Victors become the vanquished – MAN CITY 1 WIGAN 2

Ouch – what a difference a week makes in cup competitions in English football.

Seven days ago tens of thousands of Manchester City fans were marvelling at the magnanimity of the magnificent Sunderland supporters, after their Black Cat team had lost 3-1 in the Capital One Cup Final at Wembley.

Jubilations - City players pile in, as they pile up a winning League Cup lead  Courtesy @MCFC

Jubilations – City players pile in, as they pile up a winning League Cup lead What a difference a week makes. Courtesy @MCFC

It was so easy to admire their sentiments and to reciprocate the compliments. Well now it’s City’s turn to stand tall in defeat and extend congratulations to a returning hero and his team of warriors from Wigan.

Against all the odds and expectations, ‘little old Wigan’ dumped the Manchester aristocrats out of the FA Cup for a second consecutive season. On face value it beggars belief, but it would be a very belligerent sky blue who begrudged Uwe Rosler’s side their victory.

Picture paints a thousand words - anquisheD Aguero just could not score.  Courtesy @MCFC

Picture paints a thousand words – anquished Aguero just could not score. Courtesy @MCFC

This wasn’t a fluke, despite what the statistics suggest, with City having an astonishing 69% of the possession.

It’s been so easy for City’s fans in recent times. They bask in the afterglow of triumph, revel in the replays of goals scored on the cinema-sized screens in City Square and hang on the words of the after match interviews with Manuel Pellegrini or City’s Man-of-the-Match.

As a City fan of more than four decades (yes, I know I look younger…NOT) the past three years have been a comparative triumph with three domestic trophies – four if, at Roberto Mancini’s insistence, we count the Community Shield.

Milner soon helped City up their game, coming on as a second half substitute Courtesy @MCFC

Milner soon helped City up their game, coming on as a second half substitute Courtesy @MCFC

Huge expectations engulf the Etihad Stadium at every home game and, to City’s shame, the chatter in the stands was all about the FA Cup semi final encounter with Arsenal and another trip to Wembley.

Only someone forgot to tell Uwe and his men just how it was going to be. I hate to say it and I am as guilty as the next man or woman, but I was mentally making plans for the trek ‘darn sarf’ on semi final weekend in April, without paying due respect to a gutsy and impressive Wigan Athletic.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call it arrogance, but it was some way short of humility.

City got what they deserved on the day…a not so sweet FA, nowt, nada, nothing!

Incoming fire - Micah Richards' career has regressed and could he be on his way of The Etihad in the summer?

Incoming fire – Micah Richards’ career has regressed and could he be on his way of The Etihad in the summer?

Talk about déjà vu – City have twice done the hard job and beaten Chelsea in the FA Cup, only to come unstuck against those damned ‘pie-eaters’, also famed as producers of Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls, a confectionery delight from the North West.

It leaves a nasty after taste that Manuel Pellegrini had pledged that the FA Cup quarter final was City’s most important remaining fixture, simply on the basis, it was the next one up.

As a big advocate of City’s cultured Chilean manager, it pains me to say that on this occasion, Mr Pellegrini must have been telling ‘porkies’.

Bad selection - Pellegrini took Wigan too lightly  Courtesy @MCFC

Bad selection – Pellegrini took Wigan too lightly Courtesy @MCFC

Trust levels in ‘our MP’ have grown steadily throughout the season and the recently heard Lamborghini song is testament to the fans’ admiration of the man from Santiago.

That trust was put to the test, and alas, found wanting when Pellegrini sent Martin Demichelis and Joleon Lescott out as City’s central defensive duo. The apprehension was palpable when the team was announced.

It was a sense of foreboding that proved correct when the antiquated Argentine defender allowed the hardly nimble Marc-Antoine Fortune, to wriggle past before felling him in the 18 yard box.

Pony & Trap- Cockney rhyming slang for MDM's levels of performance in recent weeks. Courtesy @MCFC

Pony & Trap- Cockney rhyming slang for MDM’s levels of performance in recent weeks. Courtesy @MCFC

Jordi Gomez scored from the resulting penalty and Wigan were good value for their lead.

With the Nou Camp clearly dominating his thinking, Pellegrini had elected to leave out Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Fernandinho and Silva from the starting XI. It probably cost him any shot at FA Cup glory.

It genuinely saddens me to say this, but Micah Richards has regressed beyond belief from the days when his play promised so much as a teenage prospect. Both he and the under-performing Gael Clichy were about as much use as a man with a fork at a soup sampling.

