10th May 2013
Playing at Wembley is a special feeling whatever the occasion, but the FA Cup final might just be the most important game played at the famous venue. Manchester City and Wigan are this year’s finalists with both sides extremely motivated to make a hugely disappointing season tolerable by lifting the coveted trophy.
As much as Roberto Mancini is looking to blame everyone but himself, the fact is he has failed to get the maximum out of his star-studded squad this term. Team’s Champions League campaign was a huge disappointment and the Citizens have no excuse for finishing bottom of their group even if they had to battle the likes of Real, Dortmund and Ajax. Meanwhile, the team have failed to mount a serious title challenge in the Premier League despite being tipped as pre-season favourites for the trophy, but at least they are still in the running for the FA Cup trophy. Manchester City are obviously odds-on favourites to beat Wigan at Wembley, and they really seem to have raised their game over the last couple of months. Apart from the last two games, in which it was evident the players are thinking about the FA Cup final, City have played really well of late and they have every reason to believe the title is their for the taking. Unlike his counterpart, Roberto Mancini had the courtesy of resting his key players and those carrying knocks over the last couple of weeks, which should give the Citizens an extra edge in this match. Yaya Toure should be fit to play, whilst Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Gareth Barry and Matija Nastasic are set to be recalled.
The FA Cup final comes at a bad time for Wigan Athletic, who have just suffered a huge blow to their survival bid having lost at home to Swansea. With the Latics due to play Arsenal away and Aston Villa at home and being three points adrift of safety, everything suggests the escape artists will go down this time and this is not the feeling they would like to have going into the FA Cup final. It is perfectly clear that numerous injuries have disrupted the team’s momentum in the crucial stage of the season, and no doubt the Latics will need a massive effort if they are to upset their more illustrious opponents and lift the coveted title. It does appear the players are running on empty after having played so many crucial games in the last few weeks, while Roberto Mancini faces an anxious wait over several key men. While Ivan Ramis and Maynor Figueroa are definitely out, Antolin Alcaraz and Jean Beausejour are major doubts, while Ronnie Stam has been ruled out for the season. All things considered, Wigan don’t look they can match full-strength Manchester City at the moment.
Manchester City have been able to fully focus on the FA Cup final and that should help their sheer quality stand out against injury-hit Wigan. The Latics are not only set for relegation to the Championship, but their key players are either injured or suffering from fatigue, so there is every chance City will win this one with few goals to spare.
Verdict: Manchester City with -1.5 Asian handicap
Best Odds: 49/50