After taking just one point from their last nine league games, Sunderland are under tremendous pressure to win this game, especially since Wigan are one of the relegation strugglers. The Latics escaped the bottom three as they beat Blackpool away and they are now hoping to bring at least one point back from the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland in problems
Sunderland have made a lot of progress over the last few years and nobody was surprised to see the Black Cats in remarkable form during the first part of the league campaign, with impressive results against the top 6 teams proving that Sunderland have what it takes to fight with the best Premiership sides. However, numerous injuries to the playing squad took the wide out of their sails, with the run of eight defeats in last nine games seeing the Black Cats slip into the dangerous zone. Steve Bruce’s side are still five points clear of the bottom three and they need just few more points to ensure survival, so it is little wonder they are very motivated to win this game. Despite the recent dismal run, I believe that Sunderland have enough quality to beat struggling Wigan, although there is no doubt the hosts face a difficult task. Nonetheless, if the Black Cats manage to enter the game with the right mental approach, they should record a very important victory.
Frazier Campbell, Craig Gordon, John Mensah, Danny Welbeck and Titus Bramble are all sidelined with injuries, but Anton Ferdinand, Lee Cattermole and Kieran Richardson should return, which is going to be a big boost for the hosts.
Important victory over Blackpool
After narrowly surviving the last few seasons in the top flight, Wigan have been in the relegation fight from the very start of this league campaign, with the survival battle something that Latics have gotten used to. Following some dismal performances, Roberto Martinez’s side managed to improve their survival chances with wins over Birmingham and Blackpool, and they are now one point clear of the bottom three. Wigan have been pretty poor on the travels, but they will, nevertheless, try to take advantage of Sunderland’s problems and avoid defeat at the Stadium of Light, even if that is easier said than done. The Latics’ performances this season have shown they are probably the weakest side in the Premiership, so it is very likely that they will have problems matching the technically superior Sunderland side.
Roberto Martinez has no fresh injury worries, but Maynor Figueroa is banned for this match.
I am definitely not the fan of backing the teams that haven’t won in a while, but I just can’t look past Sunderland here. The Black Cats are superior to Wigan in every area of the pitch and they are unlikely to miss such a good chance to arrest their disappointing run of results.
Our prediction: Home win
Odds: 2.15 (23/20)
Bookmaker: William Hill