3 reasons Wigan can make it back-to-back promotions this season
Wigan Athletic strolled to the League One title last season, netting 82 times en route to an instant return to the Championship.
The Latics’ impressive displays throughout 2015-16, combined with this summer’s excellent summer recruitment and a tactically astute manager, suggest they could follow in the steps of Norwich, who did the ‘double bounce’ between 2009-2011 and fellow back-to-back promotion winners Southampton (2010-2012).
Wigan’s strike force demolished League One
Rarely has any attack at any level in English football looked so capable of obliterating opposition defences as this Wigan Athletic side.
In the space of nine days last season, the Latics scored three times in five minutes during a 4-1 away victory at Swindon Town and grabbed another triple within 10 minutes as they smashed Shrewsbury 5-1 on the road.
With on-fire striker Will Grigg in their ranks, as well as goalscoring midfielders Max Power and Michael Jacobs, Wigan have the pace and quality to wear down opposition defences and then mercilessly rack up the goals.
This summer’s transfer business gives the north-west outfit a new and potent weapon up front, as well as extra strength elsewhere on the park.
They’ve made four top-quality acquisitions
Most notably, that new forward man we hinted at – Nick Powell, signed from Premier League giants Manchester United.
The 22-year-old spent time on loan at the DW Stadium in the 2013-14 season, netting 12 times in total – and having struggled for first-team football during the last couple of years, he’s sure to be hungry to get gametime under his belt at a club where he flourished.
With classy centre-back Dan Burn having arrived from Fulham, while the experienced Stephen Warnock and creative midfielder Alex Gilbey have also joined Caldwell’s charges. With only the deadwood exiting so far this summer, the squad that laid siege to League One is now significantly stronger.
Caldwell is an excellent tactician
A Latics legend on the field, the Scot has been even more effective off it, with his tactics spot on throughout his first season in charge.
From the attacking-yet-solid 3-5-2 which saw the Latics overrun Shrewsbury across at New Meadow to the functional and more cautious 4-5-1 which paid dividends in those efficient victories at Barnsley (1-0) and Walsall (2-1).
He’s also been a master of game management, developing a side who can play swashbuckling football and also see out draws in tough games to help clinch promotion – with the solid 0-0 draw at promotion rivals Millwall in March a fine example.
With all that in mind, the Latics could be a very savvy selection for promotion to the Premier League this season at 10/1, while the 28/1 for them to lift the Championship title could also prove an inspired bet come May 2017.
Wigan begin the season with a trip to Bristol City, where Caldwell’s men are 2/1 to begin the season by taking all three points away from home – something they managed 10 times in League One last season.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing