Writer: Andy Leggott
Date:Saturday December 24 2005
City travel the short distance to Wigan for what promises to be a lively Boxing Day encounter.
French Tony is hoping for City to build on last weeks 4-1 drubbing of Birmingham.
'The main thing is that we get into the top five. We have the quality in the squad to do it'
Speaking after his mom performance last week he also refelcts on his position in the squad.
'It's not so important to play all 38 games or score 20 goals. What is important is we qualify for Europe. Even if I am not going to play as much as last season, I will give my best in training and on the pitch.'
Full back Taylor misses out with injury, Henchoz and Skoko return.
Been impressive whenever I've seen him.
Cole and Dunne are once again available for selection after serving one match bans meaning a likely return to the bench for last weeks star player, Antoine Sibierski. Whether Dunne starts is more debatable given his recent run of poor form, expect Onouha to keep his place with Dunney starting on the bench.
In fine form of late and will be looking to get to grips with the Wigan midfield. If Barton dominates in the centre City will win.
City and Wigan renew old hostilities with a first Premiership meeting between the two clubs. Having met previously on just 8 occassions Wigan will be looking to improve on their solitary win against the blues. That win came in the last meeting between the clubs, a Worthington cup tie back in 2002. Wigan still hold a grudge over the 1-0 play off defeat at Maine Road back in 99, an early Goat goal deciding a tense match(get over it lads). Games between the two clubs seldom see many goals with just the single goal deciding most fixtures. There has yet to be a 0-0 between the clubs though.
Dermot Gallagher - Could have been worse I suppose.
Wigan have had an impressive start to life in the Premiership and currently sit in 6th place with one more point than City. After a tough run of 5 defeats Wigan have returned to form with recent victories over Charlton and Bolton. City are either superb or awful. Coming off the back of the 4-1 defeat of Birmingham you would expect the players to be up for it, but then again it is Manchester City we are talking about. Despite Wigan having found the winning touch again I have a feeling that they may have been found out. Wins against Charlton and a weakened Bolton hardly qualify as an upturn in form and I see a chance for City to collect the points. If Barton can control the midfield and Cole and Vassell wear their shooting boots expect a comfortable 2-0 win for City. Looking at what's coming up ... we need it.
Chelsea (h) 28/12/05
Middlesboro (a) 31/12/05
Tottenham (h) 04/01/06
Date:Saturday December 24 2005
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