Wigan prepare for Arsenal FA Cup challenge in Wembley semi-final
FA Cup holders and Championship side Wigan Athletic (8/1 to defend crown) face odds-on favourites Arsenal (4/9) in a fight for a place in the final.
The Gunners will be pleased to hear that Welsh star Aaron Ramsey is pushing for a place in the starting XI, after making a comeback from a three-and-a-half month injury off the bench against Everton in their 3-0 Premier League loss.
You can back the midfielder, who has 13 goals and seven assists in 28 appearances in all competitions this season so far, to net anytime at 7/4.
While Arsenal’s FA Cup run to this stage has been impressive, seeing off the likes of Tottenham, Liverpool and Everton, they are in miserable form going into this encounter. In the league, they have only one victory in their last six games – scoring just four times.
Wigan, meanwhile, have lost just two of their previous 15 matches in all competitions, and that run makes their odds to win in 90 minutes at 5/1, or qualify for the final at 7/2, look very enticing.
The recent head-to-heads, however, suggest an Arsenal victory. Arsene Wenger’s side have won five of their last seven against the Latics, and are understandably priced odds-on at 4/9 to win after normal time, and 1/5 to get to the final.
With the Premier League title out of the Gunners’ hands now, their only chance of getting silverware this season, and for the first time in nine years, is in this competition. Olivier Giroud, who has five goals in his last five FA Cup games, can be backed at evens to net anytime.
One Arsenal player who perhaps unexpectedly enjoys scoring against this opposition is defender Thomas Vermaelen. The Belgian has netted a remarkable four times in five games against Wigan, and can be backed at 15/2 to score again. He will likely start in the place of injured Laurent Koscienly.
Both teams have possible absentees coming into this match. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tomas Rosicky and Kieran Gibbs are doubts for the North Londoners, while Laurent Koscielny, Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil, Serge Gnabry, Abou Diaby and Theo Walcott are definitely out. Mathieu Flamini is suspended.
Uwe Rosler’s men, meanwhile, are without last season FA Cup final hero Ben Watson, as well as Chris McCann, Roger Espinoza. Rob Kiernan and Martyn Waghorn are cup-tied.
On-loan club top scorer this season Nick Powell is eligible to play, and you can back the Manchester United player to upset Gunners fans by scoring anytime at 7/2.