Wigan’s season is in urgent need of resuscitation and not for the first time. This time last year Charles N’Zogbia inspired the Lactics to a late flourish, resulting in a 16th-place finish, three points clear of the bottom three after spending most of the season perilously close to the Premier League trap door. N’Zogbia soon departed for Aston Villa and a former teammate looks intent on inspiring yet another great escape.
Wigan are unbeaten in four and have won their last two games, recording back to back wins for the first time this season by beating Liverpool and Stoke. Ahead of a daunting run of games that includes Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle, they will need Moses, the Premier League leader in dribbles, at his bewitching best.
Roberto Martinez is a frequent vocal supporter of Moses, revealing to Sky Sports that: “He is a big asset for our football club. He is only a young man but the manner in which he is taking responsibility and playing his football in the circumstances we are in shows how strong-minded he is.” Martinez also believes that the recent resolution of his uncertain international future will also have a positive effect for both Moses and Wigan. Having represented England at youth level, he has pledged his allegiance to his native Nigeria and featured in a recent African Cup of Nations qualifier against Rwanda.
With just over a year remaining on his current deal, Moses also has the added incentive of impressing potential summer suitors. A mooted move to QPR failed to materialise in January but Liverpool, Spurs and Sunderland are all believed to hold a long term interest in the winger. Keeping his options open, Sky Sports also reported Moses as saying: “I believe Wigan will escape relegation, but I don’t think I would go down with them if the reverse is the case at the end of the season.” His agent Tony Finnigan has followed suit, confirming to the Daily Mail that: “My phone goes all the time. Victor’s got his admirers out there. He is obviously on the radar of other clubs, he is a young player in the Premier League playing really well.”
A six-point gap has opened up between nineteenth-placed Wigan on 28 points and rock bottom Wolves, stuck on 22 points and looking ill-equipped to claw their way out of danger. Both Blackburn and QPR have the same number of points as Wigan, with Bolton currently one point better off with 29 points in sixteenth position, with the possible benefit of a game in hand.
It is a battle that is likely to continue until the final day of the season, when Wigan host Wolves, after travelling to Blackburn in their preceding game. These matches will almost certainly define not only their season but their foreseeable future, with 88% of their revenue subsidised by Premier League television money, relegation would be catastrophic.
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