Man City vs Wigan: 4 Ways Wigan Can Win The FA Cup Final
Can Wigan shock the world and win the FA Cup Final? As the relegation threatened club prepares for their FA Cup Final with Manchester City this Saturday, today on the blog Amit Singh from Think Football delivers four ways that Wigan can get the best of their intimidating opponent this weekend.
Wigan Athletic will face a historic FA Cup Final against Premier League reigning champions Manchester City this week. The Latic's future in the Premier League is far from certain and they will go into this tie as massive underdogs, given their league position and given the fact that City's squad cost £100s of millions to assemble. But how can Wigan impact the game?
1) City's Lack Of Width
One of City's major problems this season has been that they have been scoring less goals in the Premier League, having scored far fewer than the Champions Manchester United. One of the major causes for this has been a chronic lack of width in their play. With the 4-2-3-1 formation that they operate in there is a tendency for games to get rather congested in the middle of the field as Nasri, Silva and whoever plays directly behind the striker all drift into similar positions, meaning that the width must be provided by the full-backs. If we assess this graphic below from the 0-0 draw against QPR earlier this season we can see this:
The width is provided by the full-backs with the attacking players very central. The only wide man is Scott Sinclair who was brought on as a sub to change the game. Sinclair though is massively out of favour and hasn't been the most productive substitute for them this season.
This is an area where Wigan are quite strong, particularly in their 5-4-1/3-4-3 formation which provides plenty of width. When the team are defending as a five they have the full-backs/wing-backs to push on and give a lot of width, knowing that the three centre-backs can play on the cover and pull across if needs be. When attacking as a 3-4-3 the front three includes two wingers who push out wide, often Kone and Maloney.
If Wigan are brave they can have a lot of joy playing this way as Man City's full-backs will struggle to deal with the wingers and the full-backs attacking them so aggressively. With City's full-backs pushing up to provide width, Wigan could find plenty in behind on the counter-attack if they can keep their shape and composure when off the ball. Even if Wigan go for a more conservative 4-3-3/4-5-1 they can still have a lot of joy out wide with the full-backs again overlapping the wide men effectively in a similar manner. In fact, 42% of Wigan's attacks come down their left hand side, meaning that the side will probably over load City's right back Zabaleta when they are going forward.
2) Cutting Off David Silva
David Silva is City's main creative presence and cutting him off will be crucial for Wigan against City. Silva likes to drift into the space between midfield and defence meaning that Wigan's deepest midfielders, usually McCarthur and McCarthey will have to press him whenever he is in possession. The two Wigan midfielders are usually better on the ball, but they'll have to do a lot off it if they want to get anything from this tie.
The two young midfielders do have this side to their game though completing the second and third most tackles per game for Wigan, with 2.7 and 2.6 tackles per game respectively. These two players will have to be excellent in transitions for Wigan to have a chance, as if they are able to win the ball off City and Silva, they'll need to distribute it quickly to the more forward thinking players such as Kone or Maloney, or even go direct to Di Santo.
3) Counter Attacking Approach
Wigan usually look to dominate possession and enjoy a lot of the ball. In turn they defend through not allowing their opponent to get on the ball. Against Spurs however they broke the trend somewhat, seeing just 39% of the ball. Against City this may be their best option as although Wigan are a good possession based side they will struggle to compete with City along these lines.
City average 57.9% possession per game in the Premier League, the second highest amount, Wigan on the other hand are 8th in the possession league with around 54.5% possession per game and thus it may be futile for them to try and dominate the midfield by getting on the ball.
That being said as noted above, McCarthey and McCarthur, Wigan's most prolific ball playing midfielders will have to get on the ball in deep areas and initiate counter-attacks effectively, particularly by distributing the ball into wide areas.
4) Keep A Good Defensive Line
Wigan can play a relatively high line at times which is arguably quite risky given that there is a relative lack of pace in their back three. If the full-backs are pushed up the three centre-backs can struggle for pace, particularly in behind. City are a team with a lot of good midfield passers and thus will be able to pick holes in any gaps that appear, with their strikers eager to run into space.
Both Tevez and Aguero have the pace to cause Wigan a lot of problems, which is an area where they do struggle. This is particularly the case when they lose the ball and defend the counter-attack, something they have done poorly all season. If Wigan do get too many players forward they will struggle to defend the pace that City have to offer on the break. Wigan thus have to play with a bit more caution than we are used to seeing them play with and as such the 4-5-1/4-3-3 formation might be a better option than the more adventurous 3-4-3/5-3-2 formation they sometimes utilize.
The Odds: Manchester City are at odds of 1.36 with Ladbrokes to complete the task within 90 minutes, while Wigan are at odds of 11.00 with BetVictor. If you fancy a fulltime draw, BetVictor are offering odds of 5.50.
Be sure to visit our FA Cup Betting Tips Board as the weekend approaches to get all of our community's opinion and analysis.
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