MAN CITY v WIGAN – It’s ‘pieback’ time

Rather like a Manchester Piccadilly tannoy announcement it’ll be a case of ‘All Change…’ at the Etihad Stadium as Manchester City seek payback against the upstarts who deprived them of FA Cup Final glory a mere 136 days ago.

Is it me, or am I not alone in feeling that horrible wet May afternoon at Wembley seems an age ago?

Time has healed the wounds and all but banished that nauseous feeling of incredulity, as a totally uninspired City let themselves and their fans down, in the most lopsidedly supported FA Cup finale in recent times.

Manchester City.s Ministry of Defence - Richards and Lescott could be called upon for the full 90 minutes tonight

Manchester City’s Ministry of Defence – Richards and Lescott could be called upon for the full 90 minutes tonight

Bursting with sky blue brethren – the support split had to be at least a 65-35% over the Wigan wanderers (posh corporate customers aside) – but Roberto Mancini’s swansong was as flat as his other swan-related City match had been an amazing high – the sick swan episode at Old Trafford in October 2011.

The City fans had arrived full of expectations whereas their Wigan counterparts came more in hope and apprehension, with the club’s Premier League survival still hanging in the balance.

As we now know, City were in disarray behind the scenes. Mancini knew he was about to be sacked, while the players –  disenchanted with all the off-field shenanigans – had all but disengaged from their manager’s way of thinking.

And boy oh boy didn’t it show! Insipid doesn’t even come close, and Roberto Martinez and his soon-to-be-relegated side were deserving winners.

Play time - Fans favourite James 'Jimmy' Milner is another England international who could play a full game tonight

Play time – Fans favourite James ‘Jimmy’ Milner is another England international who could play a full game tonight

It hardly compares with the rich rewards on offer at Wembley that day, but the victors in tonight’s third round Capital Punishment – sorry Capital One – Cup tie get the glory of…a fourth round fixture in the Capital Punishment (I think I was the right the first time) Cup.

Professional pride, a first team starting berth and the chance to catch the eye of Manuel Pellegrini, should be incentive enough for a much-changed City First XI to navigate a way past Owen Coyle’s Championship outfit.

Wigan have made a steady, if not spectacular start, in the second tier of English football, having seen a fairly substantial turnover of their staff during the summer.

Sadly departed - Gareth Barry is now at Everton with ex-Wigan manager Martinez and several of their FA Cup winners

Sadly departed – Gareth Barry is now at Everton with ex-Wigan manager Martinez and several of their FA Cup winners

Key players such as James McCarthy, Arouna Kone and Spanish goalkeeper Joel Robles have followed ex-boss Roberto Martinez to Everton, where strangely enough, City’s very own Gareth Barry now resides on a season-long loan.

After the fervour, passion and unbridled joy of Sunday’s Massacre of Moyes’ Manure, it will be a more sobering atmosphere and attendance at the Etihad tonight.

One would imagine the team will be virtually unrecognizable from the derby day line-up, although Pellegrini’s selection will be handicapped by ongoing injury concerns over David Silva, Gael Clichy and the likely absence of Jack Rodwell.

Home debut - Stevan Jovetic could make his first appearance at the Etihad after a promising run out at Stoke

Home debut – Stevan Jovetic could make his first appearance at the Etihad after a promising run out at Stoke

Micah Richards could find himself as the skipper in his first appearance of the season having finally recovered from a pre-season knock. Pantilimon, Lescott, Boyata, Garcia, Jovetic, Dzeko and Milner could all start, with Pellegrini possibly tempted to have some of Partick Vieira’s Elite Development Squad (EDS) either on the bench or thrust straight into the fray.

Marco Lopes, George Evans, Albert Rusnak or Devante Cole might be given first team exposure. But the conundrum of young Swedish striker John Guidetti seems to rumble on unresolved, with opinion on the starlet split.

Still not fit to start the season at any level, Guidetti is a young man of whom some people expect a lot, whereas others believe that he won’t make it in the rarefied, high octane environment of English football’s top tier.

A wonder season with Feyenoord in the Netherlands in 2011/12, saw him score 20 goals in 23 games, including a hat-trick against arch rivals Ajax, thereby achieving cult status into the bargain.

At just 21-years old he has one full international appearance to his name, but his career has gone in reverse gear due to a debilitating illness and a spate of injuries. He’s on his way back to fitness at present but has no chance of any involvement tonight. His time may yet come, who knows?

That was the week that was - Pellegrini will demanding more of the same after terrific City wins in the UCL & Premier League

That was the week that was – Pellegrini will demanding more of the same after terrific City wins in the UCL & Premier League

The competition itself is way down the list of priorities of both Pellegrini and Coyle alike, but, if you’re playing the game you may as well win rather than lose.

