The dream of a quadruple has died for Manchester City, as the Blues were knocked out by Wigan Athletic in the biggest shock of this year’s FA Cup. City dominated the entire match despite playing the entire second half with just 10 men, but Will Grigg was able to score the only chance Wigan had all game, putting the Latics through to the quarter finals and ending City’s chances of a truly historic season.
City had a promising start to the game, working possession well and pressing high up the pitch looking to get the ball back close to the box. Ilkay Gundogan had the best chance in the first ten minutes with a shot from the edge of the box, but his shot was easily saved by Christian Walton.
After the good start, though, the Blues just could not play their best football for the rest of the half, doing well to pass the ball around the back but not being incisive enough and making poor decisions in the final third that kept them from having any real opportunities. Wigan took advantage of those poor decisions and had some decent chances on the counter, but nothing that really worried Claudio Bravo.
The Blues managed to improve a little bit in the final five minutes of the half, and Sergio Agüero had a very good chance when he was able to beat a Wigan defender on the run and fire his trademark right-footed shot accross the keeper with power, but Walton made a great save.
As City showed some promise, though, Fabian Delph made a really bad challenge on Max Power and was deservedly sent off. The referee wanted to give a yellow at first, but after a lot of complaint from Wigan players and their manager, Anthony Taylor changed his mind. Sergio Agüero and Pep Guardiola were not happy with the Wigan manager, and the first half ended with players and coaches from both teams really angry at each other.
At halftime, a poor performance from City had them needing to find a winner with just 10 men. Could they do it?
Pep Guardiola was forced to make a halftime change to reshape his defense, with Kyle Walker in place of Leroy Sané. City lined up in a 4-3-2 formation designed to keep attacking with the ball, which forced Wigan to defend very deep despite having the numerical advantage.
The controversy at the end of the half clearly energized a City team that looked poor in the first 45 minutes, but were completely transformed. We saw the dominant side we’ve watched all season, moving the ball much better in the final third and creating real chances with smart passing and ball movement.
Kevin De Bruyne came on for David Silva and took control of the match, using his passing range to constantly put his teammates in position to score. The Latics relied on last-ditch tackles and blocks to keep City from scoring, but the Blues looked more and more likely to score.
As we entered the final 15 minutes, Wigan looked more and more desperate defensively and the gaps really began to appear. But City could not take their chances, and because football is an insane sport, Wigan scored completely against the run of play: a bad mistake by Kyle Walker but Will Grigg through on goal, and the striker comfortably beat Claudio Bravo to put Wigan ahead.
City naturally sent everybody forward looking for an equalizer, but desperation took over and the visitors just could not create a clear opportunity. The Wigan defense also did its job with some key interventions late in the game, and the Latics were able to hang on to a historic result. Wigan love to beat us in the FA Cup, don’t they?
Man City: Bravo; Danilo, Stones, Laporte, Delph; Gundogan, Fernandinho, Silva (De Bruyne); Bernardo, Agüero, Sané (Walker)
Red Card: Delph (45’)
Wigan: Walton; Byrne, Dunkley, Burn, Elder; Power; Massey (Colclough), Powell (Fulton), Perkins, Roberts (Jacobs); Grigg
Goal: Grigg (79’)