The Latics take a break from their relegation fight as they take on Man City in the FA Cup final.
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Manchester City will start as strong favourites in Saturday’s FA Cup final against Wigan Athletic, when Roberto Mancini’s men will be seeking to win the trophy for the second time in three years.
1. Joe Hart (ENG)
England’s number one has endured a difficult campaign, committing several high-profile blunders, and is expected to watch the game from the bench due to manager Roberto Mancini’s decision to field under-study Costel Pantilimon in the competition.
30. Costel Pantilimon (ROM)
Having played in all the early rounds, Pantilimon started the 2-1 semi-final win over Chelsea and despite the occasional shaky moment, the gangly Romanian has been told by Mancini that he will keep his place for the final.
4. Vincent Kompany (BEL)
Inspirational captain Kompany missed two months with a calf injury earlier this year and it showed, as City took just eight points from a possible 18 to hand Manchester United a 15-point lead at the top of the Premier League table.
5. Pablo Zabaleta (ARG)
One of the most tirelessly consistent performers in the English top flight, Zabaleta was this season voted into the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Team of the Season by his peers.
6. Joleon Lescott (ENG)
Lescott has fallen out of favour at City this season, prompting speculation about his future at the club, but he is a more than capable deputy and continues to be selected by England manager Roy Hodgson at international level.
13. Aleksandar Kolarov (SRB)
The former Lazio left-back tends to play second fiddle to Gael Clichy on the left-hand side of the City defence, but his dead-ball prowess and ability to play in an advanced role make him a very useful option from the bench.
33. Mataja Nastasic (SRB)
The revelation of City’s season, the classy 20-year-old centre-back settled immediately following his move from Fiorentina last year and quickly dislodged Lescott from the first XI.
22. Gael Clichy (FRA)
Another dependable full-back, France international Clichy left Arsenal after eight years’ loyal service in 2011 and was rewarded with a Premier League winners’ medal in his first season in Manchester.
7. James Milner (ENG)
First blooded as a 16-year-old by Leeds United in November 2002, Milner is a tenacious midfield player valued for his versatility and his ability to make an impact at both ends of the pitch.
8. Samir Nasri (FRA)
Brooding French midfielder Nasri has been regularly chastised by Mancini for his lack of application this season, but his recent displays have improved markedly and he netted City’s opening goal in the semi-final success over Chelsea.
18. Gareth Barry (ENG)
The unsung hero of the City midfield, Barry performs an important organiser’s role and is one of the first names that Mancini inks on his team-sheet.
21. David Silva (ESP)
Like Nasri, Silva’s performances have dipped considerably since his star turn in last season’s league title triumph, but the little Spaniard remains one of the most technically gifted creative midfielders in England.
42. Yaya Toure (CIV)
The driving force behind last season’s title triumph, Toure is one of the most imposing central midfielders in the European game and is expected to play despite sustaining a muscle injury in last weekend’s 0-0 draw with Swansea City.
10. Edin Dzeko (BIH)
An accomplished target man, Dzeko gives City a muscular presence in attack and claimed a very well-taken volley to settle Tuesday’s home game with West Bromwich Albion.
16. Sergio Aguero (ARG)
The Argentine etched his name into English football legend by netting the stoppage-time winner against Queens Park Rangers that gave City the title on the final day of last season and he scored the decider against Chelsea in the last four.
32. Carlos Tevez (ARG)
A bustling ball of energy, former Manchester United striker Carlos Tevez is City’s overall top scorer this season with 17 goals and has already hit the net five times in the FA Cup.
Roberto Mancini (ITA)
Having claimed the FA Cup in 2011 and the Premier League in 2012, Mancini is one of City’s most successful ever managers, but the club’s abject failure to keep pace with runaway league champions Manchester United has raised questions about his future.
City also limped out of the Champions League in the group phase, but he has repeatedly defended himself against accusations that he should have achieved more this season.
The Italian publicly lamented City’s failure to make proactive moves in last year’s close-season transfer window and success over Wigan will help him make a case for more significant investment from the club’s Emirati owners this year.
Wigan Athletic will try to upset the odds when they take on Manchester City in Saturday’s FA Cup final. Here we look at the squad aiming to cause a Wembley shock:
Ali Al Habsi
The 31-year-old hopes to become the first Omani to play in the FA Cup final, but after being left on the bench for every match since the semi-final he faces a nervous wait to discover if his dream will come true.
The 22-year-old made his Wigan debut in the FA Cup fourth round win at Macclesfield in January and his first three games for the club all came in the competition before he took over as Latics number one in the Premier League as well.
The right-back has proved a bargain buy since arriving from Crystal Palace for just £1 million in 2004, making over 200 appearances for the club.
The club’s captain and a former Celtic centre-back who has established himself as their most dependable defender.
