Manchester City continue their quest for an English soccer domestic treble when they travel to Lancashire to take on Wigan in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday (2.55pm ET).
Man City are a full 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League table and also have the final of the Carabao Cup to come against Arsenal later this month. Add in the FA Cup and their continued participation in the Champions League and a quadruple isn’t out of the question.
Pep Guardiola’s side went a long way towards booking their place in the last eight of that last-mentioned competition with a comprehensive 4-0 victory away to Swiss side Basel on Tuesday. First-half goals from Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero were supplemented by another from Gundogan after the break.
It was an impressive performance and one that suggested City have enough strength in depth to continue competing on multiple fronts until the end of the campaign. Aymeric Laporte, David Silva, John Stones and Leroy Sane all began the match on the bench, and Gundogan and Bernardo Silva took advantage of the opportunity with decisive interventions.
Guardiola fielded a strong starting XI in the FA Cup fourth round victory over Cardiff City, but even if he shuffles a few names around this weekend, the team he puts out will still be full of quality. In addition to the established squad members, promising youngsters such as Brahim Diaz, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Phil Foden will also hope for a chance to impress.
Only two teams – Shakhtar Donetsk and Liverpool – have defeated Man City all season. They have won 36 of their 41 matches in all competitions, 21 by at least two goals and many by even bigger margins. They have averaged 2.71 goals per match along the way, so the task for League One promotion hopefuls Wigan is a tall one indeed.
They do, though, have some previous form against Man City in the FA Cup. In 2012-13, as a Premier League side, they defeated City 1-0 in the final to lift the famous trophy for the first time in their history. A year later, as a Championship team, they triumphed 2-1 away at the Etihad in the sixth round before losing out on penalties to Arsenal in their semi-final.
Those were certainly the glory days of a club who have since bounced between the Championship and League One. There are no holdovers from those times in the current squad, as financial pressures have lessened ambitions. Wigan are, though, enjoying a good campaign in League One, where they are well-placed in the battle for automatic promotion.
Paul Cook’s side have also already eliminated two top-flight teams from this season’s FA Cup. They required a replay to dispatch Bournemouth in the third round and then produced a strong 2-0 win over West Ham in the fourth round. Will Grigg scored twice in the latter triumph and has notched six goals in Wigan’s campaign in the competition to date.
Their other primary attacking threat is Nick Powell, the former Manchester United midfielder. He has accumulated 12 goals and three assists in league play this season and will be keen to put one over on his ex-club’s local rivals. Devante Cole will not get the chance to play against his former team as he is cup-tied having earlier turned out for Fleetwood Town.
Wigan will also be without key defender and club captain Samy Morsy. He picked up his 10th booking of the season in their 2-0 defeat to Blackpool on Tuesday and will therefore join long-term absentees Shaun MacDonald and Jordan Flores on the sidelines. Former Everton striker James Vaughan is also cup-tied for this Monday encounter.
The match therefore pits a highly impressive and in-form Premier League team against an understrength League One side who despite their heroics in already overcoming two other top-flight teams this season will find it mightily difficult to repeat the trick this time around. They will seek to make things uncomfortable for Guardiola’s side, but City’s quality can be expected to shine through and see them through to the last eight.
Our Preview’s Wigan vs. Man City Betting Tips Verdict
Despite this being an English soccer game, there is plenty of sports betting from USA sportsbooks on this big FA Cup matchup. Our Wigan vs. Man City prediction and the pick of those odds for this preview is: