Manchester City v Wigan: FA Cup Final preview

Alex Livesey

The two Roberto's - Mancini and Martinez - square off tomorrow at Wembley hoping to add a little gloss on their respective seasons that, for contrasting reasons, could well end up being viewed as ones having a great deal of frustration.

For City, just a year removed from lifting the Premier League trophy, they end up back at Wembley, the venue of course of their first trophy for 35 years when they defeated Stoke in 2011. They will be hoping to make it three trophies in three seasons with victory over Wigan but such are the demands and expectations at the club these days that even an FA Cup triumph might leave Mancini with a nagging sense of 'what if' given the way that United regained their title without too much of a fight along with suffering another premature Champions League exit.

Wigan too arrive at Wembley with the prospect of a Wembley triumph not erasing disappointments in the Premier League, but not for them a second-placed finish still but with the very real threat of relegation staring them in the face. In fact, around 24 hours after Wigan face off against City, if results go against them they could be Cup winners but almost certainly condemned to the drop.

City head into the game as one of the biggest cup final favourites for some time, with Wigan currently priced at 15/2 to beat them at Ladbrokes, and in truth it is hard to look past City. City go into the game with a clean bill of health and assuming that - as with all FA Cup games this season - Costel Pantilimon starts ahead of Joe Hart, Mancini has just one selection choice to make: whether to start with the Samir Nasri or James Milner in midfield. The feeling ahead of the game is that whilst both players are in good form of late the added presence of Milner to bolster the midfield may well see him get the start.

If Wigan are to emerge victorious then it is their midfield that will need to win the day. The trio of James McCarthy, Callum McManaman and Shaun Maloney have all impressed this season (particularly in their semi-final win over Millwall) and will undoubtedly have clubs coming calling regardless of how Wigan finish the season. Forward Aroune Kone has goals behind him this season and undoubtedly has the potential to cause City's pair of Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic problems. Their problems however are in defence and Maynor Figueroa, Ivan Ramis, Ronnie Stam and Jean Beausejour have all been ruled out and leaking goals has been their undoing of late. Martinez also has a decision to make in goal as to whether to start Joan Robles or Ali Al-Habsi.

Wigan will likely have plenty of possession at Wembley, something they matched City on in their recent Premier League meeting, but with City possessing the best defence in the league Wigan will have their work cut to get the requisite number of quality shots on goal to give themselves a realistic chance. Even if they do manage to breach City's tight back line the weapons that City possess will surely result in Mancini's side creating goalscoring opportunities and with Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero it would be a big surprise if they didn't get on the scoresheet, which will likely prove too much for Wigan to overcome.

Prediction: Manchester City 2-0 Wigan.

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