The Emirates, tonight, 8pm, live Sky Sports 1
A COUPLE of weeks ago I would have been firing into Arsenal any which way possible for a home match with Wigan … handicaps, HT/FT etc, etc.
But Roberto Martinez's reborn side deserve to treated with respect after three wins in four games – against Man Utd, Stoke and Liverpool.
Wigan looked down and out a few weeks ago but the big wins have seen them bounce out of the drop zone and into a fight for survival alongside the likes of QPR, Bolton and Blackburn.
Even their recent defeat at Chelsea was unlucky although some will point to the fact they caught Man United on a bad day and Liverpool on a bad year (in the league anyway).
So Martinez will take a confident bunch to the Emirates – but do they have any hope? Possibly but one thing they don't have is Robin van Persie and when the Dutchman's in the mood it's difficult to stop the Gunners.
At the end of the day a good Arsenal side will beat a good Wigan side so I'm sticking with the home win.
Bookies agree with that and make Arsenal 2-7 to tighten their grip on a top-four spot in the Premier League with a victory.
I'll mention the markets I'd have grabbed a couple of weeks ago and to be honest still look tempting. You can have 4-5 with Paddy Power for the HT/FT double and Arsenal minus one are 8-11 at Paddy Power and 15-8 minus two.
It's difficult to see past Robin van Persie to break the deadlock and the hitman with 27 league goals this season is 9-4 at BetVictor and bet365 to score first, 4-7 (Coral) anytime. BetVictor rate him 9-2 to score two or more.
Having netted against Man United, Chelsea and Liverpool you should consider Wigan to beat an Arsenal defence missing the banned Laurent Koscielny. Arsenal have netted in their last 15 at the Emirates so look at both teams to score at 1-1 at Ladbrokes.
Shaun Maloney netted the winner against Man Utd but is out tonight as is Hugo Rodallega so best hope of a goal could be Victor Moses.
With both teams on form there should be plenty of goals and over 2.5 pays 8-11 (various).
I'm always looking at different markets and here's one that caught my eye. It's team with most bookings offered by the likes of William Hill and Ladbrokes. Wigan are likely to be under pressure for longer and therefore under pressure to commit fouls.
So I thought they'd be smaller than 13-20 with William Hill for more bookings than the Gunners (13-5) while the tie is 10-3.
(4-5, Paddy Power)
Van Persie to score first
Both teams to score
Wigan most bookings
(13-20, William Hill)