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[Archived] Rovers v Wigan


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Wigan Preview

Is it too early to say this game is a six pointer? Since Wigan were promoted in 2005 this fixture has averaged 3.3 goals per game with Rovers winning 6 of the 10 meetings in the Premier League, drawing 2 and losing 2. No surprise that there’s been more cards in this fixture than goals. Having not lost at home to Wigan in the Premier League, we will be favourites to win this game and most Rovers fans will expect nothing less than three points.

Previous Meetings

There have been some memorable fixtures in the last five years, from great goals from Reid, Roque and Pedersen, to the game with just about everything - two players scoring hat-tricks, a sending off and two controversial goals. Not forgetting the game in which Samba was sent off early on but we still won comfortably, Palacios was sent off for Wigan in that game too. Also losing this fixture 3-0 was the end for Paul Ince.

For me the most memorable game against Wigan was back in April 2009, we played host to Wigan Athletic at Ewood Park with just 34 points going into this game and only 3 points above the relegation zone. Wigan, however were sitting pretty in 10th place. Middlesbrough had lost 2-0 to Arsenal in the early kick off before our game, so a win would almost guarantee our Premier League status for another season.

I wasn’t at Ewood Park for the Wigan game; instead I was down at the Sky Sports Studios in London commentating on the game in the Fanzone booth. I don’t remember much of the first half, but just before half time Benni McCarthy scored to give us a 1-0 lead going into the break. I remember saying “what a great time to score” and screaming really loud, as you do ;) At half time I was confident we’d go on to win the game and score another goal. I have to give Samba some credit for this too; he was fouled which resulted in a free kick about 20 yards out. I seem to remember it was a dubious decision by Peter Walton to award the free kick. Then from Benni McCarthy's free kick Samba wrestled Kirkland (see image below) there was Ryan Nelsen to flick the ball into the net to make it 2-0 and score his first goal for Rovers after 140 appearances. I screamed “Nelsen, his first goal ever for Rovers, I love you, I love you” and out came my ‘who ate all the pies’ t-shirt. Nelsen made me the happiest person in the world on that day. This is why I love him so much, but you all knew that anyway!


WARNING – Cringe Alert


Wigan Preview cont.

So we’re now second bottom in the Form Table just above Wolves having only picked up 5 points from our last 6 games, not the start we all wanted but as we all know - it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish (something Jason Roberts can’t do) and Wigan are not exactly on fine form.

Wigan’s results so far this season

Wigan 0 – 4 Blackpool

Wigan 0 – 6 Chelsea

Tottenham 0 – 1 Wigan

Wigan 1 – 1 Sunderland

Wigan 0 – 2 Man City

Birmingham 0 – 0 Wigan

Wigan 2 – 0 Wolverhampton

Newcastle 2 – 2 Wigan

Wigan 1 – 1 Bolton

Fulham 2 – 0 Wigan

Compare that to our results this season and I’d say we’ve had a few tougher games against the likes of Everton, Arsenal and Liverpool. We’ve also matched or bettered results (except the Birmingham game) against Man City, Fulham, Blackpool, Sunderland and Chelsea (ok we still lost but the goal difference could be decisive at the end of the season.

Rovers' results so far this season

Blackburn 1 – 0 Everton

Birmingham 2 – 1 Blackburn

Blackburn 1 – 2 Arsenal

Man City 1 – 1 Blackburn

Blackburn 1 – 1 Fulham

Blackpool 1 – 2 Blackburn

Stoke 1 – 0 Blackburn

Blackburn 0 – 0 Sunderland

Liverpool 2 – 1 Blackburn

Blackburn 1 – 2 Chelsea

As you can see, Rovers have only failed to score against Stoke and Sunderland (understandable when we had 10 men for 45 minutes) On the other hand, the only game in which we scored more than one goal was the Blackpool game and one goal was scored by a Blackpool player.

Wigan have failed to score in 5 of their 10 games this season and have only managed 3 goals away from home but you just don’t know what to expect with Wigan, they lose 6-0 to Chelsea one week but beat Tottenham the week after. They've kept two clean sheets away from home and we've only kept two in both our home and away games. On that evidence, a 1-0 win for Rovers could be a good bet.

Let’s hope we keep the same side from last week and Benjani and Givet are fit.

