Friday, March 9, 2012
Norwich City will welcome a return to familiar surroundings after a gruelling trip to Stoke. Wigan will arguably welcome a break from the DW Stadium.
Roberto Martinez’s strugglers have still only won once on home turf in the Premier League this season. A bald statistic which more than any other underlines the depth of their plight. On the road, they have taken as many points as eighth-placed Fulham - which makes them a dangerous proposition.
Freed from similar relegation anxieties, Norwich should be too good at Carrow Road in front of their home fans.
City have two fresh additions in their ranks in Jonny Howson and Ryan Bennett who will be desperate to impress given any opportunity - which in turn serves only to heighten competition amongst those already in possession of the shirts.
Given Norwich’s run-in, Wigan at home looks a considerably easier proposition. City still have three of the top four left to tackle. But the Latics are in a sorry state. That sense of desperation can galvanise a squad who showed heart and bottle to survive on the final day last season.
Wigan also proved on the opening day of the season against the Canaries they have attacking potential in the shape of Victor Moses, Franco Di Santo and Hugo Rodallega. Keeping them out at the other end is the major problem. Norwich need their creative players to perform. Subject to selection, this is a day for the likes of Andrew Surman, Wes Hoolahan and Anthony Pilkington to take centre stage. City have more than enough firepower at the top end of the pitch to profit. Allow Wigan any encouragement and the dynamic changes. City have lost their last two at home in league and cup. A third against a team scrapping for survival would start to take the shine off a memorable campaign to date.
• Norwich City 3, Wigan 1