Writer: Andy Leggott
Date:Sunday March 2 2008
City of Manchester Stadium
City's current Eastlands malaise continued as they struggled to break down a poor Wigan side who went away with exactly what they came for.
On a rotten Manchester evening both sides failed to conjure up anything resembling entertainment for the first sub 40,000 premier league crowd of the season. The only winners were the stay aways who settled for the television and a few pints to dull the senses.
Sven set City up with the now familiar, one size fits all, 4-5-1 formation with Elano and Corluka returning to replace the suspended Petrov and injured Richards. There was also a welcome return to the side for Michael Johnson, although surprisingly at the expense of Hamann.
The game itself was an extension of the Everton fiasco with the one difference being the opposition offered very little. As usual of late, City's counter attacking game was ineffective against a team content to sit eighteen yards out and setting the challenge; get through that.
Ex City thug, Michael Brown was given the task of assaulting Elano out of the game and will consider the yellow card he received in the first half as a job well done as Elano failed to stamp any authority on the game.
Chances were few and far between but Benjani should have won the game late in the second half when he fired a Vassell cross ten yards wide from just three yards out. At the other end Hart was forced into one late save from Palacios and that was that.
All in all this was another failure for the counter attacking game that Sven still insists on using at home. It is no coincidence that the system is now working better on our travels than at Eastlands, with the 2-1 win at the sty being a case in point. Perhaps it is time for Sven to switch to 4-4-2 at home and go at teams such as Wigan from the start. An early goal would force them out and then City's passing game should prevail.
That said we're still sat in 8th spot and still within touching distance of a European spot. Arsenal's late equaliser against Villa has kept the door open and City must now buck up their ideas and produce a last ten games on a par with the first ten.
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Date:Sunday March 2 2008
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