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Wigan Athletic: 2011 Team Preview | EPL Betting Odds

English Premier League – Wigan Athletic 2011 Preview

Wigan Athletic was a popular dark-horse pick to finish the season in the upper half of the table last year. Unfortunately, they never showed up and finished the season in 16th place with a record of 9-14-15, barely escaping relegation.

Odds to win the 2011-12 Premiership Outright 5,000/1

The club had somewhat of a disastrous transfer season over the summer, and their hopes of fighting off the drop seem to be very distant from reality.

Manager, Roberto Martinez, is very promising, but way too experienced for the top level, but if his side can survive the upcoming season, he should be a very valuable asset down the line, and the club would be naïve to let him go.

During the transfer window, the Latics lost several of their key contributors, most notably midfielder Charles N’Zogbia, who was tied for a team-high nine goals and five assists. N’Zogbia will no doubt be missed, as the team lacks consistent production on offense.

Wigans goals-scored-to-goals-conceded ratio was just down right awful last year, surrendering 61 goals while only netting 40.

Goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi was brought over to help with the defense, but he is nothing more than an average goalie, and if they were betting all their marbles on him, it wasn’t the right move.

Defender Maynor Figueroa is the team’s best and most consistent defender, but aging legs call his fitness into question, and no one knows how long his tenure will last, let alone how many matches he will watch from the sidelines in 2011. [ad-3678122]

The loss of N’Zogbia leave a huge void in the Latics’ engine room, and the only other viable option, James McCarthy, is rumored to be the subject of transfer discussions. If McCarthy does indeed depart, the team will lean on Mohamed Diame to lead the group, and there are major questions as to whether he can do so.

Even as thin as the midfield is, the front line is the team’s weakest link, with the only notable choice being forward Hugo Rodalleda who scored just nine goals in 36 total appearances last season.

The team’s struggles to put up points and goals will continue as well as their inability go to keep them out.

A shame for a side that appeared to heading in the right direction just a year ago, and have now become the odds-on favorite to be relegated.

Matt’s Wigan Athletic Prediction:

Nothing better than 17th place for them is realistic at this point, so unfortunately, I expect that they will find themselves battling for their lives most of the season.

They do though, have a chance to return quite quickly as long as they hang on to their manager, but again that may be hard for them to do as a lot of big-name clubs could be eyeing him down the road.

If they loose Martinez, it could be a long time until we see them at this level again.

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