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March 5, 2011
• Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Referee: S. Attwell
• Attendance: 44864
So Manchester City seal the three points to send them five points and six points clear of Chelsea and Tottenham respectively, but having also played two games more. Wigan deserved at least a point, but the game was far from exciting.
90' + 5'
And with that, the referee blows for full-time!
90' + 4'
No, THAT was the chance. So, so close by Sammon. Great link-up play between the youngster and Rodallega allows him to skip into the area in front of Kompany but the angle is tightening by the nano-second and in the end he watches in agony as he sees his shot flash past the post. Not even inches in that.
90' + 3'
The City fans believe their side has done enough as empty seats are growing more visible by the second but Wigan's fans are here until the end. Unfortunately their team cannot get the ball off City.
90' + 1'
Was that the chance? It may well have been. Rodallega has his head in his hands either way as he sees his neat snap shot from 15 yards saved low by Hart. More power and that could, maybe, have squeezed past the England No1.
McCarthy strides forward and plays it out wide to N'Zogbia on the right flank but his low ball into the area is immediately cut out. Four minutes of added time to be played.
Huge few minutes for Wigan, but City have the ball. Their next game is against fellow relegation challenger Birmingham, and if this ends ends 1-0 then they will be four points off safety.
Three minutes (plus added time) for Wigan to find the goal they deserve... Can they do it?
Final change for City as Dzeko makes a late cameo in place of Tevez.
Nigel De Jong
A reason for City to cheer, Nigel de Jong returns after five games out with an ankle injury. Sammon replaces Diame up front as Martinez goes for an equaliser.
For all their hustle and bustle in the game, Wigan haven't done a massive amount. Two great chances for McCarthy, and Alcaraz hitting the outside of the post, but that is it so far. Far more than City though. I'll say it again, Wigan deserve at least a point but they need to be more clinical.
Just heard why N'Zogbia didn't start (he has impressed massively since coming on). He wasn't fit enough. Fair enough. I'll let Martinez do his job without another word from now on then.
City fans "do the Poznan" in the stands. I think it's an excuse to not watch the so called events on the pitch rather than celebrating anything.
Another highlight, Kolarov gets a delivery nearly to the right man. At least the ball stayed on the pitch this time. Bonus.
I'm sorry if I am coming across with an anti-Man City bias here, I assure you one doesn't exist, but if the home side can forget any ideas about the Champions League, let alone the title(!) with these performances. Kolarov sends another cross from a promising position straight out of play.
That sums up City's second half display. Kolarov is in more space and has more time than anyone could wish for to send in a ball into the area but he just sends it straight out of play. Wigan deserve at least a point.
N'Zogbia has made an impact. He is involved in another break and nearly sets up either Rodallega or Diame to break clean through but the former is miles offside. Shame, because Diame had the legs to take advantage himself.
Alcaraz starts the break for Wigan and combines with Charles N'Zogbia to fly up into the City half, and then the City area but Lescott gets a sliding challenge in just as the full-back looks to cut the ball back for the lurking forwards. Great, great play by the World Cup star.
GREAT HIT BY MCCARTHY! So close to making amends for his miss in the first half, the midfielder latches onto a volley from the edge of the area that is arrowed right for the top corner, only for Hart to palm it away. So close.
Martinez rings the changes as Moses is replaced by Charles N'Zogbia. Surprised he didn't start to be honest. City are playing dire football, but that is what we have come to expect from them for the majority of this season.
Another half chance for Wigan as, in similar fashion to a move in the first half, Moses gets down the flank and centres the ball into the area for Rodallega but the striker's first touch is bad, managing to send the ball up in the air so Kompany could head clear.
Yellow Card Vincent Kompany
Richards gives Vieira the evil eye after playing his through ball towards the defender too long. Wigan more than holding City here and look the most likely to score next... then again this has hardly been a stand-out tie.
Wigan showing more positive signs after their first-half performance. Maybe not so slow afterall...
