Sparked out – City Report

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Bang up to date, as always, but my excuse is this that is about the fourth time of asking for this match report. In the main that’s because of my terminal laziness, but on top of that, I’ve found myself hampered by a certain amount of frustration at both a lack of insight from Sky’s pundits and the arrogance of the City manager.

The first of those is neither here nor there in terms of this game, and is better left for another time and place. Especially as the ‘plucky little Wigan’ world view seems to be the reserve of a shrinking minority these days. The second though was the crux of this result so perhaps it should be something to celebrate, rather than get wound up over.

What am I talking about? Well, I suppose that you could put City’s approach to the game naivety or simply bad management, but I don’t think that either of those were behind Hughes’ decision to play all three of his samba superstars plus Wright-Phillips against Latics. Maybe he’d been talking to Dion Dublin during the week, but his decision stank of him believing their own hype and sending his boys out to fill their boots.

Anyway, I’ll take that sort of arrogance any day, especially if it gets us the points. The worse thing about Hughes’ attitude was his flat refusal to give the opposition any credit or to admit that he and the team got anything wrong that rankles. I suppose that could be him all over, but I’ve certainly never noticed it before and it looks like he’s been hit with the City stick before he’s even had time to get his feet under the table.

I’m not suggesting that the visitors’ complaints are unjustified by the way. The referee’s performance was bitty and at times suited Latics better than City, but if they are that good then it should hardly matter.

Of course that ignores what really got Hughes’ goat, and that’s fine by me. Neither of the penalty incidents were clear cut and either could go a different way on a different day, slides and see-saws spring to mind. For obvious reasons, those decisions affected the score line, but if you think they made the result unjust then you watched a different game to me.

Steve Bruce may not have the luxury of changing his team to suit the opposition, but that’s not to say that they have to play the same way every game. Which is a good job because if they played like this week in and out then they’d all be knackered come Christmas.

To say that Latics’ pace and power stymied City’s game plan is about as much of an understatement as you can get. Their intensity left the visitors reeling in the early stages and they never really recovered. When City looked like getting a foothold in proceedings, following Cattermole’s injury, Latics stood up to them and defended on the back foot nearly as well as they played on the front foot for most of the game.

I suppose the upshot here is that Latics got things right, whilst the visitors didn’t, but, when it comes down to it, there was no reason to think that Latics wouldn’t win this one to start off with. Whilst I’m not bigging Latics up as European contenders, this was a home game and there are only 4 or so teams in this division who can come here expecting to win.

Even those sides know better than to think that they’ll get their three points without working for them. You don’t have to be an avid watcher of Latics to know that, most days, you won’t get anything of them with out a fight and, no matter how uncomfortably it sits for some, we’ve actually got a decent side at the moment.

That’s why we won this game, simple as, and anyone who thinks that this was a case of Latics “giving it a real go” clearly hasn’t been paying attention.

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