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A look ahead to Wembley

City bid to end what has for the most part a frustrating season with silverware by landing the FA Cup at Wembley this weekend.

Richard Heathcote

It is just short of two years since Yaya Toure struck with around twenty minutes remaining in the 2011 FA Cup final against Stoke, ensuring a 1-0 victory for City to end a long 35 year wait for a trophy.

In my match report from the game I finished by writing:

Even thinking back to just five years ago the prospect of lifting a trophy could barely be thought possible. Hope soon gave way to expectation though as the sense that very real and tangible success could be achieved.

In reflecting on Saturday's win, the sense is that victory marked the fulfillment of expectation, and in doing so, paves the way for much more to follow.

Now that is true of course, with City going on to lift the Premier League twelve months late but a year on City arrive back at Wembley if not quite in a state of flux, but with questions in the air that they certainly wouldn't have anticipated. For those with longer memories, the prospect of dismissing an FA Cup win as a consolation prize is almost beyond belief but such is the climate at the club in these modern times that even lifting the famous old trophy will be tinged with a sense of frustration; an opportunity lost as the 2012/13 season draws to a close.

Two years on the landscape has certainly changed. The club these days face different pressures and expectations and at times this season have come up short. Roberto Mancini, fond of recalling his trophy count at the club, will be fully aware of this and whilst a win will not (or at least should not) determine his future he will be desperate to win to at least put some gloss on a season where he - and his squad - have been continually questioned.

City head into the game as big favorites and undoubtedly have plenty to lose. Wigan, led by Roberto Martinez, are staring relegation squarely in the face but they will undeniably be the neturals (and more realistically every non-City fans) choice on Saturday.

Wigan will undoubtedly rely on their attacking quartet of James McCarthy, Shaun Maloney, Callum McManaman and Aroune Kone, who in the semi-final against Millwall linked exceptionally well but their defence is a concern and has cost them points of late in the Premier League of late.

Mancini has really only one key decision to make and that will come down to who gets the start between James Milner and Samir Nasri. Both have been in excellent touch of late but with the threat of Wigan's midfield and opting for both Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero then Milner may be preferred to shore up the midfield. Interestingly, from the fourteen players two years ago against Stoke only six - Vincent Kompany, Gareth Barry, Yaya Toure, David Silva, Carlos Tevez and Pablo Zabaleta (a late substitute) - will probably start on Saturday, illustrating the continuing pace of change at the club.

And it is this pace of change that will demand that after a season that has only on occasion flickered into life is at the very least finished with a trophy - the ultimate currency that City and Roberto Mancini find themselves dealing in.