According to the Daily Mail we played a 4123 formation against Chelsea


Salgado Samba Nelsen Givet


Emerton Pedersen

MB Diouf Benjani EH Diouf

Wigan played a 451 formation against Fulham

Al Habsi

Stam G Caldwell Alcarez Figueroa

N’Zogbia Diame Thomas Cleverley Rodellega

Di Santo

I know we’re capable of beating that Wigan side but I’m not underestimating them. I think they have a few decent attacking options with N’Zogbia, Cleverley, Rodellega and......Di Santo ;) Also Wigan had attacking options on the bench against Fulham - Gomez, Moses and Boselli. With Wigan likely to play five in midfield, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sam changed the formation slightly.

Also, according to ESPN, Rovers have only had 29 shots on target this season to Wigan’s 42, I know we can take a lot of positives from the Chelsea game but we’re just simply not creating enough chances and scoring enough goals so this game might not be as easy as you think.


A Latics supporter I went to school with agreed to answer a few questions

You were tipped by so many to be relegated at the start of the season and are still 5/4 odds to be relegated. (Now odds of 5/6) Would you swap the inexperience of Roberto Martinez for the experience of Sam Allardyce who has a decent record of keeping teams in the Premier League?

Every season since being promoted to this Division we are favourites to be in the bottom 3, yet 6 seasons later we are still here. Even with someone like Allardyce in charge we would still probably be one of the favourites to go down. I wouldn’t swap Martinez for Allardyce, no. However, that is more personal preference as Martinez is a Wigan legend, and I’m not particularly a fan of the way Allardyce gets his team to play the game.

Name one Rovers player you would like to see at Wigan.

Definitely Samba. I think central defence is currently one of our weakest areas; he would be exactly the type of guy I’d happily see in the Wigan back four.

In your opinion which Rovers player poses the biggest threat in this game?

Probably Kalinic. Looks like a decent striker and could potentially cause us some problems at the back.

Where do you think Wigan and Rovers will finish in the league this season?

Wigan – 15th, Blackburn – 14th

You are on a decent run in the Carling Cup, do you think you will go one better than in the 2005/2006 season? And by that I don’t mean losing 4-1 in the final ;) but winning your first major trophy.

Firstly, we lost 4-0 in the final! Hopefully if we get a decent draw next round we can go on to the semi’s, and who knows? Nobody expected us to make the final last time, especially drawing Arsenal in the semi-final. I’d love to win the League Cup though, I’d happily take a League Cup win and finish 17th. I hope we play our strongest XI for the remaining games in the competition. If you don’t play these cup games to try and win it, what is the point in being in it?

A lot of Wigan players have moved onto ‘bigger clubs’ and you have received a decent amount in transfer fees, are you happy with Martinez’s replacements? Or do you feel he showed his inexperience in the transfer market by spending £2 million on a player like Jason Scotland?

I think it showed a lot of inexperience to spend £2million on a 30 year old Championship striker. It’s a big step up to the Prem, and Scotland proved that. He was awful. I’m also not impressed with Jordi Gomez who Martinez brought from Swansea as well. Boselli has looked sh*t as well so far. All in all, not too impressed with his transfer purchases so far.

Franco Di Santo apparently said this about Rovers, "We cannot compare Blackburn, which is just a mid-table club, to a Chelsea side that has the best players in the world." Now he’s no longer at Chelsea do you think he has realised he is not one of the ‘best players in the world’ Do you feel he is using Wigan as a stepping stone to join a bigger club? Or has the move brought him down to earth?

I’ve only seen Di Santo in a handful of games for us, but so far I’ve not been overly impressed with him. Runs around a lot, but doesn’t seem to actually do much. Obviously its early days for us, but from what I’ve heard off Blackburn fans as well, I’m not holding out too much hope. I’m not sure where he thinks he belongs, but I’d say mid table to bottom of the Premier League is roughly where he belongs.

What did you think of my appearance on Sky Sports’ Fanzone? I must admit I didn’t like the female commentator on Match of the Day but I’d like to think I did a better job than her.

Lol! I only caught the few bits that you posted on facebook, I found it pretty funny! I would never watch that fanzone thing anyway, but I’m sure it was an enjoyable afternoon to take part in it.

What do you think of the proposed takeover at Blackburn? Do you think the wealthy foreign owners buying English clubs is a good thing for English football or do you feel it is ruining the beautiful game.

