Wigan Athletic are playing in their first ever FA Cup final while Manchester City are looking to win their second FA Cup in three seasons. Going in to Saturday Manchester City have pretty much wrapped up second place, while Wigan are looking likely to be relegated this season.
Date: Saturday, May 11, 2013
Time: 12:00 ET/17:00 GMT airing on FOX network television
Kickoff: 12:15 ET/17:15 GMT
In their midweek matches they each had opposite fortunes with Wigan losing to Swansea and Manchester City winning at home to West Brom. Wigan’s loss means that they need to win their last matches and hope that at least one team above them drop points. Manchester City have just about secured second place, needing just a draw in their last two games.
While Wigan Athletic still have to worry about relegation from the Premier League, but I’m sure that they will really go for it since they have worked so hard to make it to the final. On the other side, Manchester City have this one trophy to go for this year if they want to get silverware for the third year in a row.
The Lattics are going to find it difficult on Saturday especially without two of their best players/defenders Maynor Figueroa and Jean Beausejour. Antolin Alcaraz could be available, but is still a doubt for the match. Having these players out is going to really hurt them, and this was certainly noticed in their 2-3 loss to Swansea. The good news is that they should have a strong midfield and front line.
Manchester City doesn’t really have any injury concerns. Yaya Toure is listed as questionable, but I’m sure he will be fit enough to play for most of the match. Roberto Mancini will almost certainly play with Costel Pantilimon in goal in place of Joe Hart. Pantilimon has played in every one of City’s FA Cup matches this season.
What to expect?
I know that both teams are going to be up for this one. Wigan’s first ever FA Cup Final and City’s only chance at silverware this season means that there is plenty to play for. Wigan have played a rather free flowing, attacking football with short passing on the ground. They have quick forwards that can be deadly in the box and from range. They are also able to use the wings to stretch play and run at the defense.
Manchester City has typically been very direct in their play, preferring to attack up the middle and rarely use the wings. This has worked out for them and they do have three fantastic forwards that will give Wigan’s back line a hard time. Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez are quick and always ready to run at a defender or cause problems getting in behind. Yaya Toure will certainly be playing and can control the midfield along with Milner and Barry.
It’s going to be a rough day for Wigan’s back line. I’m predicting Manchester City will put their defense under a lot of pressure with Wigan looking to use the counter attack and get goals. I do believe that Wigan can get a goal in this, but they are going to struggle defensively.
My prediction is for a Manchester City win. Wigan’s only chance of getting something out of this is to set up a very solid defense and get a goal on the counter attack, much like they did in their 3-0 win over Everton in the FA Cup quarterfinals. Wigan could clog up the middle and make it difficult for City, but it’s going to be difficult for them. City’s recent form has picked up and their quality should see them through to their second FA Cup trophy in three years.
FA Cup Final Prediction: Manchester City 3 – 1 Wigan Athletic
Manchester City: 4-2-3-1: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy, Y. Toure, Milner, Barry, Nasri, Tevez, Aguero;
Substitutes: Hart, Dzeko, Kolarov, Silva, Garcia, Rodwell, K. Toure
Wigan Athletic: 4-3-3: Al Habsi, Boyce, Caldwell, Alcaraz, Scharner, Watson, McArthur, McCarthy, McManaman, Kone, Maloney;
Substitutes: Joel, Jones, Di Santo, Espinoza, Gomez, Henriquez, Stam