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Premier League

  • 17 January 2012
  • • 01:30
  • • The DW Stadium, Wigan
  • Referee: M. Atkinson
  • • Attendance: 16026
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Wigan 0-1 Manchester City: Edin Dzeko Grabs Only Goal As Dominant Visitors Extend Lead At Top Of Premier League

Edin Dzeko headed the only goal of the game as the Blues go three points clear of rivals Manchester United at the top of the Premier League.

Manchester City extended their lead at the top of the Premier League with a dominant 1-0 victory over bottom side Wigan Athletic.

The visitor’s only goal came in the 22nd minute courtesy of an Edin Dzeko header, his first in 11 appearances for the club, nodding in from a David Silva free-kick.

The hosts started the brighter of the two sides and they had the games first chance inside the first three minutes, a James McArthur volley from the edge of the box that was deflected wide.

During that passage of play, Jordi Gomez was upended by Gareth Barry in the box but referee Martin Atkinson deemed it more of a coming together and immediately signalled that it wasn’t a penalty.

Dzeko missed an easy headed chance which he put wide when he really should have done better.

Montenegrin international Stefan Savic, in for the suspended Vincent Kompany, headed over after a short corner was eventually crossed into the box by David Silva.

Victor Moses ran at City’s makeshift defence, weaving in and out, before blazing over from 20 yards.

Dzeko, having been fouled by Antolin Alacaraz down City’s left flank, popped up in the box to backhead Spaniard Silva’s outswinging free-kick to open the scoring.

It was a needless free-kick to give away as the Bosnian was going nowhere and the hosts paid the price, allowing the striker to notch his first in 11 appearances for the visitors.

McArthur made goalkeeper Joe Hart work from outside the area but the former Shrewsbury Town man was more than a match for the shot and held well.

City were phenomenal in closing the hosts down everytime they got the ball, not giving them any time to think about what to do with the ball. It was very effective and Samir Nasri almost capitalised after closing down in the Wigan area but the chance went begging.

There were times in the first half that the top versus bottom divide looked huge but the longer the hosts were just the one goal behind the more they were getting confident. They started spraying the ball around, looking for their own bit of space but just couldn’t find that final ball.

Sergio Aguero was on the end of Silva’s counter attack and he forced Ali Al Habsi into a smart stop to keep the score down just to the one goal in the first 45.

The second-half started the way the first did, with Roberto Martinez’s side flying out of the blocks and bombarding the City box.

MacArthur wasn’t frightened to shoot and when given the opportunity he opted to shoot from range and on 50 minutes he did so again but dragged his shot wide of Hart’s right-hand post.

A three-minute spell by City just before the hour mark should have at least doubled City’s lead.

Birthday boy Pablo Zabaleta set up Nasri who cut the ball across the box to find Dzeko. The Bosnian got the ball out of his feet before curling a delightful shot towards the top left-hand corner but Al Habsi’s outstretched hand kept it out. He got himself back up blocked Silva’s rebound. A brilliant double save.

Then almost immediately Aguero produced a piece of magic that even his father-in-law Diego Maradona would have been proud of. The Argentine took on four or five Wigan defenders and gradually worked his way into the box but before he could get his shot away, strike partner Dzeko nicked the ball off his toes and the chance came to nothing.

Wigan captain Gary Caldwell almost inadvertently put the ball into his own net after Gael Clichy drilled the ball in the box but it went the right side of the post for him.

Just like the first half, the longer the 45 was going, the more confidence Wigan were gaining and James McCarthy forced a stunning save from Hart, sticking his left leg out at the vital time to prevent the equaliser.

Al Habsi again kept the scoreline down, smartly readjusting his body after Caldwell had blocked Dzeko's shot from range nine minutes from time before Aguero dragged his shot wide.

There was still time for the Oman international to turn Aguero inside out and City were hanging on in the closing stages but they held on for three vital points to send them clear at the top.

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