From the highlights of a Cup Semi final at Highbury it’s back to the slightly more humdrum matter of this fourth round FA cup trip to Manchester. It’s another new ground to tick of the list, but the fixture has some quite recent history. In reality this tie is just another game but Wiganers have long memories and it’ll be a few seasons yet before that goal in the play off semi-final and the attitudes we had to put up with in the season that led to it will be forgotten.
For the teams though, thoughts of play offs, quarter finals and ding dong dos will be long gone and neither manager is likely to be thinking over the possibilities of taking on the England manager’s job as kick off approaches. Even so this is set to be a cracker.
A lot depends on how far the lads’ legs will carry them. In the 2 weeks leading up to this game they’ve been through two sets of extra time and a game that went to the 93rd minute and this weekend might be the chance to give some of them a rest. The new boys will still be getting up to speed and all four could be in for a start. Expect Jacko, Mahon and Johansson to feature and pretty much the rest of the team picks itself.
Calling a weakened side is probably too much. However the exertions of the past week are likely to prevent a Newcastle style performance from a team featuring a few of the second string, but if Jewell keeps to his promise and puts aside all thoughts of 40 points and league survival then we should be in for another crowd pleasing clash. City are as likely to concede 4 as score them and Latics’ reputation has hardly been built on being cagey and whilst the chances of another 4-3 are pretty slim, there’ll be goals.
At the end of the day this game gives us a break from the grind of the league season and a game where the style of performance is more important than the result. It’s a strange situation being in one cup final, and wondering how much effort we should put into getting to another, or maybe that’s putting too much thought into it.
To go out on a limb, I think there’ll be five goals in this game. Either side could take a battering but it’s more likely that the fifth goal will decide it. After Boro and Arsenal it would be a brave man that would bet against us getting it.
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