Wigan v Man City FA Cup Final: A City Fan Looks At Where It Went Wrong

Yesterday Wigan pulled off one of the biggest cup upsets in footballing history, but how did Man City allow it to happen?
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Yesterday Wigan pulled off one of the biggest cup upsets in footballing history, but how did Man City allow it to happen?

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That wasn’t very good was it?

First of all, it would be unfair to go on a City focused rant without first paying tribute to a Wigan Athletic side who fully deserved their FA Cup Final victory. By no means the most talented side around, as evidenced by their current precarious position in the Premier League, Roberto Martinez’s men showed tremendous attitude and played for each other in true “magic of the cup” fashion.

In the cold light of day, losing to Wigan is unacceptable but shit happens in  football and you couldn’t help but feel happy for the Latics as they celebrated their historic win. With that out of the way, the simple fact of the matter is that City failed to show up for the big occasion. Right from the first whistle they looked devoid of ideas, attacking at a snail’s pace.

It wasn’t until past the midway point of the first half that they strung a meaningful set of passes together before Carlos Tevez forced Wigan keeper Joel Robles into a save with his foot.

That turned out to be City’s best chance over the course of the 90 minutes as they resorted to long range efforts from outside the box with Wigan’s shape holding firm.

Yaya Toure, who was dubbed “Mr. Wembley” for his previous performances at the stadium, had another one of his anonymous days, something that is happening far too often, and was made to look very average by James McCarthy and co in the middle of the park.

As well as Wigan played though, they did only muster one attempt on target which turned out to be Ben Watson’s last gasp winner. However they troubled City’s back four throughout with Callum McManaman sensational on the right wing. Whatever about his abilities as a defender, Gael Clichy is no slouch but time after time he was caught wanting for pace up against the young winger.

Indeed, a player in McManaman’s mould is exactly what City have been lacking since Mancini took over. Adam Johnson did it occasionally but he was a left footer playing on the right and isn’t the quickest anyway, while Scott Sinclair simply isn’t good enough. An out and out winger would add another dimension to a team that for 90 minutes yesterday looked like it only had one.

Samir Nasri, who to be fair has had a good month or so, reverted back to his early season form while David Silva was unable to find the gaps in defence that he so often does. The decision to substitute Carlos Tevez was a head scratcher given his recent form and while it made sense to push Toure further up the pitch, the Ivorian simply wasn’t at the races and should have been the one to make way.

Roberto Martinez got his tactics spot on, with nobody pressuring Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic when they received the ball at the back as Shaun Maloney, Aroune Kone and McManaman formed the first line of defence on the half way line.

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This shortened the pitch for City and gave them less space to play in. That, coupled with Mancini’s side being off their game, meant passes were misplaced and moves broke down. One such error by Gareth Barry led to Pablo Zabaleta’s second yellow card and subsequent dismissal in the 84 th minute and from then on there was really only going to be one winner.

The warning signs were there before a ball was even kicked as well. The pregame couldn’t have gone much worse for City really with questions raised about manager Roberto Mancini’s future the night before, while the decision to play Joe Hart over Costel Pantilimon left a bad taste in many mouths.

Does Mancini deserve to be sacked? It’s a tough one, a lot of fans see this season as a failure having relinquished the title so easily, exited the Champions League at the group stages, and now losing the FA Cup Final having been heavy favourites. It’s a fair point, but the fear of going back to square one with a new manager, Manuel Pellegrini or otherwise, could set the club back even further.

Some tough decisions are going to be needed over the next few weeks and anyone who thought that we had seen the last of “Typical City” has just gotten a timely reminder that it’s very much alive and well.