Wembley woe - Nasri and Navas won't be treading the 'hallowed turf' anytime too soon.  Courtesy @MCFC

Wembley woe – Nasri and Navas won’t be treading the ‘hallowed turf’ anytime too soon. Courtesy @MCFC

Wigan’s decisive 47th minute winner from James Perch owed everything to the ineptitude of the two wing backs.

Richards, with his hands clasped behind his back like a choir boy, stood off James McCarthy allowing the Wigan man to cross to the far post.

Clichy’s reaction time was as a sloth on valium, as Perch nipped in front and scored an easy goal.

City’s defending was abysmal and, without Vincent Kompany, one wonders how it would stand up to scrutiny under Trade Descriptions legislation.

Still got the blues - Aguero and Dzeko should couldn't make headway.  Courtesy @MCFC

Still got the blues – Aguero and Dzeko should couldn’t make headway. Courtesy @MCFC

On a day like this, it’s perhaps a backhanded compliment to say that Javi Garcia was City’s best performer over the 90 minutes. Captain for the day Yaya Toure was effectively anonymous – no mean achievement when you’re the biggest player on the field in more ways than one.

Substituted in the 53rd minute as part of a triple change by an increasingly desperate Pellegrini, Yaya disappeared straight down the tunnel for reasons as yet unknown.

Disappointing Negredo and Navas also gave way as Silva, Milner and Dzeko were introduced. Having wasted an hour, City began to play at a faster tempo and put the hitherto composed Wigan defence on the backfoot.

No way back - Nasri's 68th minute goal wasn't enough to salvage the tie.  Courtesy @MCFC

No way back – Nasri’s 68th minute goal wasn’t enough to salvage the tie. Courtesy @MCFC

The pressure bore fruit when Samir Nasri’s 68th minute, 20-yard strike, caught Scott Carson unaware in the Wigan goal and City pegged it back to 2-1.

Having grown accustomed to Houdini acts in recent times e.g. 2-0 down to Watford in the 4th Round transformed into a 4-2 win, the 44,000 home crowd were once again expectant.

Just how Wigan made it through to the 95th minute final whistle, City will never know. Dzeko hit the post, Carson denied Aguero twice and Boyce cleared from underneath his own crossbar with Edin waiting to tap home.

Even Merlin couldn't magic an FA Cup win.  Courtesy @MCFC

Even Merlin couldn’t magic an FA Cup win. Courtesy @MCFC

City kept pouring forward but Richards flashed a shot wide left, before Dzeko saw another header drift agonisingly the wrong side of the post.

It’s not sour grapes to say referee, Anthony Taylor, was bordering on inept, but Wigan were nonetheless worthy winners.

Pellegrini now has to lick his wounds and go again in the UCL at the Nou Camp this Wednesday.

Bursting through but with no end product - Sergio couldn't score to beat Wigan.  Courtesy @MCFC

Bursting through but with no end product – Sergio couldn’t score to beat Wigan. Courtesy @MCFC

A win by two or more goals, would begin to blur the astonishing horror of City falling to Wigan for a second time in less than a calendar year.

Hours later it’s still incomprehensible but, if City are to find any consolation it must be in the guise of those seven defiant, yet strangely defeatist, words, ‘ Now we can concentrate on the league…’



By David Walker



  1. March 10, 2014  5:45 am by Mole Rocks Reply

    The only saving grace does appear to be an easing of the fixture list.

    The result shows that in central defence in particular, City still lack quality in depth.

    MP will need to address this in the summer, before other areas.


    • March 10, 2014  6:13 am by David Walker Reply

      Our defence was appalling - I'd divest ourselves of the entire back four this summer.

  2. March 10, 2014  6:04 am by GeorgeInIsrael Reply

    Put your best team out and when (and only when) the game is one, rest the key players. Starting with a weakened team is asking for trouble.

    • March 10, 2014  6:15 am by David Walker Reply

      MP should have heeded lessons from Blackburn & Watford. He let us down but he couldn't legislate for the entire back line being unbridled shyte!

  3. March 10, 2014  6:23 am by Chris Williams Reply

    Will MP now admit that Demichelis is one of the worst centre half ever to play for City and stop subjecting us to his inept displays and countless mistakes ? Trust in MP ! He makes that difficult when he keeps selecting Demichelis.

    That was our poorest performance under MP and I try not to take anything away fro Uwe and Wigan as they came a good plan against us carried it out perfectly.

