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West Ham United
April 18, 2013
• Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Referee: A. Taylor
• Attendance: 47106
C. Tévez 83'
Anyway, that'll be all from me, Sam Wells. Thanks for following the game with me this evening and be sure to check Goal.com for all your post-match reaction needs. Until next time, farewell!
Wigan, meanwhile, will feel hard done by as, despite enjoying the better of the game and the opportunities, they come away from the Etihad with nothing to show for their troubles. They will no doubt rue their missed opportunities as Di Santo in particular could have opened the scoring, but for an excellent Hart save. Still, they can take solace in an excellent performance as their attempts to make another 'great escape' remain very much alive, despite the loss.
Manchester City, in spite of the three points, have cause to be disappointed with their showing in that game. They never really managed to show their quality against a spirited Wigan side and, frankly, it showed that they have little to play for going into the final stages of the season. Still, a touch of class from Tevez was enough to earn them the three points and Mancini will be happy that his side managed to notch up another win.
90' + 4'
Yellow Card James McCarthy
90' + 4'
Tevez aims for the far corner with his free kick but the effort sails harmlessly wide. Regardless, that is that as the referee calls time on proceedings - Manchester City earn a slightly fortuitous three points here at the Etihad!
90' + 2'
The Latics look bereft of ideas as we approach the final minute of added time. Kolarov earns a free kick on the edge of the area as he marauds forward from left-back with McCarthy bringing him down. Tevez limbers up to take it as time runs out on Wigan's hopes of earning something from tonight's game.
90' + 1'
The Citizens keep the ball in the corner as they look to see out this game. Milner puts the ball behind for a goal kick though and Joel clears, let's see if Wigan can make something happen in the dying stages.
City have Wigan hemmed in as we approach the final whistle here. Sinclair receives the ball out on the right wing and his cross is deflected behind for a corner.
City almost capitalise on Wigan's attempts to get an equaliser as they counter down the right through Milner. The winger attempts to find Dzeko in the middle but his through-ball is slightly too heavy and it runs through to Joel.
Wigan attempt to push forward after that goal but, frankly, they look shellshocked. They've dominated proceedings for much of this contest but look likely to go home with nothing unless they can come up with something in the final few minutes here.
Assist Aleksandar Kolarov
Goal Carlos Tévez
Tevez opens the scoring with a lovely finish! Out of nowhere, the Argentine picks up the ball on the edge of the area from Kolarov. He shimmies past Scharner and Gomez with some lovely footwork before placing the ball past the helpless Joel into the top corner. An excellent goal that leaves Wigan ruing their missed opportunities.
Scharner hits the bar with a header from a Maloney free kick but he is correctly ruled offside anyway; the home support's hearts will have been in their mouths there.
Scott Sinclair limbers up on the sideline as he prepares for a rare outing; he is set to come on for right-back Richards as Mancini goes in search of a late winner.
The home side continue to exert pressure on the Latics but are struggling to work any real openings. Toure tries his hand at a shot from distance but it's a poor effort, flying well wide of the Wigan goal.
Milner produces another cross-cum-shot that Joel is more than equal to. The home side look the more likely to make something happen now - if Wigan are to get anything, it is likely to be on the counter.
Wigan counter really well after City cede possession from the throw-in but Figueroa wastes the opportunity, proving unable to find Beausejour with his attempted through-ball. He should have made the pass; the winger would have been through on goal.
Nasri causes Boyce some problems down the left wing but, after being beaten initially, the right-back covers well and tackles the Frenchman, putting it out for a throw-in deep in the Wigan half.
Dzeko misses a golden opportunity to open the scoring! The Bosnian targetman is played through by Toure but Joel is equal to the striker's effort, parrying his strike away with aplomb. Dzeko will be disappointed that he couldn't capitalise there.
Wigan work a striking opportunity through McManaman but the substitute's effort is fairly tame and Hart claims with Ease.
After controlling the early parts of this second half with such ease, Wigan are struggling to really assert themselves on this game as it draws to its conclusion. City continue to exert pressure on the away side but are struggling to break down the stoic away defence.
City continue in their attempts to trouble Wigan and very nearly do as Dzeko almost manages to get a shot in. Alcaraz shepherds the striker well though and the forward eventually works it back to Toure. The midfielder's strike is deflected behind for a corner.
Franco Di Santo
Tevez is at the centre of the action again as, after receiving the ball from Milner on the edge of the area, the Argentine turns well, before trying a strike from long range. It's a fairly dismal effort though and flies well wide of the far post.
The home side are coming more and more into this game by the minute; Tevez again does well, this time down the left, whipping a dangerous cross into the far post. Joel claims well in the Wigan goal though and sets the away side off on the counter.
Manchester City continue to build on that opportunity as they enjoy a spell of possession in the Wigan half. Even though they don't look as if they are going to penetrate the Latics backline anytime soon, these are encouraging signs for the home support at least.
The home side put together a rare attacking move as Tevez gets forward well down the right. The striker feeds Milner whose cutback just eludes the advancing Dzeko and Nasri. That's better from Mancini's men.
