A Step Too Far For Wigan?
Ok, so Wigan (2/1 with Coral) have made a great start to their Europa League campaign, taking four points from their opening two ties. But now it gets tough, very tough. Rubin Kazan (13/10) are coming to town and they are not a team who will be worrying about taking on a mid-table team from the Championship.
Russian sides have been accused of not being the best of travellers, but nobody could accuse Rubin Kazan of that after they pulled off one of the most astonishing results in Champions League history in October 2009.
Facing a Barcelona line-up that included Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Yaya Toure, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Lionel Messi, not to mention 56,000 screaming Nou Camp fans, Rubin Kazan achieved off the seemingly impossible.and won 2-1.
True, that was four years ago, but Rubin Kazan have continued to make their presence felt since in both the Champions League (they drew twice with Barcelona after that) and the Europa League and are a much different kettle of fish to Wigan’s previous opponents in the tournament, Zulte-Waregem and NK Maribor.
Tonight’s visitors currently lie in mid-table in the Russian Premier League, but have looked one of the better sides in the Europa League Qualifiers, beating the two sides Wigan have already played 4-0 and 5-2 respectively.
Scoring goals doesn’t seem to be a problem and one of their most potent strikers is Gokdeniz Karadeniz, still basking in the glory of netting the winner in Barcelona. Coral rate the forward 7/4 to be on the scoresheet at the DW Stadium, 6/1 first or last.
Wigan, in Europe for the first time in their history after beating Manchester City in last May’s FA Cup Final before being relegated from the Premiership, will have a quick return to the top flight as their number one priority.
But refreshingly, Owen Coyle is determined to give it a real go in this competition and they certainly looked like they meant business when beating Slovenian champions Maribor 3-1 on matchday two.
Nick Powell, the young midfielder on loan from Manchester United, scored twice that evening and is one of four players (along with Grant Holt, Marc-Antoine Fortune and Shaun Maloney) priced at 7/1 with Coral to convert first or last. (2./1 at any time).
Wigan are sure to dish up another spirited display, but Rubin look the stronger outfit on paper and this might be a step too far for Coyle’s boys. There could be a few goals in it: 1-3 (18/1 with Coral) catches the eye, while it might also be worth taking a small punt on something like 2-4 (70/1).
Then again, this could be the night when Rubin Kazan are on the wrong end of a famous European result for the underdogs