Slow start so far. Lescott has just conceded a corner after failing to properly deal with Rodallega run into the box. City deal with it at first but it comes back in and Moses wins another corner off Kompany. Again it comes in and OFF THE WOODWORK! A nonchalant Alcaraz connects well with a first-time effort from near the edge of the area. City appeared to have it covered though with a couple men on the line.
We are back underway here at Eastlands. It's 1-0 to Manchester City as Silva took advantage of an Al-Habsi error.
So that's half-time. Wigan were the better side on the whole with City, and the game in general to be honest, going nowhere until Al-Habsi's howler gave the home side a fortunte break through. Gutting for Wigan. They now look odds-on for that 300th league defeat.
45' + 1'
Yellow Card Gary Caldwell
45' + 1'
Into stoppage time here, of which there will be two minutes, and Mancini has woken up. He is yelling at his players as Wigan try to conjure an attack. It breaks down and the referee blows for half-time.
I know he's not a traditional striker, despite playing a far more attacking role at City than he ever did at Barcelona, but even Yaya Toure must know he took a touch too many there. The midfielder doesn't so much storm into the area but clumps around trying to get past the entire Wigan defence before perhaps finding enough space to get a shot away before trying to take on even more players. Wigan scramble it away.
A real relief for City who were definitely being over-shadowed by the relegation candidates "in their own back yard".
1-0 Man City! Silva's weak shot is fumbled by Al-Habsi. It's a howler. The on loan goalkeeper, who has impressed for Wigan all season can have no excuses as Silva flies into the area and half-scuffs the shot, aimed for the opposite corner, but it still finds it way through Al-Habsi's weak grasp. Gutting for Wigan who were growing in confidence.
Here's the headline then, Balotteli cracks a smile. A City freekick is eventually launched into the area and the Italian tries an overhead kick, except it's not called that anymore. It's called "A Rooney" according to one commentator I'm listening to.
Assist Yaya Touré
Goal David Silva
Wigan playing the better football at the moment, City showing some complacency against the League's bottom side.
Wigan take the freekick by playing it short but Richards quickly snuffs out McCarthy's run. Rodallega returns to the fold.
Another bad foul by Man City as Barry goes through Rodallega and recieves a yellow card. Barry hasn't performed well for months, and that's not how to get back in the fans' good graces.
Yellow Card Gareth Barry
You really need to be finishing those Mr McCarthy. A brilliant but of play from Moses sends Zabaleta inside out before cutting it back to Rodallega. The first attempt to blocked by Kompany but the defender's clearance is straight to McCarthy who, just 10 yards from goal with basically the entire right hand side to aim at, goes for power and sees the ball fly just over the bar.
Diame again showing his defensive skills as he nips the ball off the nibble toes of Tevez to fly forward and start a break for Wigan but the referee calls the play back after Vieira just... well, kicks him. It doesn't stop the midfielder but the referee didn't like it.
I guess that's the difference in quality there then. Figueroa tries to copy Tevez from moments before but after rushing past Kompany, Zabaleta has his number and easily shephards the ball out for a goalkick. Should have got a shot away there, the left-back.
Hopefully that will bring this game to life. Before then just a scorching effort from Balotelli down Al-Habsi's throat has been the only highlight, and even that's pushing it.
Ooooo, lovely by Tevez. We hasven't seen too much Tevez so far but that'll do just fine. Kompany finds the striker with an arrowed pass and he simply runs onto it, drops a shoulder and skips past Alcaraz, and then Diame, before dragging his shot across the face of the goal. Everything but the finish there.
Brilliant first touch by Richards as he whistles past Cadwell down the City right, luckily though Alcaraz gets in an even better challenge to take the ball out of play and out of danger.
It would have been a shame if City took advantage there. A moments lapse of concentration in the Wigan defence allows Balotelli to tear through in space, but his pass out to Tevez is weak and the away side get their game faces back on in time to clear.
