A Wigan side lacking three central midfielders and three centre backs eventually succumbed to Manchester City but for seventy minutes Wigan were more than a match for their more illustrious opponents and had Kone shown more composure in front of goal Wigan may have come away from a freezing DW stadium with at least a share of the points.
Following Saturday’s match with Reading, Roberto Martinez was forced into two further changes with Maloney and Ramis failing to make the squad due to injuries , the former replaced by the returning Di Santo and the latter by Adrian Lopez. This left Wigan with a bench with four youngsters on the bench which compared to City’s multi million pound bench didn’t bode well for the evening’s experience.
However you can only play what is put in front of you and with Mc Carthy and Jones once again showing tenacity and drive in midfield and Lopez commanding the cerntre back role like he played there every week, Wigan soaked up City’s early attacks and indeed had the first real chance when a through ball to Kone was at first poorly controlled by the Ivorian but he recovered well and fired a powerful shot towards the City goal.
Wigan looked dangerous on the flanks especially from Stam but all too often the crosses were overhit.
For City Silva looked dangerous but Al Habsi in the Wigan goal was rarely troubled and when City’s slick possession football threatened the Wigan goal, man of the match Lopez put in a telling tackle to clear the danger.
Wigan’s best chance of the first half fell to Kone but as on Saturday when totally unmarked he showed a lack of compsure,snatching at a header which went well wide of the far post. Man of the match from Saturday Gomez had a debatable claim for a penalty waved away when he went down under a challenge in the penalty shortly before half time but both sides trooped into the break goaless, the home side the significantly more content of the two.
The second half started in much the same way with City dominating possession but struggling to find a way through a resolute defence although Balotelli should have done better with a header which hit the side netting. Wigan seemed content to hit City with pace ont he break and one flowing move ended with a diving header from Gomez just wide of the goal.
The opening goal when it came once again laid some repsonsibilty at WIgan keeper Al Habsi who failed to hold a shot and the loose ball eventually found its way to Balotelli who scored past a scrambling defence.
Wigan’s hard work and determination had come to naught and they were soon two down as the failed to close down a City attack and substitute James Milner fired a wonderful shot into the net with Al Habsi powerless to do anything about it.
Martinez probably sensing that was game over opted to bring the more defensive McArthur on for Jones maybe with goal difference in mind and Wigan huffed and puffed without really troubling Joe Hart and the full time whistle will have left the home side ruing its inability to take the clear chances it had worked so hard to create.
Team Line up and ratings
Al Habsi….5 at fault for the opeing goal
Boyce….7 looks more comfortable as a centre half
Lopez….9 MOM, hardly put a foot wrong
Figueroa….7 his usual steady game.
Stam….6 a good first half, faded after the break.
Beausejour….6 once again poor crossing let him down.
McCarthy….7 matched Barry in midfield.
Jones….7 worked hard.
Gomez….7 showed his intelligent play once again.
Di Santo….6.5 ran after everything, little opportunity near goal though.
Kone….6 wasted a really good chance, should score more than he does.
McArthur….6 little influence on a game already lost
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