Premier League - Tevez inspires City to win
Sun, 19 Sep 17:04:00 2010
With a number of heavy defeats under their belt already this season, Roberto Martinez sent out a more compact looking Wigan side in an attempt to frustrate their visitors and steal victory.
Utilising the offside trap to great effect, the home side played the wet conditions to almost perfection but conceded twice following lapses in individual concentration.
City’s talisman then pounced on a wayward Maynor Figueroa header after the break to set up Yaya Toure to put the game beyond the Latics.
Wigan remained true to their passing instincts as the game drew to a close but offered little threat on the goal of Hart.
A return of one win in four games and one point from their last two was far from a satisfactory return for a side that have spent so lavishly and who at the very least have Champions League qualification ambitions.
Rewind a month and this match would have been in many eyes seen as an almost guaranteed three points for Roberto Mancini’s side, but, Wigan have made a mini-revival of sorts since being thrashed at home 4-0 by Blackpool and 6-0 by Chelsea in their two opening fixtures.
City still came into the match as clear favourites, but Manchester City boss, Mancini, persisted with his policy of three defensive midfielders for the trip to the DW Stadium.
Granted the conditions in the North West - where it had rained almost consistently for the 24 hours prior to kick off - did little to encourage expansive football but one must question the wisdom of starting three sitting midfielders against a side that have shipped 15 goals in their last five home league matches.
City certainly had more of the possession and that was in no small part due to the influence of the midfield trio of Nigel De Jong, Toure Yaya and Gareth Barry but, with the pitch wet and incredibly slippery they struggled to convert healthy possession into clear cut chances.
On no fewer than three occasions, a period of concerted pressure culminated in an angled ball over the top for lone striker Tevez that either ran through to Ali Al-Habsi or out for a goal-kick.
In fact, with none of City’s midfielders willing to get beyond Tevez it looked as though the Blues’ best opportunity of taking a lead was either through a set-piece or a shot from distance.
And it was Tevez who almost opened the scoring from distance after 13 minutes. Having expertly controlled a long ball forward, he shrugged off two or three challenges before firing just past the post.
With the conditions continuing to have a large impact on the quality of play on show, clear cut chances were at a premium and the best Wigan could offer during the first period was a couple of Franco Di Santo efforts from distance that failed to trouble Hart in the City goal.
And Hart had a decisive hand in the first goal just before the break. Diame mistimed his leap and Hart’s long clearance skimmed off the midfielder's head past Alcaraz and into the path of Tevez, who, clear in on Al Habsi, dinked over the onrushing Wigan stopper.
The second period followed much the same pattern as the first: City had the lion’s share of the possession but chances for either side were few and far between.
Tevez was at the centre of much of what was good from the Blues. And the visitors were unlucky not to double their advantage when the forward found Pablo Zabaleta rushing in on goal but full-back’s volley from a tight angle was charged down before Al-Habsi collected.
Wigan threatened intermittently but, more often than not, the final ball was lacking, with Charles N’Zogbia particularly culpable.
And the match was over as a contest when Tevez squared to Toure to tap in following a poor defensive header from Figueroa twenty minutes from the end.
Wigan made a late fist of it - Diame heading a gilt-edged chance wide - but City also had their chances to extend their lead and, on balance, it was a fair result.Marcus Foley / Eurosport