Manchester City extended their lead at the top of the Premier League with a dominant 1-0 victory over bottom side Wigan Athletic.
The winner came in the 22nd minute courtesy of an Edin Dzeko header, his first in 11 appearances for the club, nodding in from a David Silva free-kick.
Wigan midfielder Jordi Gomez had early claims for a penalty turned down when he was upended by Gareth Barry in the box but referee Martin Atkinson deemed it more of a coming together.
Dzeko missed an easy headed chance which he put wide when he really should have done better.
Montenegrin international Stefan Savic, in for the suspended Vincent Kompany, headed over after a short corner was eventually crossed into the box by David Silva.
Then Dzeko, having been fouled by Antolin Alacaraz down City’s left flank, struck popping up in the box to back head Spaniard Silva’s outswinging free-kick to open the scoring.
It was a needless free-kick to give away as the Bosnian was going nowhere and the hosts paid the price, allowing the striker to notch his first goal in 11 appearances for the visitors.
Midfielder James McArthur made goalkeeper Joe Hart work from outside the area but the former Shrewsbury Town man was more than a match for the shot.
There were times in the first half that the top versus bottom divide looked huge but the longer the hosts were just the one goal behind the more their confidence grew.
The second half started the way the first did, with Roberto Martinez’s side flying out of the blocks and bombarding the City box.
MacArthur was not frightened to shoot and when given the opportunity he opted to shoot from range and on 50 minutes he did so again but dragged his shot wide of Hart’s right-hand post.
A three-minute spell by City just before the hour mark should have at least doubled their lead.
Birthday boy Pablo Zabaleta set up Samir Nasri who cut the ball across the box to find Dzeko. T
he Bosnian got the ball out of his feet before curling a delightful shot towards the top left-hand corner but keeper Ali Al Habsi’s outstretched hand kept it out. He got himself back up and blocked Silva’s rebound for a brilliant double save.
Then almost immediately Aguero produced a piece of magic that even his father-in-law Diego Maradona would have been proud of.
The Argentine took on four or five Wigan defenders and gradually worked his way into the box but before he could get his shot away, strike partner Dzeko nicked the ball off his toes and the chance came to nothing.
Wigan captain Gary Caldwell almost inadvertently put the ball into his own net after Gael Clichy drilled the ball in the box but it went the right side of the post for him.