Manchester City - Wigan Preview: FA Cup finalists go head-to-head in Premier League
Ahead of their clash at Wembley in a month's time, the Latics look to continue their good form with a win over the champions that would push them out of the relegation zone
By Sam Wells
Richards, Kolo Toure, Nastasic, Kolarov
Garcia, Yaya Toure
Milner, Aguero, Nasri
Alcaraz, Scharner, Figueroa
Boyce, Gomez, McCarthy, Beausejour
McManaman, Kone, Maloney
Roberto Mancini looks set to make wholesale changes to the side that overcame Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup semi-final as he seeks to ensure that his team are fresh when these two sides meet again at Wembley.
The rotated line-up will most likely mean a recall for Micah Richards, who hasn't played since picking up a knee injury in October, while Aleksandar Kolarov is also likely to come in for a rare start having not played in a month.
Javi Garcia and Edin Dzeko are also likely to come in, with Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Gael Clichy, Gareth Barry and Carlos Tevez all making way from the team that triumphed on Sunday.
Roberto Martinez, meanwhile, will be looking to capitalise on their below-strength opposition with practically the same team that earned Wigan a pass to the final by virtue of a 2-0 win over Millwall.
On-loan goalkeeper Joel does, however, look set to return, replacing Ali Al-Habsi who, prior to their FA Cup win over Millwall, had not featured for the Latics since their 4-0 mauling at the hands of Liverpool back in early March.
Otherwise, the Spanish coach faces no fresh injury concerns and appears intent upon retaining the same outfield line-up that has started every game (and remained unbeaten) since that defeat against the Reds.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Manchester City have an extremely impressive record against Wigan - they have not conceded against the Latics since October 2009, which was also the last time they dropped points in the fixture as Charles N'Zogbia and Martin Petrov scored in a 1-1 draw.
- City have allowed the opposition a meagre 76 shots on target in the Premier League in 2012-13, the lowest tally of any team in the top flight; they have also conceded the fewest goals.
- The defending champions are also yet to lose after taking the lead in the Premier League this season, having won 18 and drawn two from winning positions.
- Mancini's men have another lucky charm in Sergio Aguero - whenever the Argentine has scored in the Premier League, they have not lost, winning 23 and drawing two of the games he has scored in.
- Wigan do, however, have some cause for optimism; Roberto Martinez's side have the best away record among clubs currently in the bottom half of the table. The Latics have won four, drawn two and lost eight of their games away from home this season.
- The away side are also in fine form, having earned 10 points from their last five games after managing only a meagre seven points from their previous 13 matches.
- Arouna Kone [pictured right] has led their now-customary late-season charge with six goals in his last eight Premier League appearances.
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Top 3 Predictions
Manchester City FC 3-0 Wigan Athletic
- 20.62 %
Manchester City FC 2-0 Wigan Athletic
- 11.81 %
Manchester City FC 0-1 Wigan Athletic
- 9.22 %
|England - FA Cup (FA)||Mar 9, 2014||Manchester City FC 1 - Wigan Athletic 2|
|England - Capital One Cup(League Cup) (CCUP)||Sep 24, 2013||Manchester City FC 5 - Wigan Athletic 0|
|England - FA Cup (FA)||May 11, 2013||Manchester City FC 0 - Wigan Athletic 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Apr 17, 2013||Manchester City FC 1 - Wigan Athletic 0|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Nov 28, 2012||Wigan Athletic 0 - Manchester City FC 2|
|Manchester City FC|
|Apr 16, 2014||Manchester City FC 2 - Sunderland 2||EPL|
|Apr 13, 2014||Liverpool 3 - Manchester City FC 2||EPL|
|Apr 5, 2014||Manchester City FC 4 - Southampton 1||EPL|
|Mar 29, 2014||Arsenal 1 - Manchester City FC 1||EPL|
|Mar 25, 2014||Man Utd. 0 - Manchester City FC 3||EPL|
|9||Franco Di Santo||Striker|
|26||Ali Al Habsi||Goalkeeper|
As long as he is afforded a start, the Frenchman will be looking to build on his goal and impressive performance in the 2-1 win over Chelsea with a similar showing in this game. By his own admission, as well as his manager's, the former Gunner has been below par this season and, if he is to secure his future in Manchester, he will need to impress between now and the end of the season. Nasri has a point to prove and his success in doing so could be pivotal in deciding the outcome of this clash.
The 21-year-old has had a tumultuous introduction to life in the top flight, coming in for a torrent of abuse after a horror tackle on Massadio Haidara in what was his full debut for Wigan. However, McManaman has responded well since he somehow avoided retrospective punishment for the challenge, finishing with aplomb against Millwall in the Latics' 2-0 win on Sunday, and he will be hoping to further eradicate his association with his now infamous challenge here.
Wigan have not lost since early March, winning all but one of their games (and even that felt like a win, given the nature of Maloney's last minute equaliser at QPR) after their 4-0 defeat against Liverpool which, coupled with their penchant for great escapes, points towards an upset here. That notion is only strengthened by the rotated side that Roberto Mancini is likely to field after playing Manchester United and Chelsea in the space of a week; there could be very little separating the sides in this one.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed