Manchester City go into their second FA Cup final in three years knowing that they require a win to partially satisfy their frustrated fans, while Wigan will be aiming to knock off only the second Premier League team they've faced on route to lifting the coveted trophy.
Saturday, 11 May 2013
Venue – Wembley Stadium, London
Local Kick-off Time: 17:15
Previous 3 matches:
1-0 (h) West Brom
0-0 (a) Swansea
2-1 (h) West Ham
2-3 (h) Swansea
2-3 (a) West Bromwich Albion
2-2 (h) Tottenham
Pantilimion, Richards, Toure, Lescott, Kolarov, Garcia, Rodwell, Milner, Tevez, Nasri, Dzeko
Al-Habsi, Boyce, Caldwell, Scharner, Espinoza, Watson, McArthur, McCarthy, McManaman, Kone, Maloney
ANALYSIS AND TEAM NEWS
City’s last FA Cup final triumph at Wembley two years ago against Stoke sparked wild celebrations from a group of support which had been deprived of witnessing their side collect silverware in 35 years. A similar result in Saturday’s fixture will serve as a mere consolation to many, who have seen their side unable to replicate the form that earned them the Premier League last season. A disappointing exit from the UEFA Champions League earlier in the season adds extra pressure on Roberto Mancini’s men to deliver. They have swept aside Watford, Stoke City, Leeds United, Barnsley and cup holders Chelsea to reach the final..
Wigan on the other hand have overcome lower ranked sides, but for Everton, whom they overcame in the Quarter Finals of this season’s instalment. Bournemouth, Macclesfield Town, Huddersfield Town and Millwall have are the other sides who have succumbed to the Latics.
In normal circumstances, their participation in their first FA Cup final would appear to be their main concern, but their continued existence in the Premier League is currently a more impending matter. Martinez’s men are in the relegation zone and will be hoping that a decent performance at Wembley will inspire a bright finish to the season. Wigan will take solace from the fact that they have sealed a spot in next season’s 2013/14 Europa League, notwithstanding the result on Saturday.
Manchester City will have the services of key midfielder Yaya Toure, who sat out the midweek fixture against West Bromwich Albion in preparation for his date at Wembley.
Scott Sinclair is the only player who is guaranteed to miss the match, as he recovers from recent surgery.
Joe Hart is set to miss out, with Costel Pantilimion seemingly likely to take his place between the posts for Mancini. The decision to start Samir Nasri or James Milner will prove to be a difficult one, but the latter’s outstanding form of late may mean he gets the nod.
Wigan’s leaky defence has given Martinez a few selection headaches, with skipper Gary Caldwell and Roger Espinoza’s recent performances instilling a heap of doubt into the back four. James McCarthy’s impressive season will make him an important figure, while ex-Celtic man Shaun Maloney, whose contribution against Milwall earned him praise will be hoping to make a similar mark. Aroune Kone will need to step up to trouble the best defence in the league, which will feature the likes of Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic.
Oman’s Ali Al-Habsi looks certain to replace Joel Robles in goal.
Wigan will know that a one-off cup tie can always go either way, but with Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez leading the front line for City, coupled with a resolute defence, Wigan may well have their work well and truly cut out.
DID YOU KNOW?
*City have won both previous encounters between the two sides, first back in 1971 and then in 2006.
*City have prevailed in 10 of their last 11 games, having only lost one.
*The Latics have lost their last 7 games against the Blues in the league.
*Wigan will be making their first appearance as an FA Cup finalist, with the other team ever winning in their first final being Wimbledon in 1988.
*The winning team will collect £1.8m and the runners-up £900,000.
PREDICTION: Manchester City 2-0 Wigan Athletic
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