English Premier League
Saturday 10 September 2011, 15.00 KO
City: Hart, Richards, Kompany (c), Lescott, Clichy, Y Toure (Razak 80), Milner, Silva, A Johnson, Tevez (Nasri 60), Aguero (Balotelli 70)
Unused: Pantilimon, K Toure, Zabaleta, Dzeko
Goals: Aguero (13, 63, 68)
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Man of the Match: David Silva
City took the initiative from the off with the early pressure on the visitors’ goal. Adam Johnson fired over with a volley that wouldn’t drop down in time for him to catch properly before the Wigan defence closed him down, before David Silva forced Al Habsi into a good save, low to his left.
Tevez then came close to marking his first start of the season with a spectacular overhead kick, as the ball dropped to him as Kompany nodded a corner towards the back post. But, with Al Habsi coming towards the ball, Lescott tried to flick it into the net, but he inadvertently nodded the ball over.
But shortly after, City took the lead. A great move down the left flank between Tevez and Silva presented the ball to Aguero in the box. He carried it around the defender and shot low to Al Habsi’s right. The keeper wasn’t able to get near it and the ball nestled into the corner of the goal, giving the home side an early lead.
With 17 minutes on the clock, City had the chance to double their lead. Silva was clearly fouled in the box and the referee had no hesitation in giving the penalty. Tevez stepped up, but it was a poor spot kick and Al Habsi guessed correctly to make the save.
Aguero then went close to playing Milner in with a deft chip into the box, before Richards latched onto a brilliant Tevez pass to go one-on-one with the goalkeeper. He chipped the ball past Al Habsi and it looked destined for the net, but it hit the underside of the bar, bounced down onto the line and away to safety.
Kompany then had a header saved by the goalkeeper from another corner, before Yaya Toure smashed a low cross through the area. It flicked off Lescott and beat the goalkeeper, but finished just inches wide of the post. Richards then put his body on the line to make a brave clearance in front of Hart, after a deflected shot. City were well on top at the break, but only had one goal to show for it.
The second half got off to a much slower start, as the visitors appeared to be able to contain the home side much better. City’s passing was loose and, while Wigan didn’t threaten, they were able to stop the blues creating any good chances. Milner received a nasty cut to the head in a 50-50 challenge, but he was able to continue with a bandage. Hart then spilled a Rodellaga shot for a corner.
Nasri then joined the action and immediately set about creating City’s second goal. Silva threaded the ball through to the former Arsenal midfielder and he, in turn, slotted it on to Aguero, setting him free in the box. The Argentine then made no mistake in finding the net, rolling his shot beyond Al Habsi to effectively win the game for City.
But, seven minutes later, he got himself the match ball. Silva’s brilliant assist put Aguero through on a one-on-one, as the flag stayed down, and he waited for Al Habsi to commit himself, before passing the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
City began to look like they could run riot in the final 20 minutes of the game, as Kompany broke out of the back four to stretch his legs down the right flank. The Belgian then received the ball deep from a corner and slotted the ball through for Johnson, but his shot was well held by Al Habsi.
The home side wound the game down by keeping possession.