Yellow Card Micah Richards
Diame is impressing me in the early stages with his postioning as again he is in the right place to put a stop to a Tevez advancement. Unfortunately, as Wigan clear and work it clear Richards piles into Manchester United-loanee Cleverly and recieves a booking for his troubles. At best it was late, at worst it was intentional.
I tell you what, the atmosphere at Eastlands is not exactly what you would call... well, interested. Very quiet so far.
First real sign of Tevez as the Argentian combines well with the busy Silva to send the midfielder into the area again but again the lay-off doesn't find a team-mate and Wigan clear.
Rodallega is unlucky not to get a shot away there. Moses charges down the right flank and cuts the ball inside for the striker. He, with his back to ball, controls the ball well and swivles to get a shot away but Lescott stands tall and blocks his path.
Nice movement from City and it nearly carved open an opportunity. Toure slips on the right-flank but finds Silva anyway, he, in turn, plays a one-two with Barry, recieving the ball back as he charges into the area. Never selfish, the midfielder tries to cut the ball back to the edge of the area for anyone to have a go themselves but there isn't a light blue shirt in sight and Wigan breathe a sigh of relief.
Small opening for Wigan as Victor Moses picks the ball up 30 yards out and charges inbetween Richards and Kompany and into the area. Unfortunately for the youngster he either gets the ball caught under his feet as he enters the penalty area or he tries to backheel the ball to no-one. Either way it doesn't help Wigan's attacking intent and the home side easily clear.
City come back again at Wigan but Silva's attempted ball through to Balotelli is cut out and Wigan clear. Ominous signs for the away side already.
From that, City break with Silva and the Spaniard works it well upfield towards Balotelli on the left-hand side of the penalty area. The striker cuts inside, skips past two defenders and unleashes a hammer of a shot straight at Al Habsi.
City get their foot on the ball and enjoy a nice little bit of possession for a flick from Vieira in the centre cirlce goes wrong and Ben Watson picks it up for Wigan. The midfielder pumps it up field but Kompany heads clear.
Wigan work the ball immediately up the right flank and win a corner off Zabaleta... The ball swings away from goal and Rodallega climbs highest to send a header onto the top of Hart's net.
And Wigan get us underway! It's Manchester City vs Wigan Athletic in the final Premier League game of the day.
Five minutes away from kick-off here at Eastlands.
Interesting couple of stats here as we approach kick-off. If Wigan lose today, it will be their 300th loss away from home in the league history. If that seems like a low amount, remember they were only founded in 1932. Also, if they manage to score today, it will be their 100th goal away from home in the Premier League. I'm sure we will see at least one of those figures reached today. Basically, I can't see it being 0-0.
Both teams come into this game on poor form. City haven't won in five games, Wigan's winless streak currently stretches to 10 games. Carlos Tevez is set to make his 150th Premier League appearance this evening.
Emmerson Boyce misses out for Wigan with a hamstring injury but Tom Cleverley returns after being ineligible for the game against parent club Manchester United last weekend.
So all the build-up to this game has revolved around the indefinite suspension of Man City centre-back Kolo Toure for failing a drugs test. Luckily for boss Mancini, Vincent Kompany has made his return from injury in time to partner, the impressive of late, Joleon Lescott in defence.
...and Wigan's line-up: Al Habsi; Lopez, Gary Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa; Watson, Diame, Moses, McCarthy, Cleverley; Rodallega. Subs: Pollitt, Gohouri, Thomas, Di Santo, N'Zogbia, Gomez, Sammon.
Manchester City's line-up: Hart; Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Zabaleta; Vieira, Barry; Silva, Toure Yaya, Balotelli; Tevez. Subs: Taylor, Dzeko, Kolarov, Boateng, Jo, De Jong, Boyata.
My name is Alex Young and I will be taking you through the game's events.
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of Manchester City entertaining Wigan Athletic in the Premier League.
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