All the hype was centred around the visitors for this game, how was little Wigan going to be able to cope with massive money bags Manchester City, the team that pummelled Portsmouth last week 6-0.
Little Wigan showed from the off how they were going to do it, by playing the same way as they have done all season. We got into the City players faces from the word go and they just didn’t like it, the megabucks signings of Jo and Robinho were nowhere to be seen for most of the game.
Robinho excelled at standing in front of the ball to stop us taking the free kick, but as for grafting and tackling, City fans must wonder if his no doubt excellent ball skills and vision is enough compensation.
Amr Zaki was the man of the moment, showing what a true ‘star’ player should do. He was all over everywhere and could have scored as early as the 8th minute when he saw his wicked left foot shot graze past the post.
This was a warning to Joe Hart, but there was nothing he could do with the shot that Valencia unleashed. The Ecuadorian was allowed so much time after the ball was cleared from a corner that he calmly took a couple of paces forward before belting the ball into the back of the net.
Joe Hart in the City goal didn’t even bother going for it as it cruised past him, he could only watch as it went past him like a bullet. We pressed on for a second with the added momentum, but City’s defensive heroics prevented any more damage.
In a rare break away Robinho had an opportunity to equalise but the Brazilians shot was wide of the mark when it looked easier to score. Kompany though did get the equalising goal, coming courtesy of a wicked free kick in from Shaun Wright Phillips.
The ball was whipped across the six yard line and Melchiot’s efforts to get there were in vain as he only got a slight nick on the ball which was then to ricochet off Kompany’s knee past the helpless Kirkland.
The match was wrapped up though on 34 minutes as Palacios was threaded a teasing ball which had Zableta chasing shadows. As he lunged for the ball in a desperate last ditch effort to put the ball out of play he caught Wilson’s foot and the Honduran went over.
Although Palacios seemed to make a meal of the challenge the Referee was in no doubt and immediately pointed to the spot. Up stepped the Premiership’s leading scorer Amr Zaki to take the penalty. Joe Hart started shouting at the Egyptian, but the Latics striker just gave him a smile and slotted the ball into the bottom left hand corner, whilst the keeper was flailing the other way.
The second half was never going to live up to the first and Latics, after seeing that the Mancs were quite bereft of ideas in the final third, just sat back and let them have the majority of the possession. Kirkland was only challenged a few times the whole game, but nothing really bothered him too much.
Wigan just waited for their chances but only really got one, which fell for Amr Zaki, but after taking the mick out of Richard Dunne (again), Joe Hart pulled off an amazing save to keep the scoreline respectable, if not flattering for the visitors.
Final score 2-1 and very well deserved. City will have learned vital lessons from this game and they will all revolve around them playing as a team and grafting for each other. Last week’s result is now history and a week of being beaten by Brighton and outclassed by Latics should hit home.
Report by Jason Taylor