Arsene Wenger feels that 80 points will be enough to win the title as bigger teams drop points to the harder pushing smaller teams and Man City, the new billionaires on the block.
His calculations put Chelsea 65 points short with 33 games yet to be played and there is no reason why the Blues can't maintain their fast start. Arsenal may still have a chance at the Premiership but those home games need to be put away. Today, would be a good day to start against Wigan.
Wenger also defended Emmanuel Eboue who had a horrific time last year against Wigan. Brought on for the injured Samir Nasri, Eboue ended up tackling his team mate Kolo Toure and passing to a Wigan player. He left teary eyed as Arsenal fans cheered his exit.
RVP is back but Almunia is still out with a chest infection. Arshavin, Walcott, and Vela are days away with the Mexican having the best chance of returning next week. Almunia's absence means that Vito Mannone gets his second Premiership start after the Stoke City game last season which Arsenal won 4-1.
Wigan had a great beginning with that crackling Hugo Rodellaga goal against Villa, stumbled badly against Wolves, was drubbed in the second half by Man Utd, were barely beaten by Everton, and then righted the ship somewhat with a win against West Ham off a goal by Rodellaga. Under Roberto Martinez, the Latics are playing positive attacking football and are two places below Arsenal.
Titus Bramble and Mario Melchiot have been quite solid with few mistakes made. Wigan's left wing is particularly potent with Charles N'Zogbia and Jason Koumas who can play at both central midfield and at the flanks. The backfield is anchored by hard tackling Hendry Thomas who has made an impressive Wigan debut. Roberto Martinez can also introduce Scott Sinclair, the pacy right winger off the bench.
Look for the Wigan attack to test Mannone through Rodellaga, Koumas, and N'Zogbia through free kicks and long distance bombs. At the back Chris Kirkland provides solid insurance.
Wenger is aware of the threat:
"For me the biggest threat tomorrow is that Wigan look quite solid as a team. If we do not win the ball back [effectively] they will be a big danger because they pass the ball well. They try to have a very positive passing game and that's why, if we are not focused in defending as a team, we will suffer.