Man City v Wigan Athletic

Manchester City v Wigan Athletic – Saturday 11 May – Wembley (18:15)

Yaya Toure - Manchester City

Manchester City’s Yaya Toure in action

The FA Cup final takes place on Saturday at the majestic Wembley Stadium with giants Manchester City coming up against minnows Wigan Athletic in a match that has the makings to be a spectacular final filled with goals. Manchester City were unable to defend their Premier League title but have a chance to end the season on a good note while success for relegation battlers Wigan could spur them on to salvage their place in England’s top flight.

Manchester City are looking for their second FA Cup win in three seasons, and have plenty of motivation to defeat overmatched Wigan, who are making their first appearance in an FA Cup final. City lost out in the Champions League and have lost out in the league. But if they win the FA Cup, manager Roberto Mancini will have won a trophy for a third consecutive season. They crushed Watford 3-0 in the tournament’s third round and dispatched of fellow EPL side Stoke City 1-0 in the next round. In the fifth round, they cruised over Leeds United 4-0 and then Barnsley 5-0 to set up their much-anticipated semi-final against Chelsea. City managed a 2-1 win at Wembley beating a Chelsea squad that had yet to concede a goal in their run-in to the semi-finals. Roberto Mancini has confirmed that goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon will start ahead of Joe Hart. The Romanian keeper has played in all of City’s cup games so far this season and the Italian believes it would be unfair to revert back to his regular No.1 for the final. The 26-year-old, who stands at a towering six feet and eight inches, has conceded just once in the FA Cup so far this season, with Chelsea striker Demba Ba in the semi-final the only man to have scored past him.

Wigan have provided some memorable moments en route to the final with impressive wins against the likes of Everton and Huddersfield Town. It took a replay to beat League One side Bournemouth in the third round and the Latics went on to beat another small team in fifth tier Macclesfield Town. The round of 16 pitted them against Championship side Huddersfield away from home who they annihilated 4-1. Things got tougher in the quarter-finals as they were handed a stern test at Goodison Park against Everton. They shocked the Toffees with a convincing 3-0 win. The semi-final at Wembley was a fortunate draw against Championship side Millwall who they beat 2-0 to book their place in the coveted final. Wigan twice came from behind to pick up three vital points in the team’s bid to escape Premier League relegation by defeating West Brom 3-2 last Saturday. That win means Wigan can move out of the relegation zone when they face Swansea on Tuesday, 7 May. For once, given Wigan’s desperate league struggles, the pressure will be off, a factor that should be in their favour. Hugo Rodallega may have departed to Fulham last summer but in Arouna Kone the Latics have found a goalscorer more than worthy of filling the Colombian’s boots. The Ivory Coast striker has made a huge impact at the DW since signing from Levante last summer and has netted 11 goals in his first season. Shaun Maloney and Jordi Gomez are two other attackers who can cause problems on their day.

Unfortunately for Wigan, they are not so good at the back and are likely to leave big gaps for City to exploit. They have conceded more goals at home than any other Premier League team and 64 in all of their 35 league matches.  Wigan have not beaten City since the latter’s “big investment” and the Abu Dhabi takeover back in 2008. The last time Wigan managed a draw was in the 2009-10 season. Wigan has their work cut out for them in this match handling the firepower of City. They also face a terrific defence. Wigan have failed to score against City in their 2-0 and 1-0 league meetings this season. As of May 7, just one match before the FA Cup Final, Man City have scored 61 goals in EPL action and conceded just 31. Wigan have scored just 42 while conceding 64. Manchester City are tipped to grab their last hope of silverware this season with a narrow victory.

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