Wednesday night's big match preview

Wednesday night s clash at the JJB Stadium is of vital importance in the battle for a place in Europe, but it may not be one for the football purists. Steve The Excuse Bruce s side have scored just three goals in their last six games, while West Ham hav

Wednesday night's clash at the JJB Stadium is of vital importance in the battle for a place in Europe, but it may not be one for the football purists.

Steve 'The Excuse' Bruce's side have scored just three goals in their last six games, while West Ham have not faired a lot better, so it could be a case of whoever scores first wins.

Bruce was quick to slam the referee on Saturday at Stamford Bridge, with two of the flimsiest complaints in a long time, and we can expect something similar no doubt if things go against his boys tonight.

Wigan started the season superbly, despite their defeat to the Hammers on the opening day, with Amr Zaki leading the way as he grabbed 11 goals to help the Latics into the higher reaches of the Premier League.


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However, since the transfer window in January, things have not gone so well for Wigan.

They sold star man Wilson Palacios to Spurs, then let Emile Heskey join Aston Villa, while Ryan Taylor left for Newcastle as a makeweight in the deal that brought the notorious Charles 'Insomnia' N'Zogbia to the JJB.

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It certainly hasn't worked. Zaki hasn't scored since December 28, and Wigan haven't won in seven games, although four of those matches ended in draws, while the defeats were against Chelsea last weekend, as well as Manchester United and Manchester City.

History seems to be largely on West Ham's side too.

Last season, Kevin Kilbane's goal gave Wigan the three points, but that was their first home win in six attempts against the Hammers - the previous three seeing the east Londoners muscle their way to victories.

It would seem that the battle for seventh place is probably between West Ham, Wigan Athletic and Fulham and so tonight's game has an added significance.

Obviously the Latics have the advantage of being at home, while West Ham will miss Valon Behrami, who was suspended for this game even before he was injured against Manchester City.

Wigan are certainly tight at the back, with Chris Kirkland an able last line of defence.

They have let in only 26 goals in the Premier League compared to West Ham's 34 and that may be the toughest nut to crack.

It's going to be tight, and there are unlikely to be many goals, but it maybe that there won't be any at all and that would certainly suit West Ham more than the home team.

Probable team: Kirk-land, Melchiot, Boyce, Bra-mble, Figueroa, Scharner, Brown, Cattermole, Kapo, N'Zogbia, Zaki.

Prediction:

Wigan Ath 0 West Ham 0

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