Wigan Athletic-Newcastle United Preview
By TOM BENNETT
STATS European Football Writer
(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - Newcastle United will be looking to end a disappointing run of results when they welcome Wigan Athletic to St James' Park on Monday evening.
The Magpies lost 2-1 to Stoke on Wednesday, making it four consecutive defeats for Alan Pardew's side. Senegalese striker Pappis Cisse ended a barren spell in front of goal at the Britannia, but is frustrated by the lack of wins this season.
"It doesn't matter who scores, we must win the match," said Cisse. "I was happy to score, and my team-mates were happy for me. We are together as a team, and that's important. The supporters were also happy.
"It was a good moment, but the most important thing for us is to win matches. We were disappointed not to win, and we must look to Monday.We have lost two games at home, and we must win against Wigan."
Wigan put in an excellent performance against Premier League champions Manchester City on Wednesday, and manager Roberto Martinez defended the form of Ali Al-Habsi after the goalkeeper was blamed in some quarters for the opening goal.
"I don't think it was an error against Manchester City. Ali in my eyes is one of the best in this league," said Martinez. "Sometimes you expect Ali to save the unstoppable and that's very unfair.
"Ali is such a confident player and internally he is a very strong human being. I would say his mental strength is his biggest quality. As a goalkeeper you need to be able to move on from action to action and he is not affected by that. It's not a confidence issue at all."
Wigan and Newcastle are joint top of the Premier League injury table, with a number of key absentees. The Latics are without Ben Watson until February, but Shaun Maloney, Ivan Ramis, Ryo Miyaichi, Gary Caldwell, James McArthur, Albert Crusat, Antolin Alcaraz are all unlikely to feature. Newcastle's Steven Taylor, Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye and Ryan Taylor are definitely out, while Shola Ameobi, Gabriel Overtan and Dan Gosling are injury doubts.
Newcastle have kept just one clean sheet all season, and at this stage of last season were in sixth place on 26 points - 12 more than their current tally.
The home team won both matches last season, with Wigan taking a 4-0 win at the DW Stadium thanks to a Victor Moses brace plus goals from Maloney and Franco di Santo. Newcastle won the reverse fixture at St James' Park thanks to a Cabaye goal nine minutes from time. The Latics 4-0 win matches their best ever top-flight home victory, tying a 4-0 victory over Manchester City in October 2006.
Wigan have never won at Newcastle, losing four times and drawing three. They've been outscored 13-8 in those contests and have never kept a clean sheet.
Updated December 1, 2012