Barclay’s Premier League
Sunday 19 September 2010, 15.00 KO
City: Hart, Richards, Kompany, K Touré, Zabaleta, de Jong, Barry, Y Touré (Jo 75), Silva (A. Johnson 72), Milner, Tevez (c) (Wright-Phillips 88)
Unused: Given, Boyata, Viera, Santa Cruz
Goals: Tevez (43), Yaya Touré (70)
Booked: de Jong, Yaya Touré
Referee: Lee Probert
Man of the Match: Pablo Zabaleta
After disappointing results against Sunderland and Blackburn, but a good performance in Europe in midweek, Roberto Mancini would have looked to this game to get City’s Premier League campaign back on track, especially with a difficult fixture with Chelsea on the horizon.
But the game got off to a very slow start, with a hanging cross from Richards on 8 minutes knocked down for Silva to volley well wide the best that either side could manage in the opening stages.
Tevez went close to opening the scoring on 13 minutes when he skipped three challenges in the midfield and flashed a low shot at goal, but it was just wide of the post.
City were beginning to control possession, but they weren’t able to find the final ball. Gareth Barry had a pass to Milner skip out of play off the surface, while the ball held up on the wet pitch for Richards, as he tried to break into the box.
Just after the half hour, Zabaleta fired a shot at goal from just outside the area, but it cleared the crossbar and was never going to trouble Al Habsi. Di Santo then went down holding his face after a tussle with Richards, who didn’t appear to do too much other than run with the Wigan man, before Tevez was flagged offside as he tried to break free of the home side’s defence.
With 40 minutes played, de Jong picked up a yellow card for his fifth foul of the day, a mistimed slide on Figueroa right in front of both managers. It wasn’t as bad as it looked, but the referee had no option.
A minute later, it took a neat touch from Zabaleta to stop a Wigan breakaway, as the ball was played into the box, before N’Zogbia slipped when trying to unleash a shot at City’s goal, allowing the visitors to take the ball clear.
And just as it looked like it would be level at the break, City went in front. Despite all of their possession play, it was a long punt from a Joe Hart goal kick that took a flick from a Wigan head and sent Tevez clear. The City skipper looked up, chipped the ball over Al Habsi and watched it drop neatly into the net.
In the opening stages of the second half, it almost got better for City. Wigan looked comfortable in defence, but a short pass sent Carlos Tevez through on goal and the City striker could only find the gloves of Al Habsi.
Two great tackles from, first, Kolo Touré and then Zabaleta stopped Wigan breakaways, before a neat attack from the visitors involving flicks from Silva and Tevez couldn’t be finished by Zabaleta.
With 64 minutes gone, Tevez showed his usual work rate to close down Al Habsi, forcing a poor clearance, but it didn’t fall to a City shirt, before the Argentinean rifled another shot at goal, but once again it was at the goalkeeper.
But, soon enough, City had doubled their lead. There were 20 minutes to go when a disastrous defensive header fell to Tevez and he fired it across the box for Yaya Touré to slot home with his left foot.
On 73 minutes, Tevez could have had his second and City’s third with a shooting chance from the corner of the box, but he sliced his effort wide of the far post, before an isolated Wigan attack could have pulled them a goal back, but Diame shot well over the bar.
There was a final push from the home side in the closing stages, with Rodallega firing just wide of Hart’s goal, before his free kick clipped the City wall an won Wigan a corner. From that flag kick, Diame got up above the defence, but could only head the ball wide.
Adam Johnson almost added to City’s goal tally deep into stoppage time, as his left wing cross was deflected and needed a great save from Al Habsi to touch it onto the bar. It didn’t matter, though, as City secured their first victory in this fixture in the Premier League.