Preview: Sunderland v Wigan

by Kate Smith

Match preview ahead of Latics clash (Saturday, 3pm).

Unbeaten Sunderland are chasing their first league win of the season when they face Wigan Athletic on Saturday (KO 3pm).

The Black Cats have drawn all four of their opening Barclays Premier League games, becoming only the second team since the league’s formation in 1992 to do so. However, they do have a game in hand.

Wigan also have four points, having beaten Southampton (2-0) and drawing with Stoke (2-2) while losing their other three games, including both of their last two outings.

Like Sunderland, they have been successful in both Capital One Cup games so far.

Last season, boss Martinez kept his side in the top flight once again as the Lancashire club finished well above the relegation places with 43 points, two less than Sunderland.

The two sides traded victories, with Sunderland going down 2-1 at the Stadium of Light before winning 4-1 on the road in early January.

Martinez has been forced to contend with the departures of key men Hugo Rodallega and Victor Moses, who joined Fulham and Chelsea respectively.

Levante’s Arouna Kone was amongst the summer arrivals and the striker has made a promising start to life with the Latics, scoring two league goals. 

Historically, Saturday’s game will be the 20th meeting between the two sides, who first met in October 1987 with Sunderland triumphing 4-1.

Sunderland have won five of those games, with Wigan running out winners on seven occasions and a further five games ending all square.

Both sides have scored in each of the last five fixtures between the teams and in eight of the last nine.

Sunderland’s win at MK Dons came amidst a rash of injuries, with Martin O’Neill forced into a number of changes.

He will continue to monitor the situation although Lee Cattermole definitely won’t face his former club as he starts a three-match ban.

Adam Johnson faces a late fitness test but Seb Larsson, John O'Shea and Titus Bramble have all returned to training, while Carlos Cuellar has also trained.

Opta Facts

- After winning just one of their first nine Barclays Premier League games against Wigan (W1 D3 L5), Sunderland have bagged three points in two of the last three meetings (W2 D0 L1).

- Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher has scored with all four of his attempts on target this season.

 - All four of the goals Sunderland have scored this season have been netted in the first half of games.

 - Sunderland are only the third team ever to draw their opening four Barclays Premier League matches (Crystal Palace 1992-93 and Stoke City 2012-13). No team has ever drawn their opening five games.

 - Wigan have four points so far, their lowest haul after five matches in any of their eight Premier League seasons, joint-equal with 2010-11.

 - Robert Martinez’s side have drawn just one away game in 2012 in the Barclays Premier League (W5 D1 L5).