    • March 10, 2014  7:19 am by GeorgeInIsrael Reply

      You obviously never saw Mike Batty in the 60s.

    • March 10, 2014  7:28 am by David Walker Reply

      Can't disagree with that Chris - MDM is pony & trap!

  4. March 10, 2014  6:35 am by Pete Lynch Reply

    Smart piece David. I was here when were shit..

    • March 10, 2014  7:28 am by David Walker Reply

      And even now we are capable of serving up shyte!

  5. March 10, 2014  7:32 am by Gary Derbyshire Reply

    Well said David, we got what we deserved which was nothing!! Surely MP sees something in MDM which 40 odd thousand others aren't and I just hope his continued selection doesn't cost us at the end of the season. But that's enough negative talk, fair play to Wigan and I hope they continue in the cup. After all is said and done, we've already got a nice shiny pot on the shelf and I've got a trip to Barcelona to look forward too! Now let's get our games in hand won and give Maureen something to worry about! COME ON CITY!! #TrustOurMP

    • March 10, 2014  8:08 am by David Walker Reply

      Yes MP seems to have a blind spot for Pony &Trap - similar to Mancini with Mad Mario!

  6. March 10, 2014  7:39 am by fifthcolumnblue Reply


  7. March 10, 2014  8:00 am by Graham Ward Reply

    Congratulations, Wigan.
    Following the opening goal, it was a tactical battle, with plenty of possession, but no cutting edge or tempo until it was too late. Lack of concentration in defence, caught out again by a quick throw in, and a neat turn.
    Yaya is not a captain, he loses his temper too easily, and looked like a second yellow card in the making just prior to his substitution.
    Negredo is hitting a brick wall at the moment, and it is sad to see how far Richards has gone back.
    I was certainly puzzled by one decision of the referee in the first half - Nasri booked for dissent, yet Negredo was clouted from behind, yet no card!

    • March 10, 2014  8:15 am by David Walker Reply

      Anthony Taylor is totally inept at best and a right little sh*t at best. You can just tell he doesn't command the respect of the players. I suspect he was the kid at school who always sat out PE with a note from his mum about a wart on his finger!

  8. March 10, 2014  8:43 am by guy Burke Reply

    Everyone under-estimated Wigan yesterday,fans players and management. We were all mentally at wembley playing arsenal (a game i think City may have struggled with in the middle of a hectic fixture list and with The gooners desperate need of overdue silverware) this could be an urgent wake up call and galvanise the team for Barcelona. Safe journey to all blues making the trip. Winning there and going through on Wednesday would just be Typical City!

    • March 10, 2014  9:45 am by David Walker Reply

      Wouldn't it just - 3-1 CITEH!

  9. March 10, 2014  8:48 am by John Evans TT Reply

    David your post said it all.

    Well done and good luck Wigan.

    • March 10, 2014  9:47 am by David Walker Reply

      Thanks for reading & commenting John #MCFCBLUEBROS

  10. March 10, 2014  9:22 am by James Norman Reply

    Great read and can disagree with nothing you wrote. Do not understand why he keeps playing Demi, and why he keeps underestimating teams is beyond me, we showed Wigan no respect in that team selection and that cost us. Yes we have a nothing to lose go for it game against Barca but this was a golden opportunity for us to pick up more silverware, and at this stage more realistic than getting past Barca!! Maybe MP doesn't quite get the importance of FA Cup, yet!!! It's not the end of the world but we do have to question where has that team gone from a month ago that was sweeping all in front of them away? MP needs to pick our very best starting 11 now for every game if we want any chance of title glory and we just need to play our very best on Wednesday!!

    • March 10, 2014  9:49 am by David Walker Reply

      Agreed JN - 12 game PL season choose the best collective unit & stick with no sign of MDM or sadly MR.

  11. March 10, 2014  9:59 am by carol Reply

    the one consolation is that it was Uwe

    • March 10, 2014  10:21 am by David Walker Reply

      Naturlich Uwe WUNDERBAR!

  12. March 10, 2014  10:17 am by guy Burke Reply

    Sorry. Churlish of me also not to give praise to Wigan for a superb battling performance. They rode their luck at times but i did not begrudge them the cup final win and neither yesterdays win also . Uwe doing a superb job and i for one would love to see him bring Wigan up through the play offs . Whelan is still a annoying twunt though!!!

    • March 10, 2014  10:22 am by David Walker Reply

      He hurt his leg once didn't he?

      • March 10, 2014  10:39 am by guy Burke Reply

        Really!!! Don't recall hearing about that???