The 30-year-old is rated at ’50-50′ to be fit for the final after suffering a hamstring injury in the 2-0 defeat at West Ham last month.
The left-back has been known to venture forward to devastating effect and scored in the Latics’ 3-0 defeat of Everton in the quarter-finals this season.
The 22-year-old Glasgow-born playmaker has emerged as one of Wigan’s most influential figures this season, earning links with a potential move to the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool.
Back from a five-month spell on the sidelines with a broken leg, Watson has featured in Wigan’s last two matches and the midfield work-horse could retain his place at Wembley.
Scored three times in the FA Cup this season, netting a vital late equaliser against Bournemouth to force a third round replay, then bagging the winner at Macclesfield in the next round and the third goal against Everton.
Signed from Scottish minnows Hamilton in 2010, the 25-year-old has gradually adapted to the Premier League and has featured regularly for club and country this season.
Arrived on a free transfer from Major League Soccer outfit Kansas City in December and has made 13 appearances, scoring his first goal in Tuesday’s 3-2 defeat against Swansea.
A extrovert personality who can play in defence and midfield, Scharner returned for his second spell with Wigan on transfer deadline day in January after a brief disappointing stint at Hamburg.
Another astute signing by Wigan manager Roberto Martinez, the £1 million capture from Celtic has produced a series of crucial goals and incisive passes from his position on the right.
Nationality; Ivory Coast
Spearheads Wigan’s attack with pace and power and has scored 13 goals in 35 appearances since his pre-season move from Spanish club Levante.
Although the 22-year-old is best known for a horror tackle on Newcastle’s Massadio Haidara in March, he has emerged as a key figure for Wigan despite starting the season on loan at Championship club Nottingham Forest.
Franco Di Santo
After failing to make the grade with Chelsea, the 24-year-old, who is without a goal since January, is experiencing an equally frustrating spell at Wigan, where he has often been used as a substitute.
Widely regarded as one of the best young managers in the Premier League, the 39-year-old could in his final weeks as Latics boss.
The former Swansea chief has caught the eye of several top clubs thanks to his team’s impressive style of play and his ability to maintain their top-flight status on a limited budget.
After snubbing Liverpool and Aston Villa over the last two years, Martinez is likely to be high on Everton’s wanted list followed David Moyes’ move to Manchester United.
At the end of a week dominated by Alex Ferguson’s shock retirement as Manchester United manager, Manchester City will seek to drag the spotlight back to the blue half of the city by beating Wigan Athletic in Saturday’s FA Cup final.
Victory over Wigan will give City a third major title in three seasons and salve some of the pain inflicted by United’s uncontested romp to this season’s Premier League title and their own abject group-stage exit in the Champions League.
City’s fans would dearly love to interrupt the Ferguson swansong by repeating their 2011 FA Cup success and they will have been heartened by midfielder Yaya Toure’s claim that the Scot’s departure could spark a power shift in the city.
“It will make a big difference,” said Toure at City’s pre-final media day.
“He is a great guy, a great manager, and I hope he stays in football. He has done something unbelievable for that club.”
The Ivorian added, with a wry smile: “For us, I think it is going to be very important. It is looking like Manchester City will start to dominate the Premier League. I hope.”
City will spend the close season plotting how to sabotage David Moyes’ first season in the Old Trafford dug-out, but midfielder James Milner says there will be no time for thoughts of their local rivals when his side take to the field at Wembley Stadium.
“I don’t think that affects us, really,” Milner said.
“We concentrate on our business over here and it’s obviously big news, but all we are concentrating on is the FA Cup final.”
While Saturday’s game represents an opportunity for City to salvage a disappointing season, for Wigan it falls at an unfortunate juncture in their bid to avoid relegation.
Tuesday’s agonising 3-2 defeat at home to Swansea City left Wigan three points adrift of safety at the foot of the table, and with only two games of the season remaining, their seven-year sojourn among the English elite is in serious jeopardy.
Manager Roberto Martinez refuses to view the cup final as a distraction, however, and with Wigan appearing in the tournament finale for the very first time, he has urged his players to seize a rare opportunity to make history.
“I think in football, when you play with a fear of something to lose, which can happen when you’re in a battle to avoid relegation, sometimes you can make cagey decisions because you are playing with that fear,” said the Spaniard.
“I think when you play in an FA Cup final, you haven’t got that feeling. You are playing to have something to win and that freedom allows you to enjoy your football a little bit more.
“This group of players is ready. They are ready to face the occasion on Saturday. We know that we are underdogs and we play one of the biggest teams in European football, and that’s what the FA Cup is all about.”
Wigan’s hopes of pulling off an upset have been compromised by injuries to key defender Maynor Figueroa, Chilean winger Jean Beausejour and utility man Ronnie Stam, but Martinez has given centre-back Antolin Alcaraz a “50-50″ chance of recovering from a hamstring injury.
