Q&A: Wigan Athletic vs Manchester City

Manchester City fans turn their back on the pitch following a goal a celebration copied from Lech Poznan fans during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers at the City of Manchester Stadium

As I right this, Wigan are now bottom of the table and are starting to come adrift, and you have to wonder why. Recent performances have been brilliant, yet we haven't picked up as many points as we should have or really needed too.

So when we need three points, what a better teams is there to play than Manchester City. Considering they are on a bit of a down turn. Having lost three of their last four matches, some could say another upset was on the cards. Yet I am not so sure of that.

But as ever I have cornered an opposing fan and asked them what they feel about their club and the up coming match. Danny Pugsley was the fan at the end of the questions, check him out at Bitter and Blue. That's after you have read what he has to say of course.

Money, money, money, the stuff that fuels the world and you have a heck of a lot of it, but has it been spent wisely with the current squad? Or are there players out there who you could have and should have bought?

Although Roberto Mancini has had seemingly unlimited money to spend, one thing that doesn’t get acknowledged too often is how wisely he has generally spent. Of course the more money you have means you are less likely to strike out, but contrary to the view that City are a disparate team of individuals he has forged a team together – it is ridiculous to suggest otherwise and if you are talking of the type of qualities that knit sides together (usually when describe lower positioned sides scrapping for their lives) City certainly possess these.

How important do you feel winning the FA Cup was last year for this side? Has it spurred you on to have this fantastic season?

There is no doubt that it was hugely important to finally put an end to the barren spell trophy wise. Although the club has made tremendous progress the past couple of seasons, attaining Champions League football last season alone last season would not necessarily have created the belief and galvanising effect that winning a trophy can do.

It was only the first step on the road to what the club ultimately wants (and hopes) to achieve, but it was a vital first step and one that undoubtedly helped the side go on to make the start they did to this current season.

There was a slight hick up with you falling out of the Champions League, what do you put that down to? Inexperience by a lot of your players? Or were the expectations too high?

There were a number of factors I think. The tough group did not help, but it is easily forgotten that is the fourth seed, Napoli, who progressed alongside Bayern. City’s squad was by no means short of Champions League experience but this had been gained on an individual basis, not as a collective and. The first two games highlighted this and by that time City were playing catch up. I also think there was a degree of naivety to their approach in not playing the group as a whole – i.e. focussing too much on the game in hand. This was evidenced in the away games at Bayern and Napoli, where a more defensive approach could have been taken – particularly so in Naples where he feeling was perhaps to try and secure progression there rather than go for a point and trust the side to beat Bayern in the final to go through.

Do you feel you will go onto win the Premier League this year? If so by how much?

I do, just. The start that City had to the season has only served to magnify when they have slipped of late but through 20 games City’s points per game total is on course for a Premier League best. What has not helped City is that the sides immediately behind them are also playing at a similarly high level and the points totals that both United and Tottenham have would see both top in many other seasons.

At the halfway stage of the season both City and United sat on 45 points and if I think either one matches that over the second half it will be good enough to take the title. Over a prolonged period I do think that City just hold the edge in terms of being able to achieve it.

Who would you like to see come in? Or even go in the January transfer window?

I don’t see who they would necessarily bring in. To really improve the squad it needs to be the elite in the game that arrive and you just don’t see that type of player moving in January. Recent injuries, suspensions and international duty has seen a drop off in quality in the squad but I really don’t see too much out there that would be available. Daniele de Rossi would be an obvious one but his future is far from clear and although his contract is running down there is no guarantee that he doesn’t hang on until the summer.

The elephant in the room that is Carlos Tevez has been on the backburner in recent times but as January ticks down the focus will intensify once again. Clearly there is no going back now so a parting of the ways simply has to happen and if City can somehow get in the region of £20-25 million for him that would – at this point in time – be great business.

Out of the current Wigan squad which player(s) would you have, and why?

I have to confess to not seeing a huge amount of Wigan (or much else outside of City games) but being a fan of the numbers side of football both Ben Watson and Franco di Santo stood out (and have made their way into my Fantasy Football squad at various points). I’m wary of sounding demeaning here but it is difficult to see any players likely to be able to force their way into City’s side but if given an opportunity I’d be interested to see how either Watson and Di Santo fared.

What is your result prediction? And how do you think the match will play out?

An early opening goal for Wigan would make things interesting and certainly test City’s confidence, which has taken a hit of late, but given United’s result this weekend the three points are needed to reclaim top spot and I’d be surprised if City didn’t come away with the win.

And finally what is your favourite flavoured pie?

Not being a huge meat eater, I’d have to say a feta and spinach pie with filo pastry would be my choice.

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