With the FA Cup loss still niggling in the background one would hope City will want to knock the filling out of the ‘pie-eaters’ and give them short shrift, if not short crust, with a healthy win and a feast of entertainment for the fans, albeit four-and-half months too late.

In the unpalatable scenario that Wigan are winning at any stage tonight, it may well be that  a sub’s bench comprising Aguero, Yaya, Kompany, Navas, Zabaleta, Negredo and Hart, would be enough to give Dave Whelan and Co a really nasty bout of indigestion, and City the chance to savour their just desserts.

City just need a proper ‘pukka’ performance and it’s into the Fourth Round.

 

 

#TrustOurMP.

By David Walker

www.readbutneverred.com

@djwskyblu

13 Comments

  1. September 24, 2013  8:34 am by Eileen Fullen Reply

    Another great read was at Wembley on that fatal day still hurting.
    MCFC FOREVER BLUE

    • September 24, 2013  10:31 am by DAVID WALKER Reply

      It wasn't the best Saturday afternoon ever in the history of the world was it? Bit of a contrast with what had gone before - almost a year to the day - and Aguuueerrrroooooo! We'll be all the better for the experience going forward...I sincerely hope.

  2. September 24, 2013  8:51 am by Mark Reply

    Lopes wasn't involved in last nights EDS game so I can see him starting. Like Micah said " a good run in this comp, will do us no harm for our understudies "

    • September 24, 2013  10:35 am by DAVID WALKER Reply

      Lopes looked very sharp when he scored on his debut. One can only help that under Vieira's guidance he is developing in the right fashion because it's essential the crop of youngsters presently being nurtured come through to the first team and perform well. The alternative is to be like Chelsea where they still, after more than 10 years, have next to nothing making the grade via the Academy. That will not be acceptable to the Sheikh, hence we're emulating and hopefully surpassing the Barcelona set-up, widely regarded as the best in the world.

  3. September 24, 2013  9:17 am by Fifthcolumnblue Reply

    Let's just hope this isn't a case of "After the Lord Mayor's show"

    I do hear that Coyle isn't impressed with Wigan's upcoming fixture congestion though, so we might see MCFC reserves vs Wigan reserves.

    Doesn't sound as though it has the makings of a classic, but we should be able to beat this lot comfortably!

    • September 24, 2013  10:39 am by DAVID WALKER Reply

      I think it's inevitable given Sunday's momentous performance but if we can perhaps gets 25,000 - 30,000 in, especially with it being cheaper and folk who don't usually go get a chance to see the First XI, then it should suffice. Irrespective of whoever is in the line up, we should win, provided we are focused and determined.

  4. September 24, 2013  11:17 am by Graham Ward Reply

    Hard to see what the starting XI and bench will be with this one, I didn't realise Rodwell had picked up a knock, and that Clichy was still a concern. It will be a totally different team, so there should be no worries about how they play....I hope!
    It should still be a pretty reasonable line up, and I agree with Fifth, we should have enough to get through.

    • September 24, 2013  1:34 pm by David Walker Reply

      It'll be a poor show if we can't get past Wigan at home in any circumstances.

  5. September 24, 2013  12:45 pm by Alan Baxter Reply

    With the Lame Duck this competition has become it's hardly surprising the Swans won it last season. I wouldn't be surprised if Wigan also make wholesale changes. Not looking forward to their 30 strong following all waving inflatable FA Cups at us either. Ah well you've got to take the rough with the smooth (and the loyalty points) so bring it on! I watched the EDS at Hyde last night so I'd be surprised if any play more than a cameo. I would expect in effect a "proper" reserve XI and a team that should have more than enough to progress.

  6. September 24, 2013  2:19 pm by David Walker Reply

    Bows and arrows...right, that's the inflatable FA Cups taken care of...

  7. September 24, 2013  6:38 pm by Andy Devereux Reply

    Good stuff again David,a full change of personel with some EDS lads involved would do for me and should be plenty to see off Wigan #TrustOurMP

    • September 24, 2013  7:01 pm by David Walker Reply

      Have yet to see team but... injuries to Silva Clichy Rodwell so...
      Pants Micah Lescott Boyata Kolarov Garcia Evans Milner Jovetic Dzeko Lopes?????
      Thanks Andy

  8. September 26, 2013  9:54 pm by Mole Rocks Reply

    I would love City to take this competition very seriously. We should be winning this trophy.

    I know it's not a given, but with our squad we should be getting to the final.

    At least I believe MP will want to do his best in every game, so that bodes well.

    #trustinMP

Leave a Reply to David Walker Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.