home to Stoke.  They went down to a late defeat in their derby game with Aston Villa last weekend and their confidence will have taken a knock.

Steven Fletcher has been their main threat up front and he is 13/2 to score first at the DW Stadium. Former Wigan player Marcus Bent is not guaranteed a start but if he does play will be looking to get one over on the club that released him, he is 9/1 to score first.

When Wigan played Chelsea earlier this season there was a very rare occurrence in Premier League football, a game without a single corner. You can get 19/20 on under ten corners in the match and 21/10 that the away team get the most corners.

Overall I think it will be a tight game and will be decided by a single goal either side. Therefore under 1.5 goals is the bet at 2/1. Home advantage could make the difference and I will be going for a 1-0 Wigan win at 6/1.

In the goalscorer market I would look for value so Alcaraz and Figueroa both at odds of 33/1 are worth a pound or two.

The game kicks off at 1.45pm on Sky Sports 2.


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