Newcastle take on Wigan this afternoon, with both sides desperate for three points for differing yet broadly similar reasons.
For Wigan it’s starting to look perilous with a gap between themselves and 17th placed Aston Villa starting to open up. For Newcastle, the need to pick up three points to prevent ourselves being sucked back into the relegation mix is what should be our motivating reason for today.
Both sides need the points and both sides are capable of getting them although it could be argued that Wigan’s need is actually greater than ours as the table stands currently. It’s an interesting game in prospect, but I hope we manage to give a good account of ourselves rather than the usual non-performance our trips to Wigan have become known for.
The headline team news is that Hatem Ben Arfa has been ruled out for the remainder of the season and will undergo surgery on his hamstring. I say headline but it’s not really as we’ve coped without him for most of the season anyway and will just have to continue to do so. Other team news and assorted titbits can be viewed here in the match preview.
Full confirmation of team news will be provided at the bottom of this article and will be added by me as I’m not stuck in delays of 25 hours caused by snow on the continent like I was on Thursday. That’s also the reason why there was no match report following the Anzhi game. I’ve still only seen the goal so it would be a bit wrong to write up a report when I’ve not seen anything of the game. However if you asked me to write a report on the field in France I spent hours parked up next to I could have provided some real detail about it!
The game is live here in the UK for a change and can be viewed on Sky Sports 1. However if you’re not at the game and don’t have Sky then you’ll most likely need a stream to watch the game on. A whole host of overseas broadcasters are showing the game so getting hold of one shouldn’t be too much of a problem. If you do find one please don’t be shy with it and share the stream by leaving the link in the ‘comments’ section below.
Which neatly wraps this up and now it’s over to the players and manager at the DW Stadium to form the basis of my match report. Hopefully I can write a positive one for a change, which is something I’m not used to doing following trips to Wigan!
Howay the lads!
Wigan: Joel Robles; Emmerson Boyce, Antolin Alcaraz, Paul Scharner, Maynor Figueroa; Shaun Maloney, James McCarthy, Jordi Gomez, Jean Beausejour; Callum McManaman, Arouna Koné
Subs: Ali Al-Habsi, Ronnie Stam, Gary Caldwell, Angelo Henriquez, James McArthur, Roman Golobart, Franco Di Santo
Newcastle: Rob Elliot; Mathieu Debuchy, Steven Taylor, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Davide Santon; Cheik Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez; Sylvain Marveaux, Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran; Papiss Cisse
Subs: Steve Harper, Massadio Haidara, James Perch, Vurnon Anita, Dan Gosling, Gabriel Obertan, Shola Ameobi