Monday 8pm, DW Stadium
Wigan 8.00 Draw 4.20 Manchester City 1.44
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Awkward little fixture for City this - despite Wigan’s deficiencies, it’s not the most appetising venue for a must-win game.
Doubts exist over David Silva(f/g) and Mario Balotelli(f/g) for Roberto Mancini, and the Toure brothers are away with the Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Wigan welcome back Albert Crusat(f/g), but Mohamed Diame is also on international duty with Senegal.
Wigan are a team that needs momentum, a side that can grind through the gears and cause you problems if you let them. Roberto Martinez has seen his side hit the bottom of the league since Blackburn’s resurgence, and will ensure that his players appreciate the urgency for points.
City have not looked themselves for a while now. The stuttering performance against Liverpool, the refereeing travesty that was the derby game, and the stalemate at the Hawthorns have added up to the first semblance of doubt over their title credentials. Sunday’s encounter with Tottenham may promise bigger headlines, but victory tonight is just as important.
There’s not a lot of subtlety in the way the home side defends, and that promises much for a visiting attack stuffed with guile and creativity. If David Silva’s fit, expect him to enjoy himself - Wigan really aren’t equipped to handle that kind of player. Up front as well, I’m not sure that Franco Di Santo and Hugo Rodallega are capable of exposing the weakness felt by Vincent Kompany’s absence. All signs point to an away win, indifferent form or not.
If this is to be competitive, Wigan have to be forceful in midfield. City undeniably lose something when Yaya Toure isn’t playing, and it’s up to James McCarthy and probably Hendry Thomas to clog-up what will be an unfamiliar Barry/De Jong/Silva axis. Victor Moses has begun to show signs of why he was so coveted when at Crystal Palace, and his form this season has a lot to do with Wigan having as many points as they do - can he make an impact here though? Doubtful.
8/1 on Wigan? Only if you’ve got money to burn - City to win 3-0.