City received some good news on Thursday when Toure declared himself fit to play after shrugging off a calf complaint.
Manager Roberto Mancini has already confirmed that Costel Pantilimon will continue in goal at the expense of first-choice goalkeeper Joe Hart, having played in last month’s 2-1 defeat of Chelsea in the semi-finals.
“I know he (Hart) wants to play, but we decided at the start of the season it was important for Pantilimon to play in the two cups,” Mancini said.
City will start as strong favourites, but Wigan proved their worth by stunning Everton 3-0 in the quarter-finals, before sinking Millwall in the last four, and City captain Vincent Kompany has warned his side: “We have to be careful.”
Venue Wembley Stadium, Saturday 5.15pm
Tickets Sold out
Previous meetings Man City wins 14 Wigan wins 6 Draws 5
Referee Andre Marriner
This season’s league matches 23 Y72, R4, 3.30 cards per game
Subs from Hart, Wright, Maicon, Kolarov, K Touré, Razak, Dzeko, Lescott, Milner, García, Richards, Guidetti, Rekik
Injured Sinclair (blood clot, Aug)
Form guide WDWLWW
Disciplinary record Y88 R3
Leading scorer Tevez 17
Subs from Robles, Caldwell, Beausejour, Di Santo, Gómez, Redmond, Henríquez, Fyvie, Golobart, Campabadal, Jones
Doubtful Alcaraz (hamstring), Beausejour (hamstring)
Injured Figueroa (groin, Aug), Crusat (knee, Aug), Stam (ankle, Aug), Ramis (knee, Oct), Pollitt (thigh, unknown)
Form guide LWDLLW
Disciplinary record Y75 R3
Leading scorer Koné 13
• Manchester City have won 14, drawn five and lost six of the 25 previous league and cup meetings with Wigan.
• City have won their last seven Premier League matches against the Latics, including a 2-0 victory at the DW last November and a 1-0 triumph at the Etihad Stadium in April.
• The Latics did not manage a single goal against City in any of those defeats, and last breached their defences in the 1-1 home draw in October 2009, again in the Premier League. The 2-1 victory in the previous home clash in
September 2008 was Wigan’s last victory over City.
• Manchester City have prevailed in both previous clashes in the FA Cup, recording 1-0 home victories in the third round in 1971 and the fourth round in 2006, Colin Bell and Andy Cole the respective scorers.
• The winning club will receive £1.8m and the runners-up £900,000.
• Manchester City, who have won the FA Cup once in 43 years, are also hoping to lift the silverware for the second time in three seasons in their 10th appearance in the final.
• They are aiming to become the ninth club to win the oldest football competition in the world at least six times.
• Roberto Mancini’s side have knocked out Watford, Stoke, Leeds, Barnsley and Chelsea on the way to the final, scoring 15 goals and conceding just one (scored by Chelsea’s Demba Ba in the last four).
• City have scored 42 goals in their last 18 FA Cup games, finding the net on each occasion.
• The Etihad Stadium club are second in the Premier League, 10 points behind champions Manchester United with two to play, and have won six and lost one of the last eight in all competitions.
• Mancini is chasing a third major trophy in as many years, to add to the 2011 FA Cup and 2011-12 Premier League title.
• Carlos Tevez is the top-scoring Manchester City player in this season’s FA Cup, with five goals.
• Sergio Aguero has made four FA Cup appearances for Manchester City, and has scored four goals (three in three this season).
• Wigan are hoping to claim the first major piece of silverware of their 81-year history, and become the 43rd different club to win the FA Cup.
• This is the first time the 1985 and 1999 League Trophy winners have progressed beyond the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
• Bournemouth (in a replay), Macclesfield, Huddersfield and Everton were all knocked out on their opponents’ ground, before the Latics beat Millwall 2-0 in the semi-final at Wembley.
• The 2006 League Cup runners-up, who lost 4-0 to Manchester United in the final at the Millennium Stadium, are paying their second visit to the new Wembley.
• Wigan are third bottom in the Premier League, three points from safety with two to play, 16 places and 40 points inferior to Manchester City, having won one and lost three of the last five.
• No club has ever won the FA Cup and been relegated from the top division in the same season, but five clubs have reached the final and been demoted to the second tier: Manchester City (1926), Leicester (1969, who lost to Manchester City in the final), Brighton (1983), Middlesbrough (1997) and Portsmouth (2010).
• Manager Roberto Martinez was a player at the club when they won the Auto Windscreens Shield 14 years ago and was given a winners’ medal, although he did not play in the final because of injury.
• Jordi Gomez and Callum McManaman are Wigan’s joint top scorers in this season’s FA Cup, with three goals each.