Wigan v Manchester City report, Barclays Premier League 14 January 2012 - Manchester City FC

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Edin in the arms of his team
  • Wigan Athletic

    Wigan 0

  • Manchester City

    City 1

    Dzeko 22

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  • 16 January 2012 22:00
  • Posted by Peter Ferguson
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Normal service resumed? Hardly, if you recall the flowing football of just a few weeks ago.

But victory here was imperative, and City made sure they did exactly what was required. 

Edin Dzeko scored his first goal in more than two months, and Roberto Mancini used his bench to telling effect in the second half to stretch their lead at the top back to three points.

David Silva returned from injury in a side skippered by Pablo Zabaleta on his 27th birthday, but this was an efficient rather than an artful triumph, not that City fans cared too much.

The Blues worked hard - they were made to - and if there should have been more goals for City on the balance of play, they were also made to defend stoutly by a bristling home side.

If the Premier League trophy makes the short journey to the Etihad Stadium in May, wins like this will be worth just as much as those spectacular efforts at White Hart Lane and Old Trafford

City had never lost three successive games on Mancini's watch, and it was clear from the off that they were determined it was not a black mark to be administered by the bottom team.

There was an air about the Blues that said "no more" after two cup defeats in quick succession, and nobody showed more commitment to the cause than the ever-willing Dzeko.

The big Bosnian striker might have put City in the driving seat with only a few minutes on the clock but was unable to steer Gael Clichy's near-post cross the right side of the post.

dzeko attacks wigan1

It was the kind of spurned chance that can affect a player's confidence, but not Dzeko, who has bounced back from enough setbacks in the past to know that he needed to simply soldier on.

He did more than that though, coming up with a purler in the 22nd minute, directing Silva's well-flighted free kick well beyond the helpless Ali Al Habsi in Wigan's goal.

It was reminiscent of one of the striker's quartet at Tottenham what seems like an age ago, a deft, knowing backheader that requires fine technique as well as perfect timing.

His celebration of a 14th goal of the season combined relief as well as joy, since his 13th had been scored back on 5 November at QPR - coincidentally the Blues' last away win.

Sergio Aguero had the opportunity to add to City's tally before the break, but Al Habsi, once a fireman at Oman airport, came to Wigan's rescue with a smart save from the Argentine.

So City went in at the break only one goal to the good, no doubt to be met by a reminder from the manager that Wigan have punished slim leads in the past, as Chelsea among others have discovered.

Captain Pablo on the ball

But Aguero saw his low cross for the unmarked Dzeko cut out by a defender before the pair were involved in an astonishing combination of trickery and frustration after 53 minutes.

Aguero danced past a clutch of defenders in a cluttered space and for several seconds threatened to claim the goal of the season - before Dzeko stepped in to tap a shot into the keeper's hands.

And had an alert Joe Hart not fended off McCarthy's one-on-one effort with the tip of his boot, the Blues might have been regretting the chances that had gone untaken.

It left Wigan still harbouring hopes of a point or even better despite their dreadful home record and a haul of just 18 goals in 20 games, the lowest goals return in the Premier League.

Mancini must have sensed that too, sending on Nigel de Jong to replace Samir Nasri with 20 minutes left, clearly with a view to shoring up and making sure of the victory

De Jong soon went into the book for a typical sliding challenge that took out Rodallega, but not before both Zabaleta and Wigan's McCarthy had seen yellow inside the same frantic minute.

Cue Nedum Onuoha making a rare appearance this season off the bench as Silva was withdrawn and Wigan were presented with a City line-up geared to ensure the three points travelled back to Manchester.

Match details

Monday 16 January 2012, 8:00PM

DW Stadium Att:16,026
Premier League

Martin Atkinson


Wigan Athletic:

Al Habsi, Stam, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figuero, McArthur (Watson, 67), Crusat (Di Santo, 67), Gomez (McManaman, 81), McCarthy, Moses, Rodallega

Unused subs:
Pollitt, Gohouri, Boyce, Sammon

McArthur, McCarthy, Figueroa

Manchester City:

Hart, Zabaleta, Savic, Lescott, Clichy, Milner, Barry, Nasri (De Jong, 72), Silva (Onuoha, 80), Aguero (A Johnson, 90), Dzeko

Unused subs:
Pantilimon, Hargreaves, Kolarov, Rekik

Zabaleta, De Jong, Milner

All times are taken from a live feed and are approximate at time of publishing.
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