Will Wigan Athletic do the great escape again?

Will Wigan Athletic repeat recent history and beat the drop?

End of season form tells more about a team than at any other stage in the season.

Certain things are becoming easier to predict - like the annual two week period where Arsenal drop out of all competitions before mounting a final assault on the Champions League places.

Or pre–season hopeful optimism from Liverpool about a Champions League place challenge becoming talk of a Europa league place challenge somewhere around the 10 /12 game to play mark.

At the lower end of the table though there is another phenomenon known as Wigan Athletic – a club who have made a habit of being relegation certainties around Christmas time before experiencing a phoenix like surge up the table in the closing stages of the season.

But is this a season too far for Wigan? Will Wigan do the great escape again?

Wigan experienced a somewhat fortuitous home win over Newcastle at the weekend - but what is important about that (besides the obvious 3 points) is the fact that it was a home win.

Wigan’s home form this season has been their downfall – they have kept no clean sheets and have (on average) conceded over two goals per game (whereas if the table was based on away results – Wigan would be 10th).

But if Wigan have started to turn the tide at home - then it will obviously be a massive plus for them. Wigan have four games left at home this season in the league.

Two of these games especially are very much winnable (against relegation rivals Aston Villa and hopeless travellers Norwich) whilst the other games (against West Brom and Spurs) should provide tougher tests – but should by no means be considered inevitable losses due to Wigan’s famed unpredictability.

Away from home, Wigan have 5 games left to play in the league (with two of those games coming against Arsenal and Manchester City). But whilst Wigan’s form against the higher placed teams in the premiership hasn’t been great – their results against the teams in the lower half of the table have been encouraging.

Wigan still need to travel to West Ham and QPR and these are games that the form book and previous results would suggest that Wigan are capable of winning.

With everything taken into account – I think that Wigan (on current form) could potentially finish the season on around 39 points. Would that be enough for safety?

It has been before – but it would also rely on a team placed above them in the table being drawn into (and losing) a real relegation scrap (on current form – possibly Sunderland? Or even Stoke?).

That therefore means that the next two games for Wigan (at home to Norwich and away to QPR) are completely crucial and will have a dramatic impact on the final table.

Beyond that requires a level of “great escape” that rewrites the form book – something that in theory is completely possible - no matter how implausible it may seem. It certainly isn’t beyond Wigan – but it will be closer than ever before.

Will Wigan do the great escape again? I want to say yes....

image: © illarterate

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