Wigan Athletic are set to host Aston Villa on Saturday, December 18, in match week 18.
Wigan did well in match week 17 to salvage a point in the away game to Everton. Al Habsi brought off some brilliant saves between the posts on a day when Hendry Thomas and Ben Watson were solid in the middle. Wigan nearly brought off a last-gasp win, in a game dominated by the Toffees, when Howards tipped Stam's close range shot over.
Villa brought relief to beleaguered Gerard Houllier, when they brought a four-game winless streak to an end against West Brom, in match week 17. Apex Shed Wigan Downing put them ahead on 24 minutes and Heskey made it 2-0 with a fortuitous header about which he knew little, on 79 minutes but Villa survived nervous moments when Albion reduced the margin through Scharner on 90 minutes and four minutes of injury time got added.
Houllier would be especially pleased with the way his senior players rose to the occasion, with Heskey and Cuellar doing well on their return. Ashley Young was brilliant and was very creative as he led by example.
Head to head in 10 league games between the Latics and the Villans, the sides have won three each with four games ending without result. The last match, hosted by Wigan in March 2010, ended 2-1 in Villa's favour.
While Wigan have lost three of nine games hosted this season, they have won just two and drawn the remaining four. Villa have had a poor away record losing six of eight games on the road while winning and drawing one each.
Wigan are currently 18th in the points table, and in the relegation zone, while Villa in 14th are barely four points adrift.
Villa will fancy their chances against cellar team Wigan and would want to bank full points ahead of a tough Christmas against Tottenham, Man City and Chelsea.
Wigan had the following men in their starting eleven against Everton:Al Habsi, Gohouri, Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Thomas, Diame, N'Zogbia, Watson, Cleverley and Rodallega. McArthur and Stam played as substitutes.