You can barely hear yourself think around the DW Stadium at the moment with all the squeaky bums around the place as Wigan Athletic’s battle with the likes of Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Sunderland to avoid the drop intensifies.
After a bad couple of weeks, the Latics are staring relegation square in the face, knowing that they must win at least two of their remaining four games to have any chance of retaining their Premier League status.
Roberto Martinez has become a specialist at rescuing the Lancashire club from certain doom in recent years, but this is increasingly looking like one season too many, especially after Villa’s frankly bewildering 6-1 demolition of Sunderland on Monday night.
Wigan are now five points from safety, albeit with a game in hand, and know that victory over West Brom at the Hawthorns on Saturday is vital if they are to extend their eight-year stay in the top flight.
Martinez was cruelly robbed of a win against Tottenham on Saturday as a last-minute cross ricocheted in off the shins of Emmerson Boyce – the sort of thing that can leave players thinking that the good Lord wants them to go down.
However, they can take some heart from the fact that, despite having just one point to show for it, they have performed very well in their last three games against Manchester City, West Ham and Spurs.
They travel to a West Brom side this weekend who, in all honesty, have almost nothing to play for but pride.
Steve Clarke may still be hoping he can guide his team to seventh place and above his former employers Liverpool, but realistically the Scot will be more than happy with his lot this campaign whatever happens in May.
The former Chelsea right-back has turned the Baggies into a solid force in his debut managerial season and they comfortably swatted aside Southampton at St Mary’s last weekend in impressive fashion.
West Brom have won 14 of their 34 games in the Premier League this season, with nine of them coming at home. They have two wins, two draws and two losses from their last six, making it terrifically difficult to predict the outcome of this one.
The Midlands club won the reverse fixture 2-1 at the DW Stadium back in November thanks to goals from James Morrison and a Gary Caldwell own goal, and if you think they will do the double over the Latics then odds of 13/10 will be your reward.
However, it is Wigan who have the upper hand overall in their nine previous top-flight meetings, with four wins to Albion’s three.
One notable statistic is that, across those matches, on only one occasion has there been more than one goal between the sides.
With that in mind, you might want to consider the draw at odds of 23/10, while either team to win by a one-goal margin is available at 5/4.
Considering Romelu Lukaku, Shane Long and James Morrison are all in top form, there is reason to believe the Wigan hex will continue, but there’s just something about this game that seems to point to more heroics from Martinez’s men.
I admit it, very little of this ‘feeling’ is based on statistics or even form: it isn’t really backed up with anything other than a belief that the FA Cup finalists want it a lot more than the hosts.
As I touched upon a little earlier, Martinez has managed to get his team playing very well in recent games, but they just haven’t had the rewards for all their endeavour.
You can remind me of this when West Brom win 4-0.
Alternatively, if you agree that Wigan will give themselves a huge lifeline, then you can back the 2/1 on an away win with the free £20 bet you receive for opening a bwin account today.
You could see £60 back in your newly-opened account if the Latics do grab all three points, which can’t be bad, can it?