Wigan 0-2 Manchester City: ‘Magnificent’ unbeaten run comes to end

Gareth Barry

Gareth Barry steered his team to a comfortable away win

Right, this afternoon wasn’t pretty so I’ll spare you too many gory details. All you need to know is that Wigan lost. This was partially down to the fact their presence in the opposition half was, shall we say, less than adequate, at least if you see scoring goals as your primary target in a football match.

The home side weren’t completely outplayed, though they could have been had City found their straps earlier. In the end it was a case of ‘get in there, do the job and get out’ as they looked to play out the final minutes following their second goal. I guess we can be thankful for that, but Wigan once again lacked any potency. Sound familiar? Well, it should.

Latics’ only shot on target in the first half came on 29 minutes, and if you consider that was the first time either team had challenged the opposition goalie, you get a fair picture of how the first half an hour went.

A cautious Man City were the better team for 15 minutes, but Wigan came back into things, earning themselves a fair slice of possession. Still no end product, however, and once again we were made to pay. On 43 minutes, a Joe Hart goal kick sliced off the back of a defender’s head and into the path of Carlos Tevez. It could hardly have fallen better for the Argentinian, who duly chipped Ali Al-Habsi to give City the lead going into the break.

From then on, Mancini’s men were in control, and though Wigan enjoyed the odd attack they would all ultimately prove fruitless, mostly petering out before they reached the penalty area. By the time Yaya Toure volleyed a second on 70 minutes, things were all but settled as, up to this point, Wigan didn’t even look like scoring. Which, as I’ve alluded to, is a bit of a handicap when you’re looking to win (or even draw, in some cases) a game of football.

Vincent Kompany

Vincent Kompany didn't have much to do

Latics’ best chance of the game came on 75 minutes as Momo Diame miscued a volley way over Joe Hart’s crossbar, and had that gone in, the final 15 could have been competitive. As it didn’t, though, it was relatively easy for City to play out time for what would ultimately be a comfortable away win.

I will give Martinez some credit for the replacement of Mauro Boselli with Franco Di Santo in the starting line-up. The only problem with this was that we were left with the absence of a man for Hugo Rodallega to play off, which in some ways was a step backwards, even if Charles N’Zogbia stepped up to fill the void every now and then. The result was a setup that still feels experimental, and once again reliant upon getting an early goal to achieve any real success.

Never mind, for we have an ailing Birmingham to come in just under a week. A chance, perhaps, to snatch a point or three on the road? I’d hope so, but I think we might have see a little bit of improvement for that to happen. Wednesday’s encounter with Preston in the Carling Cup could provide us with such an opportunity, but for some reason I fear the worst.

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