Top visits bottom on Monday night when Manchester City travel to Wigan Athletic. But, the result may not be as straightforward as you think.
First of all, let’s get all the negative stuff about rock-bottom Wigan out of the way:
- They have not won in five matches and have a poor home record with just one win in 10 – on a par with fellow relegation candidates Bolton Wanderers and QPR.
- They are the most shot-shy side in the league – scoring just 18 goals in 20 matches this season.
- They are prone to conceding late goals – 11 in the last 15 minutes during their league matches this campaign is more than any other team.
But, for all their weaknesses they have a tendency to grind out results against some of the better teams in the division. In December, they earned successive home draws against both Liverpool and Chelsea and earlier this season they pulled off unexpected away victories at West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland.
Not many will give the Latics much hope against a City team that has beaten them in their last four league matches without conceding a goal, but Roberto Mancini’s side are not in great form away from home. They have not won on the road in their last four league attempts and have not scored a goal in their last two.
It is also worth pointing out that until last season, Wigan had an excellent home record in the Premier League against City with three wins and two draws. A 2-0 defeat at the JJB Stadium in September 2010 brought that excellent run to an end.
City are likely to be boosted by the return of David Silva but striker Mario Balotelli, who limped off the field during the Carling Cup defeat by Liverpool is doubtful. They will of course be without the suspended Vincent Kompany and the Toure brothers, Kolo and Yaya.
Like the Toure’s, Wigan midfielder Mohamed Diame is on Africa Cup of Nations duty but winger Albert Crusat has recovered from a back injury.
Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi has arguably been Roberto Martinez’s best player this season and he will need to be in inspired form if the relegation strugglers are to frustrate their big-spending rivals.
Verdict: Draw @ 4.6 (Bet Victor)
- Wigan Athletic @ 9.0 (Ladbrokes)
- Manchester City @ 1.44 (bet365)
If he starts, Sergio Aguero @ 4.75 (bet365), is the favourite to score the first goal and the bookmakers are taking no chances with the odds on him doing so. Aguero has found the net 14 times in 19 Premier League appearances this season.
More First Goalscorers:
- Mario Balotelli @ 5.0 (Betfred)
- Edin Dzeko @ 5.5 (Coral)
- David Silva @ 7.5 (Paddy Power)
- Samir Nasri @ 8.0 (Sky Bet)
- Adam Johnson @ 9.0 (Coral)
- Hugo Rodallega @ 11.0 (Sportingbet)
- Connor Sammon @ 13.0 (Paddy Power)
- Franco Di Santo @ 13.0 (Bet Victor)
- Callum McManaman @ 15.0 (bet365)
- Denis Suarez @ 15.0 (Sky Bet)
- James Milner @ 15.0 (Ladbrokes)
- Victor Moses @ 17.0 (Paddy Power)
- No Goalscorer@ 17.0 (Ladbrokes)
An interesting prospect to find the net at any time during the match is Ben Watson @ 8.5 (Paddy Power). The Wigan midfielder has scored three times in the league this season, two of which came from the penalty spot. Incidentally, Wigan have been awarded six penalties this season, more than any other top flight team.
More Anytime Goalscorers:
- Sergio Aguero @ 2.0 (Betfred)
- Mario Balotelli @ 2.1 (Betfred)
- Edin Dzeko @ 2.1 (Betfred)
- David Silva @ 2.88 (Paddy Power)
- Samir Nasri @ 3.4 (Sky Bet)
- Adam Johnson @ 3.4 (Paddy Power)
- Hugo Rodallega @ 4.5 (Sky Bet)
- Connor Sammon @ 5.0 (Paddy Power)
- Franco Di Santo @ 5.0 (Paddy Power)
- James Milner @ 5.5 (Sky Bet)
- Aleksandar Kolarov @ 6.5 (Sky Bet)
- Jordi Gomez @ 7.0 (Paddy Power)
With City out of form away from home and Wigan’s propensity to get results against perceived “bigger” teams, I am predicting a 1-1 @ 9.5 (Sportingbet) scoreline.
More Correct Scores:
- Wigan Athletic 1-0 @ 23.0 (Coral)
- Wigan Athletic 2-0 @ 51.0 (Betfred)
- Wigan Athletic 2-1 @ 23.o (Bet Victor)
- Wigan Athletic 3-0 @ 176.0 (Paddy Power)
- Wigan Athletic 3-1 @ 81.0 (Bet Victor)
- Draw 0-0 @ 17.0 (Sky Bet)
- Draw 2-2 @ 23.0 (Betfred)
- Manchester City 1-0 @ 9.0 (Ladbrokes)
- Manchester City 2-0 @ 8.0 (Ladbrokes)
- Manchester City 2-1 @ 9.0 (Ladbrokes)
- Manchester City 3-0 @ 11.0 (Paddy Power)
- Manchester City 3-1 @ 11.0 (bet365)
- Manchester City 4-0 @ 19.0 (Sky Bet)
- Manchester City 5-0 @ 41.0 (Boylesports)
- Manchester City 6-0 @ 101.0 (Boylesports)