  13. March 10, 2014  10:38 am by SkyBlueAndyB Reply

    With the Champions League as good as gone, the team selection & resting of players was frustrating. Pellegrini's mantra, "the next game is the most important" has now been exposed as a big fib, with him having more than one eye on Wednesdays game.
    That defence that played against Wigan would have struggled on the Moss Rose, against Macc Town, during the dark old days of the 98/99 season.
    The 'best squad in the league' tag has now been show to be a myth, with only Vinny, Zaba & Kolarov being the only defenders worthy of a contract.
    Since the league defeat to Chelsea the team has been a shadow of it's former self, with the team appearing as though the belief has been knocked out of them.
    It's now time for everyone to take a step back, take stock & prepare for a final push for the league title, which, in my opinion, will be out of reach this season.

    • March 10, 2014  10:40 pm by David Walker Reply

      Pains me to say it but I fear you could be right, although our destiny still remains in our own hands.

  14. March 10, 2014  4:25 pm by bluewelder Reply

    Agree totally with your article,some of the players looked like they did'nt want to be out there,Manuel has no plan B and the starting team was baffling,demichelis must have something on PM,thats the only reason why i can why he's getting picked in nearly every game,he's to slow and his positioning is always in doubt,Micah leaving in the summer along with James,Jeoleon and others,for some reason they've fell out of favour with Manuel but half that team yesterday should in my opinion not have started,fair play to Wigan the best team won and i wish them all the best,they did Uwe proud as he did for us on many occasion.

    • March 10, 2014  11:20 pm by David Walker Reply

      I hope we retain Milner he's a valued player, unlike MR JL MDM ED GC who should all be gone this summer.


  15. March 10, 2014  7:19 pm by DOUG HENSHAW Reply

    Agree totally with every word Dave at this stage of the season we should be starting with the strongest team possible in ever game. Is Demichaos MP love child because there must be a reason why he keeps picking him. Micah not the player he was sad to say but all the defense was a shambles did mp do anything when it was obvious to everybody it wasn't working no not a thing. He has sacrificed the FA Cup in the hope that we can knock out Barcelona & even if we do it wont make up for Sunday. Trust Our Mp at this moment in time NO.

    • March 10, 2014  11:23 pm by David Walker Reply

      I cannot but agree Doug. MP team selection way off, but players who were given an opportunity blew it big time!

  16. March 10, 2014  8:02 pm by Jim Land Reply

    Haven't seen the game, so can't comment on the selection and/or performances. However I do think there is a difference in attitude towards the FA cup between many managers (and players) and fans - especially older fans. (Not a dig at you Dave, I've been supporting for over 40 years too.) The Cup, as it was always known, used to be the 2nd most important trophy in football: forget all the European frippery, win the league, if not then the FA Cup. And the beauty of the Cup is that it is never predictable - probably why City have featured in so many 'upsets' one way or another: Halifax anyone? - so if you're having a "shyte" season in the league, there's always the hope of a cup run. However the fact that our Cup doesn't generate the glory (or money) of the Champions (and 2nd, 3rd & 4th) League means that managers, especially those from overseas without the sense of tradition, see it as a lesser competition: as domestic cups in most other countries are.

    • March 10, 2014  11:26 pm by David Walker Reply

      Steady on - I'm 82 and still have my teeth albeit in a shoebox! Agree on FA Cup standing #greatly diminished. Thanks again.

  17. March 11, 2014  12:04 am by Philip Entwistle Reply

    Good piece Dave, but what saddens me is MP coming out and saying: sic (Daily Mail) "Maybe we thought it wouldn't be so difficult and by the time we reacted it was too late". Sorry to be the bearer of bad news Manuel, but it was 'too late' when you handed in your team sheet. Ewe must have been laughing his cock off, the only team talk he needed to deliver was to read out who was playing in defence, each of which is capable of calamitious defending, which is exactly what happened.
    Surely if the defeat by Chelsea in the league was a wake up call for the Cup, lesson learnt, but don't take the piss out of a Championship team who are enjoying a purple patch, winning there last 5 games, because this is what happens - they piss on your chips.
    As you mentioned we were all thinking off another trip to Etihad South, well good luck Wigan and thanks for saving me £250 quid.

    • March 11, 2014  6:58 am by David Walker Reply

      Well put Phil - if MP is underestimating opponents - for whatever reason, someone like Kiddo should be advising him. Either way Manuel screwed up & needs to start playing his best XI every game in what is now a 12 game PL.

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