Don’t really have much of an opinion of the proposed takeover of Blackburn. From what I’ve read online it seems they aren’t going to be splashing the cash anyway. As for money in general, I wouldn’t go as far as saying its ‘ruining’ the beautiful game, but it’s definitely changing the English game. It has meant the top ‘rich’ teams can now just easily buy all the best players, making it a lot harder for even mid table teams to compete. Clubs go to places like Stamford Bridge now and are delighted with a point, nobody really goes there and has a real go at it. I think it makes the league more boring for fans of smaller teams like Wigan, Blackburn, Bolton etc. Probably more exciting for the armchair fan who sits down to watch the best players in the world on Sky though.

And finally your prediction for the game

Could go either way, but my money would be on a 1-1 draw.

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Nice preview.

I had the mispleasure of watching Wigan at Fulham on Saturday as my mate got me a free ticket. Wigan are DREADFUL. I cant remember one decent chance that they created and they are all over the place at the back.

They have two decent players in N'Zogbia and Rodallega, stop them and you stop Wigan.

We HAVE to win this one given our upcoming fixtures. I just hope the pressure doesn't get to the team because they know if we don't win then we're in for one hell of a bumpy ride.

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Not able to make this one but if we don't win then it looks grim for us and for Sam. I think we will do enough however, Wigan really are one of the poorer sides in this league and if we can't beat them at home we deserve to go down.

I'd like to see the Diouf's on the wings supporting Benjani up top but no idea which 3 to play in the centre - I still want to see Linganzi given a shot but there's no chance.

2-0 Rovers, Benjani and Samba with the goals.

Fail to win and the new guys may have a decision to make soon over Sam.

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I think the team will set out the same style as against Chelsea last Sat and we are due to spank a team. I cant even remember the last time we did without having to Google it.

My prediction for Sat will be 3-1 Rovers, with it being 1-1 at half time then the team get a rolocking off Sam at HT then we come out and win the game.

Im going to stick £10 on Samba 1st goal and rovers to win 3-1. I have a funny feeling he will score this saturday.

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It all depends on which style of play the manager decides is best. The non-hoofball Chelsea game approach - home win. The hoofball he's insisted we play in almost every other game this season - at best a draw.

I'll be very disappointed if he decides that we need to regress back to the style that's got us in the bottom 3 - the Chelsea game showed what the players are capable of if unshackled and allowed to play a little by the manager. Credit to him and them for that but it'll all be undone if we revert to the hoof and lose.

A must win game - if we lose Sam's position starts to look very dodgy.

it being 1-1 at half time then the team get a rolocking off Sam at HT then we come out and win the game.

That'll be a turn up for the books! :rolleyes:

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Good grief Mark.

Jesus Den. THE MANAGER CHANGED HIS TACTICS. If you can't see it you should just give up posting because it's plain you've absolutely no idea about football whatsoever.

And instead of posting your snidey little remarks, try and post something constructive for once?

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Must win game considering where we are in the league and our upcoming fixtures. I wonder which Rovers will turn up?

The one that played against Chelsea in the first half (mixed passing game, players getting support to the lone striker, plenty of pressing and closing down) or the usual Rovers we have seen most of the season (hit and hope direct football, lone striker with no support and no fire in their belly).

I think i will predict a 1-0 Rovers win, E.Diouf with the goal in the first half after after a decent start by Rovers. As soon as the goal goes in we decide to sit back and go more direct looking to counter. Wigan put a lot of pressure on us in the second half but we manage to hang on for the win after some outstanding saves by Robbo and last ditch tackling by Samba.

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Play like we did against Chelski = 4-0 win

Play like we did in every other game = 1-2 loss

Jonesy is due a goal and Benji another one, if he starts.

I want to see 442 for this one. Think there is a decent chance of that because Dunn and Pedersen are not offering much. Not sure who would take the set pieces though. Nice to get look at Goulon too as a sub.


Olsson-------Jones------Emerton-----EH Diouf



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Sam has a record for pulling it out the bag in these 6 pointer must win games and I think anybody involved in the club realizes this is an absolutely must win.

So I am going to back us for a comfortable 2-0 win. 1-0 at half time with a bit of Wigan pressure early second half without them making to many chances then a goal at the end to seal the victory.

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