Such has been the bizarre recurrence of Wigan’s crucial late season bursts of form in recent years, that Roberto Martinez’s side have spawned a new canon of footballing clichés.
Whether it’s the one about Wigan blooming like the daffodils in spring, or the other that states that they only go forward when the clocks do, only two losses from their last seven games prove that, even if they are becoming the staple choice of rent-a-quote pundits, it’s impossible to argue with the sentiment.
Following their admirable 3-2 victory at the Hawthorns at the weekend, Martinez’s resurgent side know that a home victory will see them climb out of the bottom three, with only two games to go.
Showing grit, belief and no shortage of guile as they twice came from behind to beat West Brom on Saturday, Wigan’s fans will be confident of securing the victory needed.
They may have only recorded two home wins from their last 11, but if not for a last minute own goal from the unfortunate Emmerson Boyce against Spurs, their last three games at the DW Stadium would have secured nine points. Wigan are a team in form.
Swansea, meanwhile, are a team looking forward to the beach. They’ve won only once since their League Cup triumph over Bradford, and the signs are that Michael Laudrup’s squad have taken their foot off the gas somewhat, despite their boss’s assertions that they are determined to secure a top ten finish.
It’s why an away win is available at a generous 16/5, with Wigan favourites at 5/6. The draw is 13/5. Wigan not only have history on their side – they’ve won this home fixture on the last three occasions – but they also have a welcome boost with the news that their opponents’ leading scorer is not likely to make it.
Miguel Michu has scored 17 of Swansea’s 49 league goals this season, but after picking up a hamstring injury against Manchester City on Saturday, his season is likely to have come to a premature end. It leaves Swansea scratching their heads for goals, with Jonathan de Guzman (10/1 to score first) their second top scorer on eight, while the next man – with seven – no longer plays for them, as Danny Graham still searches for his first Sunderland goal.
Not only do Wigan have their leading man fully fit and in-form, with 11-goal Arouna Kone again on the scoresheet at the weekend and 9/2 favourite to break the deadlock, they also boast a supporting cast who’ve also regularly found the net recently.
Winger Callum McManaman (9/1) has scored in consecutive league games, while Shaun Maloney is proving to be Wigan’s Flying Scotsman with five goals this season, not to mention a number of crucial assists in recent weeks.
Maloney was his side’s creator in chief at the weekend and Martinez will again be looking to his 2011 signing from Celtic to again provide the spark.
At the back, Wigan may have shipped 64 goals this season, but they’ll fancy their chances of keeping their first clean sheet since March against a blunt Swansea attack – they’re 6/4 to do so.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.