I was having a chat with one of my mates – a Manchester City fan – about the champions’ midweek visit to Wigan Athletic and he probably summed up in a couple of words what it usually takes me a couple of thousand to do. “I’d never bet on Wigan, but I wouldn’t bet against them either.”
And that just about epitomises Roberto Martinez’s side. The Jekyll and Hyde of the Premier League who never seem to be in any sort of form at all.
They are a team that beat Arsenal away then lost to Fulham, a team that won at Tottenham then lost to West Brom and a team that had previously been routinely drummed by Manchester United until a 1-0 win at the DW Stadium last April set about a sequence of events culminating in that Sergio Aguero goal.
Once upon a time, the Latics were seen as a bit of a soft touch for the big boys and in some respects they’ve managed to shake off that tag.
In the past few seasons, Wigan have recorded wins against United and Chelsea and a couple against each of Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool, but one lot they’ve not yet managed to get their claws into is Manchester City, who’ve won the last five meetings between the two and haven’t lost to their north-west neighbours since September 2008.
But even taking into consideration Wigan’s patchy form against a superior side they’ve not beaten for eight games, would you really rule out the possibility of them taking anything off Roberto Mancini’s men?
For a start, it’s not all sweetness and light aboard the good ship Citeh. They may be unbeaten in 19 league games but they bombed in Europe and have only won twice in eight games away from Eastlands so far this season.
In their last two away trips City have been shut out by West Ham and Chelsea, and if Wigan are to get anything then they’ll have to improve on the alien concept of defending well.
Their cause won’t be helped by injuries to defenders Ivan Ramis, Antolin Alcaraz and Gary Caldwell and given those absences and the third most penetrable back line in the league, I can’t see the hosts having the relevant resolve to keep any permutation of the visitors’ offensive stocks at bay.
What’s more, Wigan haven’t even scored against City in those five defeats on the bounce and their late weekend win over Reading was only their second three points at home this campaign.
All in all, this should be the 12/25 City win all day but Wigan being Wigan, they certainly can’t be discounted from claiming something, with the home win at 11/2, the draw at 16/5 and the Wigan-Draw double an odds-against chance at 6/4. The 1-1 draw is very well priced at 11/2 if you are that way inclined.
However, barring one of those days where Wigan show up and ruffle feathers, I think the champions will be too strong for their depleted poorer relations and if you think City can keep up their penchant of clean sheets against the Latics then jump on them to win to nil at 7/4.
This time around, I do think Wigan can register and that opens the City to win with over 2.5 goals at 23/20 option or the multiple correct score of 2-1, 3-1 or 4-1 at a massive 3/1 – and if I had a spare free £20 bet courtesy of bwin, that’s where it’d be going, with winnings of on offer.
Wigan are so unpredictable you almost need to ignore their unpredictability and instead focus on their usual predictability of mediocrity and if that comes to pass, I can see City coasting this so for them to score in both halves at 23/20 and win both halves at 13/5 are also certainly worth considering f0r inclusion on an accumulator.