West Ham United's next Premier League match will be against Wigan Athletic on October 27th. The Hammers enter this match following their 4-1 thrashing of Southampton last weekend. Wigan will want to avoid Southampton's fate as they look to improve upon their poor league form. The previous meeting between these two clubs was a 4-1 Capital One Cup victory for Wigan. This result will likely be on the minds of the West Ham players and fans as they travel to the DW Stadium on Saturday.
West Ham's midfield was dominant in their previous outing with Mark Noble and Matthew Taylor contributing goals. While the Hammers would like to see more production from their forwards, the midfield has more than taken care of the offensive workload as of late. Noble was commanding in the middle of the park as he continues to assure West Ham fans that he is worthy of his new contract. With the likes of Yossi Benayoun and Mohamed Diame also in fine form, Wigan's focus will have to include a strong defense in the midfield.
The Latics are not without their own key players in the midfield as they will likely start the pairing of James McCarthy and Shaun Maloney. Their task will involve shackling West Ham's potent midfield attack while offering supply to their own attacking options. Jean Beausejour represents another midfield attacking option for Roberto Martinez as he has featured in a central or wide role this season. This core of players will try to make life difficult for West Ham's central playmakers.
West Ham will need to improve upon the defensive performance that saw the flood gates opened in their previous defeat to Wigan. The Latics boast a dangerous attack with Franco Di Santo and Arouna Kone both in the middle of solid scoring campaigns. Di Santo in particular looked sharp in their previous outing as he and Kone both tallied. It will be up to Sam Allardyce to find a way to patch his leaky defense and keep out Wigan's attacking options. Winston Reid's continuing recovery from a back injury will be important as he will be called upon to pair with James Tomkins as the anchor of the Hammer's defense.
This match represents a critical three points for West Ham. With a fixture against Manchester City and a trip to Newcastle looming they cannot afford to drop points in a winnable contest. Allardyce's players will likely come into this match with a chip on their shoulder after their cup defeat at the hands of the Latics. Despite these motivations they will face stiff opposition from an increasingly desperate Wigan side. Whether or not the Hammers can take away a positive result will depend on their ability to patch up their defense and continue their dominance in the midfield. While away matches are never easy in the Premier League, West Ham fans will be confident as their team continues to display good form.
Justin McLaughlin is an avid West Ham supporter and a knowledgable observer of the English Premier League. His work offers the insight of a former player and a current fan of the game.
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