Team Profile

Wigan Athletic

Next Fixture: vs Burnley (A)

21st April 2014 ยท Kick off 15:00

     

Summer holiday

Dave Whelan once again fended off the interest of Premier League rivals to retain the services of manager Roberto Martinez, with the Spaniard staying put at the DW Stadium despite links to Liverpool and Tottenham. The Latics produced another great escape last season, with memorable victories during their run-in seeing them climb away from danger. Martinez has seen a number of key first-team player depart, including Hugo Rodallega and Mohamed Diame, and finally lost his fight to retain the services of Victor Moses.

The Boss

Wigan have only narrowly avoided relegation for the past two seasons, but Roberto Martinez remains a man very much in demand. Aston Villa were unable to lure him away from the Latics last year, while recent links to Anfield and White Hart Lane came to nothing. The Spaniard favours an attractive and fluid passing style, which explains why chairman Whelan remains convinced he will eventually move on for pastures new. Faces arguably his biggest challenge this season as he strives to bring in new faces and again keep the Latics in an increasingly competitive Premier League.

 Point to prove

Franco Di Santo

The jury remains out on the young Argentine striker, who still only has eight Premier League goals to his name for the Latics. The 23-year-old needs to repay the faith shown in him by Martinez.

 Driving force

Jordi Gomez

The Spanish playmaker is likely to be the Latics' most creative influence in midfield, particularly if the mercurial Moses departs. Chipped in with a number of important goals last season and boasts good vision.

 Defensive rock

Ali Al Habsi

Wigan's last line of defence may be guilty of the occasional wobble, but he is a superb shot-stopper who is one of the busiest goalkeepers in the top flight and produced four penalty saves last season.

Strengths & weaknesses

Wigan demonstrated at the end of last season that they can cut it against the best in the Premier League with memorable victories over Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Newcastle in a closing spell which included seven wins from their final nine games. But contrast that with an eight-game losing streak at the start of the season when they struggled to find the net and leaked goals at an alarming rate. Martinez favours a neat passing style, but his side also know how to battle, as their league-high foul count demonstrates.

What they say

Roberto Martinez - "We just need to take the good work we've done in pre-season into the period where we have to sharpen and try to find the perfect performance for Chelsea."

Jamie's verdict

Roberto Martinez has done a good job keeping Wigan up every year, but you have to worry for them. They haven't signed many players and you suspect they'll lose Victor Moses. You can pretty much guarantee they'll either go down or survive on the last day of the season and Wigan are never going to be anything different unless they invest a lot of money. They're doing great to stay in the Premier League.