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Scouting Report: Wigan Athletic (Away)

Where could Saturday’s game be won and lost?

Wigan Athletic v West Ham United - The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

The international break is over, and Wigan are the opposition for Reading this weekend as Paul Clement’s side look to move away from the Championship drop zone.

Wigan rank amongst the lowest scoring teams in the division, with only 19 goals so far this campaign, so chances are it won’t be a high-scoring affair. Nick Powell tops the scoring charts for the Latics with only four goals, with Will Grigg misfiring at present with only three goals.

Attacking down the wings will be Reading’s best chance of finding success against Paul Cook’s men, with the Latics facing an average of 18 crosses per game, so the Royals will need to exploit that if they wish to leave with the points. Unlike our past couple of fixtures, we shouldn’t need to be too worried about the threat of conceding from set-plays, as Wigan have only scored from just two all season.

Paul Cook will want his side to attempt through balls often to try and control the game in the Royals’ half. They will also try to use the right hand side as much as possible, so Tyler Blackett may be in for a busy afternoon. 40% of the Latics’ touches at home so far this season have been down the right flank, so this has to be something the Royals are prepared for. Wigan also like to play a lot of long balls, averaging 72 per game. The pace of Will Grigg against the (lack of) pace of John O’Shea will be cause for concern, as we all know the Northern Irishman can be lethal on his day.

Prediction

I know the Reading’s form has improved lately, but I can’t see Paul Clement’s side walking away with the win on Saturday. We have lost our last three away games, scoring two and conceding eight in the process. We have also won only one game on the road all season, so the chances of grabbing another three points are slim. However, Wigan are on a bad run of form, so I think it will end up being 1-1. Neither side score many goals, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there weren’t any goals at all, but I’ll be positive and go with two.