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Thoughts on the Wigan victory

Carlos Tevez (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Carlos Tevez (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Amidst difficult conditions it was the type of clinical and assured victory that is required from fixtures such as an away trip to Wigan, of course the type of fixture that City stuttered in so often previously, and comes on the back of two disappointing results in the Premier League against Blackburn and Sunderland. Equally impressive was that it came followed an away trip in the Europa League on Thursday - games that can so often be a factor in subsequent Premier League games.

The fact that it has taken six games (and some horrible performances) to achieve says a lot about the team that Roberto Mancini has assembled. Playing in a controlled fashion from start to finish, it certainly looks as though Mancini methods have taken hold and the side are playing in a manner that suggests there is plenty of 'buy in' and commitment from the players.

It has been rare to see a City side look so assured and a lot of this stems from Mancini ensuring the team is tough to create chances on, and taking no risks as he stated in his post-match interview. The essential part of this is not conceding chances. So far this season the side has only conceded twice in five league games (eight games overall) - and to think there were concerns over the defence heading into the season. 

The partnership of Kolo Toure and Vincent Kompany has been excellent. I was watching Kompany's positional play and movement today and it was very impressive. Time and again he made the right choice as in when to tackle, when to cover and when to stand his ground. He has been as consistently good as anyone this season. 

However, this all starts with the midfield trio - so often lamented this season and blithely dismissed as three holding midfielders. Nigel de Jong of course plays the role as spoiler, knowing his limits but so effective in the process but both Gareth Barry and Yaya Toure play in a more advanced role.

The key to how well we are playing at certain times is the ability to retain and control possession and these two are masters at that. Calm and collected, the right decisions are made time and time again, allowing the creative elements in the side - primarily Carlos Tevez of course (being ever more reliant on him with current injuries) - but the performance again today of David Silva suggests he will have an ever increasing effect on the side moving forward. For all the talk of rotation and two players for every position, it is becoming apparent as to more or less the strongest XI are.

The team line-up was more or less expected, with Silva's midweek performance seeing him retain his place in the side ahead of Adam Johnson, James Milner replaced Jo whilst Pablo Zabaleta stepped in at left back. The first half in main drifted, with City in command but unable to carve out openings. This, was no surprise however, as heading into the game the side had scored only three times before half-time (with two of those coming at the very start and very end of the half). 

It helped then that the opening goal was largely gifted. A long punt from Joe Hart was helped on by Diame for Tevez to get in behind the defence and calmly chip over the advancing Al Habsi. Tiki-taka it may not of been but it was welcome nonetheless and just reward for Tevez whose previous couple of games had seen him struggle a little in front of goal despite his endeavour.

With only a one goal advantage, nerves are always present, but a lacklustre Wigan were failing to muster anything that resembled a test for Joe Hart and a second was added midway through the second half when Yaya Toure found himself all alone to profit from Tevez's good work.

The win sees the side move up to fourth in table, and whilst it is disappointing that we are perhaps two or three points behind a 'par' total, other sides (Chelsea apart) could feel the same but in terms of position it is as expected.

And of course sets next weeks game against Chelsea up even more.