Mancini once again makes a change as Milner comes into the fray, replacing Javi Garcia much to the delight of the clearly frustrated home support.
Manchester City are struggling to get a kick out there; Maloney once again gets the better of the City defence, turning smartly before playing in Beausejour down the left. The cross is averted clear by Kompany though as Wigan continue to push for the opener.
Wigan are once again inches away from opening the scoring! After an absolutely lovely move, Di Santo squared the ball to Kone on the edge of the six yard box. Kompany spots the danger though, sliding in and eventually clearing - that was an important challenge.
The home side continue to look laboured in the second half as Maloney gets the better of Kompany with consummate ease down the left. The cross is poor though and Hart claims with ease. Encouraging signs for the away side nevertheless.
Kone goes on a marauding run, driving at Garcia, now operating in the middle of a three-man defence, before shooting at goal. His shot is terribly miscued, flying well wide, but he will be buoyed by the space he was given to run into there.
Wigan are in the ascendancy now as they force a corner down the left, which Beausejour duly whips in, only for Dzeko to clear to safety. The home side's failings in the first half are coming back to the fore here.
Yellow Card Carlos Tévez
Figueroa is down after a hefty challenge from Tevez - a challenge that earns the forward a booking, much to the chagrin of the home support.
Despite that start, Wigan go oh-so-close to opening the scoring through Shaun Maloney! The diminutive forward finds some space in the area and fires an effort goalwards, beating Joe Hart all ends up. Lescott is back on the line though and clears adeptly - excellent defending.
City have started with a greater urgency in this second period as Nasri almost works himself an opening on the edge of the Wigan area. Nothing comes of it but the home side will be encouraged by the first couple of minutes of this second half.
Mancini responds to his side's disappointing first half showing by bringing on Dzeko for Aguero as the home side get us underway in the second half.
45' + 3'
The referee calls time on what was, in reality, a fairly turgid first half; let's hope for better after the break!
45' + 2'
City finally assert some pressure on the opposition as Tevez is almost worked in by Toure. The Argentine is called offside though and it looks like it will remain goalless going into the break.
Tevez plays Kolarov in smartly down the left but the left-back makes a mess of the cross as it turns into an effort on goal. Joel palms the goalbound effort wide and City have a corner as three minutes injury time are called by the fourth official.
Scharner puts in an extremely clumsy challenge on Tevez but is treated leniently by Jon Moss, the referee deeming the foul unworthy of a booking.
The Latics continue to enjoy the better of possession as Di Santo is played in nicely down the left by Gomez. Kompany comes over and tackles adeptly though, knocking the ball out for a throw-in.
The home support's frustration is palpable here as Wigan continue to look the more likely to make something happen. Kolarov attempts to change that with an effort from distance but the shot is pretty woeful, flying well wide of the far post.
Maloney's free kick is fairly tame though and Hart claims with ease. City counter once more, resulting in a half-chance for Garcia on the edge of the area. The midfielder spurns the opportunity though, firing a woeful effort over the bar.
Yellow Card Micah Richards
After that unexpected flurry of activity, Wigan worked their way down the pitch again with Di Santo almost finding himself in on goal once again! The frontman is brought down by Richards though and the Latics have a free kick in a dangerous area.
Two chances in the space of a minute! Wigan put together an excellent move at one end as Di Santo comes onto a backheel from Maloney, working his way into the area before finding himself one-on-one with Hart. The goalkeeper makes an excellent save to deny the frontman, before City counter with speed as Tevez put in a dangerous cross. No-one could get on the end of it though and it remains goalless.
City fans are clearly attempting to spark the home side into life as cries of 'come on City!' ring out around the ground. It almost works as Richards is found in space with a long ball down the right wing; the right-backs cross finds no-one though and City continue to search for an opening.
Wigan put together a good string of passes as the ball eventually comes to Beausejour on the left. The winger whips in a good cross but Kolarov makes an excellent intervention, diverting the ball behind for a corner.
Aguero is called offside again after Barry threaded the Argentine through with a long ball over the top. Wigan are playing a high line here and, for the moment at least, it appears to be working.
City really are performing below expectations out there, Wigan haven't been particularly impressive either but the home side have failed to control this game - they have yet to work a clear opportunity in the first half-an-hour.
The referee incites the ire of the home support after refusing to give a foul on Aguero on the edge of the area. Scharner did appear to foul the Argentine but Jon Moss was unmoved.
Wigan almost work an opening as Di Santo attempts to loft a ball through to the advancing Maloney. The ball is a good one but Richards intervenes adeptly, heading to safety with aplomb.
Nasri gingerly limps off the pitch and we're back underway. The midfielder eventually returns and appears to be able to continue.
Figueroa misplaces a pass and Kolarov intercepts, clearing and gifting City an opportunity to counter. They do not take that opportunity though as Nasri is tackled by Gomez. The Frenchman remains down but it was a fair challenge from the Wigan man.
McCarthy attempts to get something going for the away side, beating Garcia only to have his attempted pass intercepted by Lescott. It's difficult to envisage a goal anytime soon.
