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Arsenal vs. Wigan Athletic: Team News and Match Preview


Alex Livesey

Arsenal vs. Wigan Athletic
Kickoff: Tuesday, May 14, 2:45 PM EDT
Emirates Stadium, London, England
TV: Fox Soccer Channel
SB Nation Wigan Coverage: Pie Eaters Footie

Arsenal welcome the newly-crowned FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic to the Emirates tomorrow in what is a crucial but also worth-three-points-like-all-the-others Premier League match.

That being said, I am basically a wreck at this point of the season. WHY CAN'T WE JUST PLAY ALL 38 MATCHES AT ONCE?

Wigan are fighting for their Premier League survival, so they need the three points just as badly as Arsenal do tomorrow, so there will be no shortage of attacking play. Roberto Martinez can piece together something looking like an attack when he needs to, and this will probably work out for Arsenal, too, as the Gunners tend to play more freely against teams who leave space rather than those who just play a 4-5-1 and stand tall. Wigan may also be a little tired from their cup win over the weekend, so Arsenal should have space to roam.

And roam they must. The three points are crucial to stay ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, and the goal is simple: win the last two games, and the Champions League (at least a qualifier) is in Arsenal's hands. Arsenal will go into the match tomorrow with everyone but Abou Diaby (Diaby'd) and Olivier Giroud (suspended) available to them, including Lukasz Fabianski and Kieran Gibbs. There seems little reason to change much about who has been playing for the past couple of games other than the somewhat blah performances of Lukas Podolski at center forward. I might submit the following team sheet were I Arsene Wenger (I'm not; don't worry):

Sagna - Mertesacker - Koscielny - Gibbs
Ramsey - Arteta
Ox - Rosicky - Podolski Cazorla, duh, I'm a moron

But there are options. Does Wenger bring Ox off the bench? Does he start *gasp* Gervinho? Does Andrei Arshavin play (0.1% chance this happens, but man)...

Wigan, for their part, might be without Ronnie Stam, Jean Beausejour, and Maynor Figueroa, so they're a little beat up. In combination with their lack of rest, hopefully Arsenal won't have to shake off any rust, and can do the business and score a bunch early.

Three points. Just win, baby.

Match prediction (let's all just mellow out):