Without a home win so far this season, Wigan will be desperate to grab victory against newly-promoted West Ham United at the DW Stadium. Sam Allardyce’s side were relegated to the Championship two seasons ago after defeat against the Latics, so West Ham fans will make the trip up north looking for redemption.
Once again, Roberto Martinez’s side are struggling for form. Just like last season, they have five points from their opening eight league games. Martinez has had the opportunity to move away from Wigan on many occasions, but has remained loyal to chairman Dave Whelan and is still keen on playing attractive football to produce positive results. The Spaniard’s philosophy has drawn admiration, but not results and with star man Victor Moses sold to Chelsea this summer, Wigan are looking for a talisman to save them from the drop.
Loan signing Ryo Miyaichi is doubtful for the game with the Hammers after suffering a slight groin injury and Antolin Alcaraz is suffering from the same problem. Albert Crusat is sidelined with a knee worry. Wigan have only one win this season, a 2-0 triumph away at Southampton, and Martinez will be looking for Arouna Kone and Franco di Santo, the scorers that day, to provide the spark against West Ham on Saturday.
Allardyce’s side have made their best start to a top-flight season since 1999, picking up 14 points in their opening eight games. The West Ham boss has been criticised for conjuring an opposite style of play to Martinez, but has produced results and the Hammers sit seventh after last weekend’s solid 4-1 victory over Southampton at Upton Park. That win over the Saints was easy on the eye and Allardyce will be looking for a similar performance against the Latics.
Joey O’Brien returns for the away side after recovering from a hamstring injury and Allardyce also has Matthew Taylor and Guy Demel imminently returning, although they will not feature at Wigan. The West Ham boss is expected to continue with Andy Carroll up front, despite Modibo Maiga adding his name to the scoresheet against Southampton. Kevin Nolan’s goal last weekend takes him to four for the season in the league and Allardyce will be looking for the midfielder to maintain that form as West Ham look to re-establish themselves as a Premier League outfit.
West Ham have lost just one of their last 13 away games, the 3-0 defeat to Swansea at the start of the season, and Allardyce will be searching to keep that defeat at just one. The Hammers are building a solid foundation and Wigan will have a difficult task to secure their first home win of the campaign. Martinez will be used to the pressure of fighting relegation, but will want victories quickly with Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City to face in November.
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