Tuesday, 7 May 2013

FA Cup Final Preview: Man City v Wigan Athletic

It's that time of the year again when silverware is decided, memories are made and every decision is critical. This Saturday evening sees the FA Cup Final which will be contested between former Premier League champions Manchester City and fellow top flight side Wigan Athletic. It has been an interesting season for both clubs with this final meaning something different for both clubs. Manchester City look likely to finish second this season having missed out on the title to rivals United, while opponents Wigan are attempting another miraculous escape from the league's relegation zone.

Man City:
picture: mcfc.co.uk
Having missed out on the Premier League, Roberto Mancini will be desperate to win the FA Cup and take a piece of silverware back to the Etihad. His men have now made the final for the second time in three seasons after they beat Stoke at Wembley two years ago thanks to a Yaya Toure goal. City reached the final this year thanks to a 2-1 victory in the semi finals over Chelsea with goals from Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero. But it is Carlos Tevez who leads the scoring charts for City this season, and is the top scorer in this competition for the blues with five goals. Goals have been hard to come by this year for City though, and this hasn't been helped with the injuries to Aguero and playmaker David Silva. City will be strong favourites to win the final but these two met just a few weeks ago in the league where City scraped a 1-0 home win. Second choice goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon has played in every round of the competition this season conceding just the once and Mancini is likely to keep faith with him by using him this weekend. The Romanian was a star performer in the semi final against Chelsea making a number of good saves.

One to watch: Carlos Tevez
Argentinian striker Carlos Tevez has been one of the stand out players for City this season. With 17 goals this season he leads the goalscoring charts for the club. His goal was enough to separate City and Wigan when they met a few weeks ago at the Etihad.  The forward has excellent vision and although he is well known to play up front, he is more than capable to drop off and create chances as an attacking midfielder. Tevez expressed his desire to leave at the end of the season recently to Argentinian TV, and a win on Saturday maybe the perfect send off for him.

Wigan Athletic:
picture: gettyimages
The Lactics are in yet another relegation battle this season. Despite this, Roberto Martinez's side have had quite a run in this year's competition which included a 3-0 away win at Everton. It was Millwall who Wigan defeated in the semi final with the Premier League side winning comfortably 2-0 with goals from Arouna Kone and Callum McManaman. It is the latter though that has gathered attention this season both good and bad. The youngster has been in fine form this season and has three goals in this season's FA Cup. As well as Millwall, the winger scored against Huddersfield and Everton and is very likely to be in the starting eleven at the weekend. The final has come at a very busy time for the Lancashire club as they play three games in a week. With victory over West Brom at the weekend, they host Swansea mid week before making the journey to Wembley on Saturday. Martinez will be desperate to avoid repeating Birmingham City, who in 2011, won the Carling Cup and then were relegated in the same season.

One to watch: Shaun Maloney
Scottish playmaker Maloney has been one of the star performers for Wigan this season without a doubt. The Scotsman has been involved in several key moments for them this season including a stand out performance in the recent away win at West Brom. His last minute free kick against QPR may also prove vital if Wigan are to stay up this season. Maloney's good form this season may see him leave at the end of the season with boss Martinez resigning to the fact this is very possible. His quick feet and pace is a pain for defenders and alongside his excellent set pieces, Maloney will have to be on top of his game if Wigan are to pull off a shock this Saturday.

Prediction: Manchester City 3-1 Wigan Athletic

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