City are starting to assert themselves more on this tie now; the home side work the ball well down the left, ending with Tevez playing Kolarov in behind the Wigan defence. Alcaraz intervenes though, playing the ball off Kolarov for a goal kick.
Aguero goes on a winding run after picking the ball up down the left wing, beating Boyce and Scharner before slightly selfishly attempting to go for goal from a tight angle. The ball sails way wide of the far post; a poor finish but excellent approach play.
Richards bursts down the right and almost causes Wigan some problems but, having gotten in behind the Latics backline, the returning right-back is called offside and the danger is gone.
Both sides continue to labour as Wigan retain the ball for a while, stroking the ball about in their own half before Boyce gives the ball away in his attempt to find Di Santo.
Kone tries to get Wigan's first shot of the game in from distance but the long-range effort is blocked by Lescott. It's fair to say that this game is struggling to get going.
Scharner gives away an unnecessary free kick in a dangerous crossing position as he dives on needlessly on Kolarov. The free kick is cleared by the same man though and the game remains goalless.
The first real opportunity goes begging as Toure picks out Aguero with a defence-splitting pass. The Argentine can't quite bring the ball down though and it harmlessly runs through to Joel in the Wigan goal.
Wigan retain possession in their own half for a spell but Alcaraz inexplicably plays the ball out of play and City have a throw-in deep in the Latics half.
Not much doing out there at the moment; nothing is really coming off for either side as the tempo has slowed somewhat after Wigan's decent opening few minutes.
It's Kolarov who ends up taking it and the effort is mighty close! The left-back whipped the ball over the wall but it flies just wide of the near post.
Beausejour goes in high on Richards on the edge of the Wigan area and City have an opportunity here - it's a dangerous area. Kolarov and Tevez both limber up to take it.
The home side finally work their way up the pitch but Toure is crowded out and Boyce clears the ball. No chances thus far but Wigan will be encouraged by their sprightly start.
Di Santo earns the away side another corner, playing the ball off Kolarov as the home side struggle to find a foothold in this game. The corner is played short but Gomez eventually overhits the cross, allowing City some respite with a goal kick.
Wigan, meanwhile, will be pleased with their showing in the first half. Though they have only played well in fits and starts, they have completely nullified the Citizen's attacking threats and caused the home side some problems of their own. They can even consider themselves unlucky not to be a goal to the good after Hart produced a fantastic save to deny Di Santo with forty minutes gone. Martinez will hope that they can produce a similarly effective performance after the break.
Wigan continue to press City high up the pitch and earn an early corner as Richards puts a challenge in on Beausejour and diverts the ball behind. The corner comes to nothing though as Kompany routinely clears.
City will be extremely disappointed with their showing in the first half; they have looked disinterested, have failed to control the game and haven't even mustered up a shot on target. The fact that their best opportunity came from a free kick that didn't even trouble the goalkeeper (Kolarov's early effort) says a lot about their play; Mancini will be looking for much better after the interval.
And we're underway! Wigan start the match in the ascendancy, with some lax play from Javi Garcia almost gifting the Latics an opening just a minute in. Richards intervenes though and the danger is gone.
The teams are coming out onto the pitch now as we are minutes away from kick-off here at the Etihad Stadium.
Roberto Martinez, meanwhile, makes just two changes from the side that earned the Latics a place against today's opposition in the FA Cup final as Joel Robles and Franco di Santo replace Ali Al-Habsi and Callum McManaman from the eleven that beat Millwall 2-0 on Sunday.
Roberto Mancini, as expected, makes a host of changes from the side that overcame Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup semi final, with Joe Hart, Joleon Lescott, Alexander Kolarov and Javi Garcia coming in for Costel Pantilimon, Matija Nastasic, Gael Clichy and James Milner. Notably, Micah Richards also makes his first start since incurring a knee injury in October, replacing Pablo Zabaleta at right-back.
Wigan: Robles; Alcaraz, Scharner, Figueroa; Boyce, McCarthy, Gomez, Beausejour; Maloney; Di Santo, Kone. Subs: Al-Habsi, Caldwell, Henriquez, McManaman, McArthur, Espinoza, Stam.
Manchester City: Hart; Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov; Garcia, Barry; Nasri, Yaya Toure, Aguero; Tevez. Subs: Pantilimon, Milner, Dzeko, Sinclair, Rodwell, Clichy, Kolo Toure.
And here come the team line-ups...
This has the potential to be an incredibly important game, particularly at the bottom of the table as Wigan have the chance to move out of the relegation zone with a win here, albeit just on goal difference. That may seem a remote possibility given Manchester City's good form of late but the Latics have some form of their own as, in recent weeks, they have commenced what now appears to be their customary end of season 'great escape'. If they can cause an upset here against what could be a below-strength Manchester City side, then there is ample cause for optimism coming into the last few weeks of the season.
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's live coverage of tonight's Premier League clash between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic, I'm Sam Wells and I'll be guiding you through tonight's proceedings.
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