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Wigan v Arsenal preview

By Charles Wollin



A cloud of uncertainty has surrounded Arsenal in recent weeks, but they could end the weekend in the Premier League's top three. This would be a significant feat for Arsene Wenger's side, having been in mid-table positions earlier in the month.

The future of Arsene Wenger, Arsenal's most successful manager, has been brought into question but the club's situation is not as bad as it appears heading into Saturday's trip to Wigan.

From their past seven Premier League fixtures, Arsenal have tasted defeated just once.

In that period, the club has netted 16 goals, including two five-goal hauls against London rivals Tottenham and most recently Reading, who they trounced 5-2 thanks to a Santi Cazorla hat-trick.

And despite negativity surrounding Emirates Stadium, Arsenal could leapfrog Tottenham and Chelsea into third position, depending on results.

Wenger is hoping the team's impressive performance at Madejski Stadium on Monday can spark a surge up the table; however they will face a difficult task at lowly Wigan.

"Football rewards teams (that) play quality football and that's what we want to focus on," he said.

"We now go to Wigan. It's another difficult place but we can do well again. Hopefully we'll get some confidence from the (Reading) game."

Wigan may sit third-from-bottom with 15 points from 17 games so far but it is nothing short of what we have come to expect during the first half of the season.

Roberto Martinez's troops stunned Arsenal in their most recent meeting, winning 2-1 at the Emirates last season courtesy of strikes from Franco Di Santo and Jordi Gomez.

The Manchester-based outfit have only lost once in three meetings with Arsenal on home soil, although that defeat was a 4-0 thrashing.

But their recent form is also a cause for concern, having collected a mere four points from the possible 21 on offer.

Wigan's Irish midfielder James McCarthy is likely to miss the match with an ankle injury sustained against Norwich last week, while vice-captain Antolin Alcaraz (groin) is not due back until the new year.

As for Arsenal, they have no fresh injury concerns with Abou Diaby (thigh) Lukasz Fabianski (ankle) and Andre Santos (abdominal) still recovering.

Prediction: 3-1 Arsenal. The North London club keep up where they left off against Reading and take care of business up North. Goals from Cazorla x2 and Lukas Podolski.