Wigan Athletic v West Bromwich Albion; DW Stadium, Tuesday 30th August 2022, 7.45pm
As the closure of the transfer window approaches with still no sign of any further signings, Steve Bruce’s team travel to Wigan looking for just their second league win of the season, despite infogol‘s xG statistics suggesting that the Baggies should be top of the league based on expected goals.
At Huddersfield, the Baggies had comfortably the best chances of the match but Chelsea loanee, Tino Anjorin, produced one wondergoal and capitalised on a dreadful error from Albion’s match day captain, Dara O’Shea, to put the hosts 2-0 up. Jed Wallace’s own double squared things up but the visitors couldn’t find the winner their domination of the game deserved despite two other big chances, one for Grant and one for Okay.
It’s becoming a familiar story albeit Albion at least scored twice at the John Smith’s Stadium and, had it not been for O’Shea’s error, they may well have picked up the three points but the draw leaves them in the bottom half of the table. Promotion favourites, Burnley, Norwich and Watford have started to pick up results and Albion need to do so quickly if they are not to fall too far adrift.
Tuesday night’s opponents, Wigan, were on the end of a battering by Burnley on Saturday, losing 5-1 at home, and are yet to with at the DW Stadium this season. The only victory earned by Leam Richardson’s team so far was a 1-0 win away to Birmingham City last week and they sit five places and one point below Albion in 20th albeit they have a game in hand.
The Latics have been fairly quiet during the summer window with Ryan Nyambe, a free transfer from Blackburn Rovers, their only permanent signing. Striker, Ashley Fletcher, has joined on loan from Watford while their only other summer addition is Spurs youngster, Nathan Broadhead, who has already had an impact scoring the winner at St Andrew’s. One player that will be familiar to Baggies fans is James McClean who rejoined Wigan last summer scoring ten goals in their promotion season. The 33-year old opened his account this campaign with the opener in the 1-1 draw with Norwich City.
Steve Bruce and Albion fans alike remain frustrated as the team’s good performances continue to go largely unrewarded. The O’Shea error and the failure of referee, Andy Davies, and his team to award a penalty for a clear foul on Grant cost them two points on Saturday but they created enough other chances to have taken all three points regardless.
Assuming all are fit, I’m not expecting to see any changes to the starting line up for this match, with none of the fringe players properly in contention for a call up to the starting eleven despite some below par performances of late.
However, that starting eleven need to start turning draws into victories and climb the table quickly if the Baggies are to challenge for promotion. Tuesday’s trip to Wigan represents a great opportunity with the newly promoted side likely to be low in confidence following their heavy defeat at the hands of Burnley last weekend. An early goal for Albion could see heads drop again.
This is the last game before the transfer window closes and three points will help the anxiety as fans watch the news sites and Sky Sports News for the following 48 hours hoping for reports of new faces at the Hawthorns.
Tuesday evening’s match is just the 25th meeting between the clubs and this season is only the eleventh in which Albion and Wigan have been in the same division with half of those being in the Premier League. The Latics have spent only eight seasons in the top flight in their entire history, all of them coming in an unbroken run in the Premier League from 2005 to 2013.
The clubs first met at Springfield Park in a League Cup tie in September 1984, a game which finished goalless. The two clubs found themselves in the same division for the first time when the Baggies were relegated to Division Three in 1991. They recorded their first win in Wigan on Boxing Day of that year with a 1-0 victory courtesy of a Craig Shakespeare penalty.
That was Albion’s only victory at Springfield Park before Athletic moved to what is now known as the DW Stadium in 1999. The Baggies’ first two visits to Wigan’s new home resulted in home wins with the 3-1 defeat in the League Cup in October 2002 thanks to a hat trick from future Baggie, Nathan Ellington, proving to be the Latics’ biggest win over Albion.
All of the Baggies’ wins in Wigan have been by a solitary goal with the first at the JJB Stadium coming in the Premier League in January 2006 – Martin Albrechtsen scored the only goal of the game most remembered for a series of excellent saves from Albion’s Pole-in-Goal, Tomasz Kuszczak. Albion’s only other win in that particular part of Lancashire was in November 2012 when a goal from James Morrison and an own goal from Gary Caldwell proved to be enough to secure a 2-1 victory.
In December 2019, Slaven Bilić opted to rest star players Matheus Pereira and Grady Diangana for the trip to Wigan with a tough run of matches coming up. It backfired as Albion, then top of the league and ten points clear of third spot after six successive victories, could only draw 1-1 starting a run of just one win in nine league games that put their promotion challenge in jeopardy.
All competitions; most recent game on the right
29 Feb 2020 – League Championship
West Brom 0
Wigan Athletic 1 (Morsy)
Last meeting at Wigan Athletic
11 Dec 2019 – League Championship
Wigan Athletic 1 (Johnstone (o.g.))
West Brom 1 (Austin)
5 Jan 2019 – FA Cup 3rd Round
West Brom 1 (Sako)
Wigan Athletic 0
Last win at Wigan Athletic
10 Nov 2012 – Premier League
Wigan Athletic 1 (Koné)
West Brom 2 (Morrison, Caldwell (o.g.))
Albion’s Record against Wigan Athletic
If you cannot see the tables, click here.