Manchester City v Wigan Athletic – The Key Battles
For a few years it looked like the magic had gone out of the FA Cup. It had been five years since a team from outside the Premier League’s top four had won the trophy, while 2008 also marked the last time a second-tier side reached the final four.
However this changed last season as underdogs Wigan – in the midst of an ultimately fruitless battle to avoid relegation – shocked Premier League runners-up ManchesterCity with a 1-0 victory at Wembley.
Manchester City win – 1.15
Wigan win – 17.50
Draw – 7.40
(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)
Wigan’s relegation means the sides have only met once since – City cruising to a 5-0 win in the League Cup third round (before going on to win the trophy last week). However the Latics have since appointed a new manager, Uwe Rösler, who has won more than 60% of his games in charge and reignited a play-off push in the Championship. Rösler, who turned out more than 150 times for City in his playing career, will certainly be up for this one.
Ahead of the meeting, Betting Instinct looks at some of the key battles:
- Sergio Agüero v Emmerson Boyce
Agüero’s absence through injury has been cited as the main reason for City’s slump, with the side losing at home in crucial matches against Chelsea and Barcelona without the Argentine. Yes, they won all but one of the games played during his spell out of action around the turn of the year, but a strikeforce of Álvaro Negredo and Edin Džeko has looked short on ideas at key moments.
Agüero has the ability to test the world’s best defenders, so one can imagine how he’ll fare against the worst player with the middle name Orlando to have played in the Premier League. Boyce misplaced a Premier League-high 109 passes in his own half in the 2012-13 season, a statistic he’s sought to improve upon by playing in a different division. And it’s worked, with no misplaced Premier League passes so far this campaign.
- Yaya Touré v James MacArthur
While Wigan’s Ben Watson was the comeback story of last year’s competition, returning from a broken leg to score the winning goal in the final Touré did the same in 2011 (apart from the broken leg bit), netting the only goal of the game as City saw off Tony Pulis’ Stoke to earn the club its first trophy in the Sheikh Mansour era.
With Watson out injured again, MacArthur will be crucial to Wigan’s chances. Proving this season that he and James McCarthy are in fact different people, the Scotsman will look to protect the defence in what will likely resemble an impression of a protester in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Still, they said the 2013 final would be one-sided too, so who knows.
- Manuel Pellegrini v Uwe Rösler
After garnering a reputation for struggling to win trophies – somewhat unfairly considering much of his managerial career has been spent at Spanish clubs that are not Real Madrid or Barcelona – Pellegrini silence some critics by winning the League Cup last week.
Rösler’s managerial résumé is even less illustrious, with Wigan his fifth club after spells in Norway and Brentford, but he will be up for the occasion after spending several years at City back when they had more in common with Wigan’s current league standing. However it remains to be seen whether emotion and willpower will be enough – my guess is no.
Betting Instinct Tip – After a 5-0 win in the League Cup, City are understandably heavy favourites. The hosts to score three or more goals is 1.78 with GR88.com.
TOM VICTOR (editor) is the editor and co-founder of Betting Instinct. He has written for a variety of sports sites in the past, including JustFootball, Footy Matters and BeNeFoot.