Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Saturday October 17 2009
The David Whelan Stadium
Sunday 18th October 2009
Back to business for City after being able to reflect this past fortnight with satisfaction upon a terrific start to the season. It's time to deliver again..
'We have a couple of doubts. Kolo has not trained since Villa due to the bang on the heel he received there, and Craig Bellamy has a little bit of stiffness in his groin. He did not finish training on Thursday and did not train Friday.
'We're hopeful on Zabaleta but there is not a guarantee that he will be fit and well. Nigel de Jong is a little bit sore, and Martin Petrov also won't train...because of a sore knee.
'We will give everyone maximum time to help their chances of playing. There is still time before the game for these things to be resolved.
'Craig has been outstanding and you want two outstanding players for every position. In most positions we have the quality we need. If Craig is not available it means someone else will have to step up and be an influence on the game...we have more more players with Premier League experience, who have an understanding of what is needed to win games at this level.'
(and on Robinho) 'There is always speculation and noise surrounding Robinho. That has been the case since he came to the club. He is a great guy. We are not in the process of taking outstanding players out of the team. We want to complement the outstanding players at the club. We are looking to build, not dismantle.'
'They have one of the best squads in the league in terms of numbers and the quality to be contenders. When you go out to buy the best it can go wrong sometimes but when you look at what they've bought recently it almost resembles how you play a computer game.
'But they now have a fantastic squad and Mark Hughes has them playing as a team. Having said that, I wouldn't swap my squad for Man City's, no way.
'In the three months we have been working together we've progressed massively and we believe in our squad.'
Wigan are at full strength for this one. Roberto Martinez's international players have reported back in sound shape.
What's looking likely to be a makeshift City defence will have it's work cut out controlling Rodallega.
The 24 year old Colombian knows where the onion bag is and you can expect Shay Given will have done his homework on him.
It's a case of Alerte Rouge for Sparky.
Vincent Kompany, Nedum Onuoha and Robinho are still a couple of weeks away, maybe more from being declared fully fit, but right now it's elsewhere that the City squad's shipped injuries are bordering on a crisis.
Lescott, Toure, Petrov, Bellamy, Zabaleta and de Jong are all major doubts with Captain Toure the most likely to be ruled out.
Micah Richards, Sylvinho Javan Vidal, Vladimir Weiss and Stephen Ireland could all come into the frame.
Outside of Seamus Given, it's clear that the majority of Sparky's signings this year appear to have a bit of fragility about them, despite their undoubted flair, ability and togetherness.
Many Blues reckon that Superman's replacement of the injured Nigel de Jong at Villa Park helped turn the game in City's favour and with de Jong struggling to be fit for the Wigan game, Stevie will get the nod.
He looked lively after something of a flat start to the season by his standards and if City's injury list realises a number of absences, much will depend upon the Irishman's vision and drive.
The Citizens have never won at Wigan since the Latics left Springfield Park for the Pie Dome!
Sparky has used just 18 players in the league this season.
If Bellaminho scores, it will be his 100th goal in English football.
VITAL MC BIG MATCH LINKS:
Latics Speyk to Manchester City
Vital MC Seven Deadly Sins Fans Q+A: Wigan Athetic
The VMC Match Day Forum
Alan Wiley (Staffordshire) You couldn't make it up. Wiley owes us big time. Fresh from being implicated in City's scandalous defeat to Old Trafford Extra Time last month, Wiley, pilloried for his fitness by Taggart takes charge of this game. A supreme card flourisher he has hit the ground pontificating this season with a whopping 33 Yellow cards and 2 Reds dished out in only 9 games. Wiley reffed City three times last season, however and The Blues won all of those encounters in style. Last season with City: City 6 - 0 Portsmouth 21-09-2008, City 3 - 0 Arsenal 22-11-2008, Everton 1 - 2 City 25-04-2009
More than any other away trip so far this season, City's mission to Wigan following a two week break is as big a test of any of Sparky's squad's newfound resilience. This is where should we win, we'll be believing all the more that we're on to something good this season. Wigan will be sensing blood knowing that City have a lenghthy casualty list but they should also be mindful of the fact that players like Adebayor and Tevez don't give up easily and there will be no margin for error for their own defenders. I think it's too close to call all things considered and much will depend upon who scores first... Johnny On The Spot? Wigan 2 CITY 3
H, Fulham, Sun 25 Oct 1600 BST
H, Scunthorpe United, League Cup, Wed 28 Oct 1945 BST
A, Birmingham City Sun 1 Nov 1600 GMT
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Date:Saturday October 17 2009
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