Newcastle vs. Wigan Athletic: 5 Key Battles for Magpies and Latics
Newcastle United have been a surprise top form team this season. Many never would have believed that they would do as well after selling Andy Carroll, Kevin Nolan, Jose Enrique and Joey Barton. However, they have emerged stronger than they have looked in years as they sit in fourth place in the Barclay's English Premier League after eight games.
Last weekend's come back draw against Tottenham Hotspur at St. James' Park was one of their most relevant results in so far as it proved that they could come back and win or at least draw at home.
This weekend's match with Wigan Athletic coming to the Toon should be a lock for another three points and a continued unbeaten run. Their match on Saturday will be the first in a run of about six games where they will have to make sure to get results, as following the Latics they will face Stoke City at the Britannia, Everton, Manchester City at Etihad Stadium, Manchester United at Old Trafford and then Chelsea at home.
Without a doubt this is a must-win for the Magpies as they gear up for a tough run of matches that could define their season, and there is no better way for them to start it off than with a trouncing of the Latics in front of the Toon Army.
Gabriel Obertan vs. Emmerson Boyce
Gabriel Obertan has looked a true talent since joining the Magpies and shedding his baggage back at Old Trafford with Manchester United.
Emmerson Boyce will have a test between Obertan as well as possible matchups to include Jonas Gutierrez and Hatem Ben Arfa at various times.
Ismael Cheik Tiote vs. Victor Moses
Victor Moses has tried to become the main creator behind Franco Di Santo in the absence of Hugo Rodallega's usual abilities that have been lacking in the six appearances the Colombian has been in.
Ismael Cheik Tiote will be the holding midfielder charged with holding Moses back from the center half's and shutting down any creative moves in the center of the park.
Yohan Cabaye vs. Ben Watson
Yohan Cabaye continues to look a class act since joining the Magpies from French side OSC Lille. The former champion of France has been the creative midfielder that Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan never truly were with his distribution. While Nolan could score goals and Barton could boss the midfield, neither had the vision of Cabaye.
Ben Watson will be battling it out with him in the center of the park, and it will be an interesting battle to see which of the two best midfielders from either side rises above the other.
Franco Di Santo vs. Fabricio Coloccini
Franco Di Santo has done his best to take the lead for Wigan in the absence of fellow striker Hugo Rodallega. However, his club is truly devoid of the creative influence to support him all by himself without another fellow striker drawing attention, and between injuries and a dip in form Rodallega has just not been himself this year.
Fabricio Coloccini has been a standout all season and only seems to be getting better for the Magpies. He will no doubt be sent to stamp out any chance that young Di Santo attempts to take or create for himself.
Demba Ba vs. Manuel Figueroa
Demba Ba has scored five goals in the last three games starting with a hat trick against Blackburn Rovers three weeks ago and followed by individual goals against Wolves and Tottenham.
Manuel Figueroa will take on Ba in the most important match up for the Latics as they hope to find a way to stifle the Magpies scoring chances.
Newcastle are favored to take the match, but you can never underestimate any team in the Premier League. However, that being said Wigan is the lowest in the league and are yet to have anything to be positive about this season so far.
For more information on all 10 of this week's EPL matches you can check out English Premier League: Week 9 EPL Match Previews and Predictions.
You can also read further on Newcastle and their story so far this season by taking a look at Newcastle United: Can Toon Army Be Shock Champions League Qualifiers?